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Gmail@EDU saves college students money

College kids don’t have money, and most companies know and respect that we’re poor, but still want to learn and grow. Most offer student discounts, sometimes very generous ones, like Adobe. Others offer free stuff, or unbeatable deals, like the Windows 7 Ultimate steal.

Gmail has a trick where many “ghost” email addresses go to the same place. It’s useful in gmail, but when coupled with the power of a @Edu email address, it can save students a fancy penny or two.

How it works is simple. If your email is

john.doe@myschool.edu

than you can simply add a short string between a set of plus signs, to create a “ghost” email, which will end up in your inbox, but to most companies, appears to be a new separate email, and a new user to give free stuff too. For example, a good one to use might be

john.doe+freestuff+@myschool.edu

if you’re going to use it for free stuff (Which We all know you will!)

I found this out a while back, while reading lifehacker.com. At the time, they listed its use as a spam deterrent, but I tried it out on my gmail, and it worked beautifully. Fast forward a few months, and I’m trying to buy a Windows 7 upgrade. After using my Edu email, a family member saw how wonderful it was and wanted to upgrade as well, but for $120 it’s a stiff price to pay. My mind flipped back like a rolodex to the lifehacker tip, and I plugged in a ghost email to the Ultimate Steal site, and was promptly send a second key, conveniently to my inbox.

My old school, a community college, uses Google apps for education. They keep the email accounts active for three years after the last class you attend. My new school doesn’t use Google apps, but thanks to this long lasting Google account, I’ll be able to continue using this nice bonus long past my graduation.

They still offer Windows 7 deals cheap for students, and you can pick up extra keys for your friends, parents or spare computers on the cheap, or other goods like many free months of Hulu+. (Hulu+ would require a new account each time, but still lightens your load rather than your wallet.)

If you lack a Google apps for Education email, there are other possibilities. Some schools (I know Drexel does this) offer the ability to create secondary emails, or will do it for you. If your username is

johnd453@myschool.edu

sometimes in settings they create, or allow you to create masks, like

john.doe@myschool.edu or johndoe453@myschool.ed

to give you similar abilities, even without having the amazing google apps accounts.

Another quick tip, if your school is any kind of decent, they’ve also given you Google Calendar, which you can use to mark the dates to cancel the services, such as Hulu+, before they charge your credit cards.

[This part isn’t restricted to students; feel free to remove it, lifehacker Also explains it a bit here: http://lifehacker.com/399812/philipp-lenssens-top-google-apps-tips ]

It also works nicely as an anti-spam device. If your suspicious of a site or don’t want to give them your email, use a + hack, like this,

john.doe+possiblybadsite.com+@gmail.com

If emails that are not from that site start coming in your inbox, they’ve sold your email. But alas! Not only will it tell you, which site sold your email, but allows you to very easily filter them into your spam folder, by sending anything that comes to

john.doe+possiblybadsite.com+@gmail.com

to spam once and for all, no more attention required.

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About Alpha1beta

College Student & Web Designer. Gorram Geeky Sarcastic BrownCoat!, Droid rights activist, and professional code monkey.

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