Microsoft has launched a new feature for Hotmail, providing Hotmail users with aliases so they don't have to give their primary email address to every site that asks for one, and still don't have to go create a whole new account.
Users can create and manage multiple email aliases from a single account. "The email address a person uses is a big part of their online identity," says Dharmesh Mehta, Director of Windows Live Product Management. "The average person maintains three different email addresses in order to organize different types of email, maintain different personas, or keep junk mail away from a primary email address. So there are many good reasons that people want multiple email addresses, but maintaining multiple accounts, with different user names and passwords that require you to check multiple inboxes, is inefficient. With today’s update, Hotmail helps you save time by making it easier to manage your current and future email addresses in one place."
"Hotmail (and many other email services) already allow you to just add a plus sign (‘+’) and a descriptive word to the first part of your email address," he continues. "For instance, if your email address was email@example.com and you wanted to create an alias for online shopping, you could use firstname.lastname@example.org. Email sent to this alias will still be delivered to your inbox or to a particular folder. This can help with managing different types of incoming email. In addition to the plus feature, we’ve also released Sweep to help manage this type of incoming email traffic."
"However, with the plus addresses that many services offer, it's still very easy to determine your actual email address and there are times when you simply don’t want to give out any part of your real email address – that's where our new alias feature helps you out," he adds. "Email aliases let you create completely different email addresses that you can use to receive email into your primary account without anyone knowing what your primary email address is."
As others have pointed out, Yahoo has had a similar feature for some time, but it's still new territory for the millions of Hotmail users out there.