It’s a trap! Make sure your emails don’t get caught.

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Once you put a lot of work into crafting a spectacular email campaign for your customers with an eye-catching subject line that’s sure to compel more opens, the last thing you want is to get caught by a spam trap. Spam traps find their way onto your email lists in a number of ways, and they can damage your sender reputation, potentially blocking your customers from receiving your communications.

Keeping verified, clean lists is crucial to continued success with your email campaigns – here’s what you need to know about spam traps, and five tips to help you avoid them.

What is a spam trap?

A spam trap is an email address that is monitored by an organization such as Internet Service Providers, Email Service Providers, anti-spam organizations, security companies, and others to weed out senders with outdated lists or lists they don’t have permission to send to. Often old, inactive email accounts are used, and because there is no real human on the other end, these email addresses don’t subscribe to your lists or contribute any opens or clicks if you send to them.

There are various types of spam traps, and each tell the monitoring organization a bit about the sender. Here are a few of the more common spam traps:

  • Seeded, Scraped, or Harvested Spam Traps are email addresses often sprinkled into purchased lists or planted on public websites but hidden from a normal user’s view. Senders may encounter these when using improper collection processes, such as scraping the web for everything that looks like an email address or receiving less-than-clean lists from other businesses.
  • Dead Address, Expired, or Recycled Spam Traps are email addresses previously valid and used by real humans but are now inactive and converted into spam traps by the Email Service Provider. Inactive email addresses will return a bounce to senders, but after a period of time, these inactive email addresses are converted into spam traps to catch senders who don’t check their lists for dead addresses.
  • Typo Spam Traps include mistyped and fake email addresses, which a sender may acquire from online forms that don’t require email confirmation – such as a customer entering “” – or from something as simple as a data entry error.

Tips to Avoid Spam Traps

Here are some of the ways to avoid spam traps and ensure good email list hygiene!

  • Use double opt-in to make sure that the email address belongs to a real person, and that all typos and fake addresses are caught.
  • Validate new email addresses using a validation tool on your contact or registration forms to prevent errors from making their way to your email list.
  • Monitor bounce notifications and remove invalid email addresses from your active list before they become spam traps.
  • Suppress invalid email addresses to ensure you don’t reacquire the same addresses or continue to send to them.
  • Prune inactive email addresses that aren’t engaging with your campaigns before they become dead address spam traps.

Using these tips will help you avoid spam traps, keep your email lists clean, and keep your sender reputation strong – ensuring your customers continue to receive your communications and you continue to receive their business!

For more information on spam traps, list hygiene, or other marketing best practices, please contact your Performance Manager.

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