Monthly Archives: November 2009

A way we could potentially get around the fact that many web forms prevent plus signs in email addresses

Many of you are likely already familiar with the immensely useful feature of including plus signs (+) in Gmail addresses, such as the following:

This would allow me to sign up for account at another web site, and be able to track spam or apply filters based on everything after the plus sign.

The problem is that many web sites that ask for email addresses will reject addresses that contain a plus sign. To get around this, we could do one of two things:

  1. Contact every web site owner whose site doesn’t allow plus signs, and convince them to change their form validation.
  2. Get Gmail to recognize a special string of characters as the same as ‘+’.

I’d love to see Gmail implement a feature where a specially string of characters would serve the same purpose as ‘+’. That string would be made up of commonly accepted characters, like [a-z] and [0-9], but their special combination would trigger the Gmail application to treat it like a plus sign.

For example, let’s say Gmail enabled this for the following string of characters: zzzplussignzzz. So I would sign up for the Miley Cyrus fan club using the following address:

I chose ‘zzzplussignzzz’ because it is unlikely to be used in a legitimate email address, and it would be easy to protect any new Gmail signups from using that string, perhaps by using the ‘Sorry, that’s already taken’ indicator in case someone attempts to do so.