What are Spam Traps?

Spam traps are email addresses used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and blocklist operators to filter out senders who aren't following email best practices. 

Types of spam traps

Pristine Spam Traps: these are email addresses that have never been valid and as such can’t opt into receiving email. They are accessible on public websites but hidden within the site's code. The purpose of pristine traps is to identify email marketers who use poor list-building practices such as scraping sites for emails or buying email lists. 

Recycled Spam Traps: these are email addresses that were once valid but have since been reused by their provider. Somebody might have used this email address to opt-in in the past but this address has been deserted.

Note: The Inboxes of these abandoned email addresses would commonly reject all incoming emails for about 2 years and will expect to be removed from all future mailings which is why the presence of such email addresses would indicate that you're using an old list or bad bounce management. 

Typo Spam Traps: Email addresses with common typographical errors, such as “ gnail” instead of “gmail” or “yaho” instead of “yahoo” can also be used as spam traps. This could be an inadvertent mistake of the person signing up but can still lead to a spam trap on your end.

Getting flagged for pristine spam traps is more serious than hitting a recycled spam trap. If you send emails to pristine spam addresses, your domain or our sending IP address could be immediately blacklisted and you will be blocked from sending emails using our sending service. 

If you send emails to recycled email addresses, you could start to notice your emails ending up in the Junk/Spam folder. This affects your sender reputation and deliverability rates. To avoid these spam traps, it’s good practice to regularly clean your email lists.

The consequences of the typo spam trap are generally not as extreme as pristine spam traps. But, it does portray the sender as negligent in not regularly cleaning their contact list and can harm their sending reputation. Typo Spam traps are also good at catching senders who fail to properly collect emails through double opt-in and begin to send emails to these addresses.

How do I prevent a spam trap from entering my list?

Keep a healthy email list: There are a couple of ways spam traps can wind up on your email list, yet all are for the most part brought about by poor email list management. Spam traps can be prevented by keeping a healthy email list and following good sending practices.

Do not purchase email lists: Stay away from purchased, scarped, shared (e.g lists shared between different businesses) email lists, they are bad! These include sending emails to email addresses that have not opted-in to receive emails from you. Sending emails to a list that was purchased or gotten from public sources almost guarantees that you’ll run into a Spam trap. This will get you blocklisted and blocked from sending emails using our sending service. 

Another vital strategy to preventing spam traps is making sure your email list is up to date with subscribers who are happy to receive your emails and regularly open them. You can filter out these subscribers by segmenting your email list based on their engagement score. More information about this can be found by clicking here: Using Segments To Improve Engagement

Also, make sure you're sending emails to subscribers who are used to your sending frequency and create a special re-engagement campaign for less engaged subscribers. Over time you can move them to the engaged segment when they confirm they will like to continue receiving your emails or their engagement score improves.

Keep an eye on your delivery rates to make sure your lists aren't affected by a Spam Trap. if you see your delivery rates steadily declining, it's very possible you have spam traps on your list.
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