When I subscribe to catalogs and magazines, I make sure to use a fake name. It's not for any privacy reasons, really. It's just to keep track of who's giving out my address. For example, I recently requested the West Elm catalog be sent to me at home with the name "Taryn Westelm." So if in the next few weeks I start getting sweepstakes flyers addressed to my blame-searching pseudonym, I'll know exactly who is whoring out my info. Ditto goes for "Taryn CB2," "Taryn Ikea" and "Taryn Domino." Now there's a little trick—really little, just a tiny dot—that does the same for Gmail...
If your email address is "JohnDoe@gmail.com," anything sent to any of these addresses will be sent to your inbox:
Basically, put a period anywhere in your name and switch the domain between Gmail and Googlemail and you have countless options for email customization. And that's not all, you can place as many dots as you want, it can be even something like 'J.o.h.n.D.email@example.com' and you'll still get it on 'JohnDoe@gmail.com.'
That's a good alternative to using different email addresses for various purposes (work, school, friends, etc.) Just filter all incoming mail so that mail sent to "Name.Surname@gmail.com" can be put into a work folder and messages sent to "NameSurname@gmail.com" can be put to "friends," etc.
As for tracing spam, Gmail lets you embed random text to your email address using the '+' sign. So to make sure that your subscription with that news site you wanted access to isn't flooding your inbox with spam, register with "JohnDoefirstname.lastname@example.org."