Email marketing faces a lot of challenges and one of those challenges is the spam trap emails. Spam trap emails are everywhere you look patiently waiting to be harvested and make your email marketing experience a nightmare. It is therefore important that you know how to find spam trap email addresses, detect fake email contact lists, and how to use a spam trap cleaning service. Whether you are a small business owner handling your own email marketing strategy or you’re a big-time digital marketing manager, you will find this article very useful in the execution of your duties.
Digital marketing has become an integral marketing tool for all businesses, organizations, and service providers in this day. A very important aspect of digital marketing that is common to all categories of business regardless of the size or business type is email marketing. Email marketing is arguably one of the most prevalent means of sending out commercial broadcast messages to your customers or subscribers. Know all about the email markating challenges.
What is a spam trap email address?
A spam trap email address is a tool employed to detect spammers. These email addresses are bot emails that are not used by any real person but are created with the sole purpose of tracking organizations that are in the habit of spamming subscribers and non-subscribers. Spam trap email addresses are not acquired legally. The legal means of acquiring email addresses for marketing purposes is through voluntary subscription to an email list or service. However, it takes quite a long time to build an email list like this. Most times, marketers purchase email lists that they tend to use for cold email marketing and this is what lands them in the mess called spam trap email addresses.
The email lists that are available for sale online are compiled by crawlers. Crawlers use illegitimate means to search through the internet for unpublished email addresses. They are incapable of differentiating between real and email addresses and they add everything to the fake email contact list they sell. This then exposes the marketers that use such lists to fall victim to spam trap email address.
Where do spam trap email address come from?
Spam trap email addresses are used by Internet service providers (ISP) like Gmail, Yahoo, and other popular names all maintain their own list of spam email addresses. This is the worst kind of spam email address to fall victim to because of the wide reach of these providers. Imagine if Gmail blacklists your domain and you’re unable to reach people using the Gmail address, this will be a huge blow to your marketing activities. It is hard to get delisted from the blacklist of these service providers so it’s best to use fail proof applications like Free Email Testing to ensure you don’t fall victim.
While spam trap emails from ISPs are the most dangerous, over 90% of the different types of spam trap emails are from the Domain Name System-based blackhole list (DNSBL). They provide domain blacklisting service that compiles a list of domains and IP systems that have a history of sending spam emails. This list is then available for Web Administrators to access and consequently block all erring systems and domains from sending emails to users on their site. The DNSBL spreads these spam trap emails online through blogs and forums which is where most fake email contact lists emanate from.
Different types of spam email address
If you want to know how to find spam trap email addresses, it is not enough to keep searching ‘stop sending me traps’, you need to know the different types of spam trap emails that exist. Although most people fall victim to spam trap by acquiring email lists through illegitimate means, it is also possible to hit a spam trap without engaging in any shady practice.
- Pure spam traps – these are the classic spam traps. They are email addresses that belong to no one and have never been used online or anywhere for that matter. If you hit this kind of spam trap, you definitely got the email through illegitimate means. These are the original spam traps planted on public forums, blogs, other online locations specifically to lure and catch spammers.
- Recycled spam traps – these are old email addresses that were once active but are now no longer in use by the owner. These kind of email addresses have been designated as a trap by the service provider because it has been abandoned for so long. Although these email addresses were acquired legally, they are still bad news for you because you will be labeled a spammer. Hitting this kind of spam trap also suggests that you are not paying attention to the health of your email list and keeping it up to date. One of the best tools to keep your email subscriber list up to date and weed out recycled spam traps is to use Free Email Testing. This service helps you to get rid of email addresses that are bouncing messages and you will never fall victim to recycled spam traps.
- Typo spam traps – typos generally affect your credibility and it means you’re not paying attention to details. This will affect your domain reputation in the long run. The most common form of typo spam traps occurs in the domain name part of the email address e.g., spelling gnail instead of Gmail or Yahho instead of Yahoo. It is also possible to hit a typo spam trap with an incorrectly spelled username, the part that comes before the @. This can also get you blacklisted.
