Why You Need at Least 4 Email Addresses

We've talked before about simplifying your life by paring down your email addresses to two, but today we're going to encourage you to use at least four. Why? Read on for the details as to why we've had a change of heart.

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Three Reasons Why at Least Four Email Addresses are a Good Idea:


1. Personal & Work. Most people have these two, which we recommended earlier this year, but in case you're still using one email address for professional and personal correspondence, you should consider stopping. Do we really need to tell you why it's a bad idea to have one for both?

2. Spam. Ever enter a contest where you just know they're going to send you unwanted email, but you still want to enter and not have to deal with unsubscribing? Or perhaps you are signing up for a new service and are not sure about the account security. Use a special email address for these and it will help your two primary accounts stay clean and healthy. Note, adding aliases to your account is not going to serve this tip, as your inbox will still get cluttered, and they're linked to your account, which is no help for security at all.

3. Security. In Mat Honan's tale of how he was able to recover some data after hacking, he advises using dedicated (and secret) email accounts for password management. This will help prevent the hacking from spreading if one of your e-mail accounts is compromised. Sadly, I have personal experience with having my Google account hacked, and because I did not use dedicated, secret email accounts for password management they went from Google to AppleID + MobileMe and then into several other accounts and services I use, including Amazon. If I had followed this advice, the hacking would have stopped at Google and it would have been a much easier situation to resolve.

How many email addresses do you have and what do you use them for?

(Image 1: Flickr member Gubatron licensed for use under Creative Commons, 2: Ariel Zambelich for Wired)

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