Spam Traps and How to Avoid Them

If you send a lot of email, odds are you’ve hit a spam trap and consequently felt the sting of being blacklisted. If not it’s where email senders quite literally falls into a trap which often brings many negative consequences to a business or at the very least to their mailing reputation.

How does a spam trap get on your list?

Some spam traps are intentionally set to catch bad actors or irresponsible senders.

They end up on a list when a marketer buys a list.

Some spam traps are old email addresses that have gone inactive, and ISPs re-activate them to catch spammers or senders who don’t practice list hygiene.

Inactive domains can also get you in trouble, if you’re continuing to send emails to a domain that’s gone dead.

Some spam traps are the result of users quickly typing email addresses so they enter the wrong email for them, but it’s an email address associated with a spam trap.

Some users will enter a bogus email address to get something they want (but not enough to hand over their real email address). That bogus email address can be a spam trap.

If you want a more comprehensive list of spam trap classifications, check out Laura Atkins’ list of types of spam traps.

What happens when an email is sent to a spam trap?

It’s not only the sender who takes a hit when an email goes to a spam trap, potentially getting blacklisted by an ISP. So does the ESP used by that sender. And that in turn can affect the deliverability of all of the other clients of that ESP.

What can you do to protect yourself from spam traps?

You can proactively take steps to decrease the chance of sending email to a spam trap:

  • Make sure you are educated on deliverability best practices.
  • Practice regular list hygiene to identify and remove spam traps on a set schedule.
  • Segment out inactives and run re-activation campaigns, deleting any emails that don’t respond to that effort after a set period of time.
  • Use double opt-in to ensure you’re getting the correct email addresses from real life people.
  • If you’re getting a lot of bogus email addresses in reaction to an offer, suggest they not gate whatever the content is and offer it without asking for an email.

Hitting a spam trap is a serious offense, even if an unintended one. So take what steps you can to prevent it from happening.

 

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