I wanted to describe a small hack (or loophole) that I’ve been exploiting in Twitter’s new user registration service to register multiple Twitter accounts with a single GMail email address.
With Twitter (as with most web services) you can only attach one email address to a Twitter username – e.g. @CNN might use the email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ to register @CNN. If someone wanted to reuse ‘email@example.com‘ for another account, say @CNNMoney, Twitter would complain saying that email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ is already in use. Simple Enough!
Thus, if you wanted more than one Twitter account you would need to provide Twitter with a different email address, which would make your life more complicated not to mention more confusing. The good news is that with GMail and with the ‘+’ modifier that GMail allows users to add to their email addresses you can bypass Twitter’s unique email address check and go along your merry way in registering multiple Twitter accounts all under one email address.
The GMail ‘+’ modifier is simple and the format is the following:
So, when I want to register a new Twitter account I end up doing:
Twitter accepts this as a valid email and I finish the registration successfully. Even better is that I can automatically create a GMail filter against this email address (tehmasp+NEWACCOUNT@gmail.com) and organize my Twitter emails as I see fit.
I’ve noticed now that Google has started requesting a phone number during the new Google account registration process – a move to limit people creating many accounts, especially anonymous ones. So I expect this Twitter loophole to be closed off in the near future – especially if Twitter reads this and are not already aware of it!
I found the following site that talks a bit more about using the GMail ‘+’ modifier – at least that’s what they call it as I couldn’t find anywhere on Google if the ‘+’ email modifier has another more official name:
(BTW, there is also the ‘.’ modifier [won’t bother explaining] and the alternative @googlemail.com email domain that you can use – but these options are limited and more confusing. The ‘+’ option is the best and cleanest method IMO).