In an effort to stem the flow of spam to the addresses I use for domain name registration, I decided today to set up a new mail account for all my registrations, use sendmail’s plussed users feature (also here) to be able to give each registrar a different email address, and then put a set of tweaked spam filters on that account. I started going through all the registrars I’ve used, and successfully changed my email address with four of them. When I got to GoDaddy, though, the interface would not accept the new email address, and after talking to them on the phone, it turns out that their system does not accept plus signs in addresses. The technical rep didn’t know why this restriction exists, and his supervisor said that there’s no changing it.

It’s an odd decision on their part, given that the plus sign totally valid according to the RFC which governs such things; it’s as if they also decided that their system wouldn’t accept registrations for domain names with the letter “z” in them. And given that sendmail is the most used mail transport agent in the world, it’s hard to see why GoDaddy would enforce a restriction that actually has a specific function in the application, but whatever. All in all, it’s funny for a company which exists to support the internet standard of DNS to be so clueless when it comes to another internet standard, email.


I’ve used plus suffixes for a while now and found out that many sites in general have crappy email validation code. Very few follow the RFC.

• Posted by: Thomas Sibley on Oct 15, 2004, 6:19 PM

gmail allows for plus style validation as well; CMU has implemented mail systems with plus style addressing since 1985 or so. Thomas is right; a lot of systems get cranky. My favorite systems are the web-based systems that do not properly escape the plus symbol in URL strings.

• Posted by: Sam Greenfield on Oct 15, 2004, 6:27 PM
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