- Seeded spam traps – unlike the pure spam traps that are made to be easily accessible, the seeded spam traps require a bit of work to uncover. For you to fall victim to this spam trap, you’re using a fake email contact list. Seeded spam traps are carefully hidden in online resources such as the website source codes. The email scrapper robots used by fake email list generators are not smart enough to avoid these seeded traps. If you send an email to any of these traps, you will be flagged as a spammer, and your domain and sending IP address will be listed on the DNSBL list.
How do you check if an email is a spam trap?
Unfortunately, there is no fake email contact list containing the different types of spam email that you can filter through to ascertain the originality of an email address. The existence of a list like this will defeat the purpose of spam traps in the first place. Spam trap emails look exactly like regular email addresses so it is a bit difficult to single them out of your email list but it is not impossible. Below are a few tips on how to find spam trap email addresses in your list.
- User Engagement Data – pay attention to your open rate! Monitoring user engagement is perhaps the best approach to check if an email is a spam trap. Since spam traps are not owned by real people, they are not going to be engaging with the content you send to them. They won’t click open on the mail, neither will they react by clicking any of the links in your email. So, constant monitoring of user engagement on your emails will lead you to discard these kinds of emails with zero engagement in time before they get you labeled as a spammer.
- Use double opt-in – Using double opt-in might seem like you are asking for too much and users might be put off by it but it’s still the best strategy. Since the owner of the email address has to click a link sent to them after the initial registration, double opt-in can help to confirm if the email is run by a human being or a robot. If a subscriber refuses to conclude the second step of the opt-in process, it is safe to assume that the email address is a spam trap and should be avoided. Double opt-in ensures that you only get people that genuinely interested in your products and services on your email list. This ultimately improves user engagement on your emails and also makes sure that you have a healthy email list.
- Check for typos – typographical errors especially in the domain name are common to spam traps. They can be easily removed if you pay a little bit of attention to your list. Most of the typos are obvious and can be easily spotted. Validation tools like Free Email testing are great for this as they carry out this service automatically.
- Origin of the Email address – How did you acquire the email address in the first place? Most of the different types of spam traps can be avoided if you stick to obtaining and growing your email list organically. Do not buy an email list because this is the beginning of all the spam trap troubles. Once you buy an email list, you cannot control the kind of email addresses present in that list. It is also certain that the email addresses were obtained through illegitimate means, so, there is bound to be a couple of spam traps in the list.
How do I remove spam traps from my email list?
If you’re suspecting that you are being blocked from some networks or that you’ve been blacklisted, you need to sanitize your email list immediately. A lot of the tips on how to remove spam traps from email lists are based on generally maintaining a healthy email list. there is also the great assistance that email tools like Free Email testing can be valuable in this aspect.
- Remove inactive and unresponsive emails – from your user engagement data, you can see the emails that don’t even open messages. These are the most likely candidates for spam traps. There’s no point keeping such email addresses on your list, remove them immediately.
- Hard bounces – spam traps like closed email addresses and recycled spam trap email addresses will result in an automatic bounce and you will get a notification on your sending email address. You need to act on bounced email notifications immediately, identify the emails concerned, and delete them from your list to maintain the integrity of the list and avoid repetitions.
- Stop using bought email lists – If you are using a bought email list, it is certain that your email list is filled with spam traps. Unfortunately, ‘stop sending me traps’ is not a command that email scrubbers that generate the lists you buy obey. It is therefore left for you to stop using the list altogether. Discard any bought email list and go back to the organic list that was acquired legitimately. This will be easier to do if you have a segmented list.
- Use Email Validation Tools – Email validation tools like Free Email Testing provide real-time validation services that check through your email list to confirm that all the email addresses are valid and in the correct format. So, you can take care of typo spam traps with this kind of service. You will find this useful if some of the email addresses on your list were gotten through customers that wrote them down on paper or over the phone. These means of acquiring emails expose you to typo spam traps.
Read 7 Email Archiving Best Practices for better email inbox maintenance.
There are different types of spam emails and it is very easy to fall prey to them. Email marketers are always keen on increasing the number of email addresses on their email list but this is not a wise practice. Accumulating emails without paying attention to the health of the email is what lands a lot of marketers in spam traps. It is difficult to get out of these spam traps, so the best approach remains organic email list growth and tight procedure around email subscription to ascertain subscribers’ interest and guarantee meaningful engagement. You also need support services like Free Email Testing that helps to keep your email list healthy and avoid specific types of spam trap emails.