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Spam Traps: Everything you need to know about them and how to avoid them

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First up, it’s important to understand what a spam traps are, there are two main types commonly used:

A pristine Spam Traps

This is a brand new email address created by a mailbox provider or blacklist with the goal of stopping unsolicited mail to their network, or a network they are protecting.

They are normally hidden throughout the internet, buried on web pages and acquired by bots that a trawling the internet looking to harvest email addresses and sell on to unsuspecting list purchasers.

The presence of a pristine spam trap inside an email database, indicates that the list has been generated using questionable methods to say the least.

If you routinely hit one of these, your sender reputation is likely to plummet and future communications to the mailbox providers network are likely to be blocked.

Recycled Spam Traps

These are less damaging that a pristine spam trap, but will still cause major sending problems and your chances of landing inside the inbox for any of your subscribers are unlikely.

A recycled spam trap is an email address than a user created a long long time ago, and has since been abandoned. Think of it as that very first email address you created when you where 12. The mailbox provider, maybe gmail as now taken control of your email address.

If you hit a recycled spam traps, this suggests to the mail box provider that your list hygiene, well its non existent.

How can i check for spam traps in my database?

There are lots of tools out there, but the best one we would recommend is provided by Sender Score. Its free to use and will quickly tell you if you are hitting any spam traps.

Head over to their site (link below). Enter your sending the IP address
and run a lookup (you may need to ask your email service provider for your sending IP address).

Ok, Sender Score may be reporting spam traps inside your email database. If you checkout next weeks video, we will cover how you can prevent spam traps getting into your email database and help remove existing ones.

So, how do you avoid hitting spam traps?

Never rent or buy a email database

The list source is often unknown and murky. This is not safe to mail and can really damage your brand name. They often have a high rate of spam traps.

Always clean your lists

If you are an email blaster user. When you import your database, it goes away for what we call a list doctor scan. This will look for known bad data and dead addresses. If you database is full of spam traps, don’t rely on this as a fail safe, but it give you a good indication if there are problems with your database which you need to address.

Always implement a confirmed opt-in or double opt in workflow for new subscribers

After they enter their email on your subscribe box. Send them a quick email asking them to confirm they want to join your list. and only subscribe them once they done so. If you are an email blaster use, use our form builder app to quickly create great double opt-in forms for your website. The problem with single opt in, i.e enter your email address and hit subscribe – then you are subscribed. Is that nothing stops a bot injecting dummy data and subscribing thousands of people. Or i would enter your email address and subscribe you without you even knowing!

Reject malformed email

During an email address submission, sometimes subscribers will make a typo or not enter their real email address they may enter test@test.com. These are potentially spam traps. Always verify an email address before subscribing that user.

Send a welcome email before adding them to your main list

If this welcome email bounces, this suggest that the email address given is not valid. The welcome email could cover the benefits of joining your newsletter and what they expect to receive. To the recipient this helps build value to your subscriber and interest in what they will receive. and from your point of view, you have verified their email address before adding them to your main list and potentially hitting a spam trap week in week out.

Run a suppression list

If multiple people in your organisation utilise email marketing. Make sure you run a company wide suppression list. This ensures that you don’t accidentally email bounced addresses or subscribers who have unsubscribed or complained. If you are an email blaster user, we can help with this, head over to the app store and install the ‘suppress app’. It will take care of your suppression management making everything a breeze.

Saying goodbye is not a bad thing

Only send to subscribers who engage with your mail – and by this i mean, those that read it and regularly click on links. There are many reasons why a subscriber will stop engaging with you mail, one of those might be that the mail box has been abandoned – and might be a spam trap!

At email blaster, our software can help you to clean your data. We have our own intelligent engine to scan and cleanse, List Ai.

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