Spam Traps

This article applies to:

Spam traps are commonly used by inbox providers and blacklist providers to catch malicious senders or legitimate senders with poor email marketing practices. A spam trap looks like a real email address, but it doesn’t belong to a real person nor is it used for any kind of communication. Its only purpose is to identify spammers and senders not utilizing proper list hygiene. There are 3 types of spam traps:

  • Pristine - Email addresses that  are hidden within a website's code. The purpose of pristine traps are to identify email marketers who build their lists by scraping sites or purchasing data.
  • Recycled – Email addresses that were once valid, have become dormant, and then  repurposed by an email provider. Someone could have used this email address to opt in at one point, but the address has since been abandoned. The purpose of of this trap is to identify email marketers who do not perform regular list hygiene.
  • Typo - Mistyped email addresses , such as: me@mgail.con. The purpose of a typo trap is to identify marketers with questionable lead collection processes.

Why does it matter?

The penalty for emailing spam traps can range in severity, depending what type of trap it is, how often you email it, and the group that runs the trap(s). This can result in IP addresses and/or sending domains being blocked and/or blacklisted which causes serious deliverability issues.

How do you identify and deal with spam traps?

Spam traps are  a symptom of poor lead collection practices and/or list maintenance practices. If you are sending to spam traps, there is a good chance you are also sending email to other leads that did not opt-in or who are no longer engaged with your email marketing.

Resolving spam trap issues aren’t about finding and removing the trap(s) from your list, but about addressing poor lead collection and list hygiene practices.  In fact, the anti-spam organizations purposefully make it very difficult to identify spam traps and do not provide a list of maintained traps for this very reason.

There are some common characteristics that can be used to clean spam traps from email lists.  Pristine and typo spam traps will never open or click on the emails that are sent to those addresses and recycled addresses will have at least a 6 month period with no opens or clicks.

To minimize the risk of sending to spam traps keep your list active and engaged. Make sure to perform:

Avoid importing leads into your system that you do not know the history of the leads. Some examples to avoid are shared lists, 3rd party purchased lists, and old lists that you might have laying around. This is also a requirement of the Keap Acceptable Use Policy.

More information on spam traps can be found in this article entitled It's a Trap! Avoiding and Removing Spam Traps 

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