Hack 71. Glean a Gmail Invite
Ask a friend, acquaintance, or stranger; swap,
auction, or finagle. A Gmail invite is hard to come by—but not
Gmail is one hot property
and Gmail accounts are not available
to just anyone. Yes, it's a free web mail service,
but free doesn't necessarily mean freely
available—much to the chagrin of those just itching to give it
a whirl. You have to be invited, either by a Googler (someone working
at Google) or a friend willing to spend one of their occasionally
available Gmail invites on you.
Hmm . . . scarce commodity, high demand . . . sounds like a market to
And that's precisely what's
happened. Gmail accounts are meted out to close friends, traded for
wares and services, auctioned off, donated, and otherwise trafficked
in a marketplace of sorts.
So, where do I glean myself a Gmail invite?
- Ask a friend
Chances are one of your alpha-geek friends has a Gmail account. Ask
nicely and be prepared to offer a latte or three.
- Ask an acquaintance
Email acquaintances with Gmail accounts are easy to spot: just look
for the @gmail.com email address. Set up a
filter in your email application to highlight any incoming Gmail and
rifle off a response the moment you see one pop up. Your ingenuity
and bravado are sure to be admired—and hopefully rewarded.
- Request one of a stranger
The isnoop.net Gmail invite spooler (http://isnoop.net/gmailomatic.php) offers
"a place for people with Gmail invites and those who
want them to come together with minimal effort and
- eBay for one
Yes, I know it seems silly, but Gmail invites are going for between
$0.30 and $3.00 on eBay.
- Swap something
Gmail swap (http://www.gmailswap.com) is a virtual swap
meet for Gmail invites where people offer everything from CDs to
kisses for an invite. If you've an invite or three
to trade, ask for a joke, picture, or "anything
Disney" and bring your sense of humor.
- Join the military
Gmail for the Troops
Gmail 4 Troops (http://www.gmail4troops.com) are sites
dedicated to garnering Gmail accounts for troops currently serving to
keep in touch with their loved ones at home.
- Google for it
Try searching Google for "have * Gmail invites"
(wow, that full-word wildcard really comes in handy!). Often
webloggers who have Gmail invites available will post about it on
their weblog. Even if you've found an old entry,
you've found someone with a Gmail account—and
Google periodically refreshes the number of invites a user has
By the time you read this, Gmail may well be freely available. If so,
think of this hack as a moment in time when Gmail was the geek
equivalent of a collector's plush toy.
Rael Dornfest and Justin Blanton