The average Web user has over 3 email addresses, according to research by NetBenefit.

The Net-savvy typically use addresses specifically for professional and personal use, with separate ones for Web site registration where identity protection is often vital.

The company said: "With many people now purchasing domain names for use as Internet addresses, we have conducted research that indicates that the average Web user owns 3.1 addresses."

Widespread use NetBenefit CEO Jonathan Robinson said: "A few years ago, one email address sufficed for all users. However, with Internet use so widespread, and with email becoming the number one application, people appear to want different addresses for different scenarios."

Robinson believes that many people choose to acquire domain names simply in order to furnish themselves with one email address for life.

Other alternatives exist to simplify email management. Apple offers mac.com email addresses to all registered iTools users – offering a completely free email service. Nameplanet.com offers a free email address for life and will forward mails free to an account of choice. Hotmail is a Web-based email alternative, which provides browser-access to email messages.