|Spam traps are email addresses used by Internet service providers (ISPs) to determine if senders are adding recipients to their mailing lists without permission.
ISPs use spam traps to help make the Internet a safer place by preventing undesirable content from ending up in a recipient’s inbox.
This article will provide information on what spam traps are, as well as how best to avoid sending emails to them.
Spam Traps and Domain Reputation
Hitting a spam trap is harmful to sender domain reputation and puts the domain at risk of being added to an Internet service provider's (ISP) third-party blacklist. ISPs block email traffic from domains and IPs on their blacklist, meaning that even your engaged recipients are at risk of not receiving your emails. Due to this risk, it is of utmost importance to ensure you are only sending emails to engaged recipients.
Spam traps fall into three categorizations: pristine, recycled, or typo.
Pristine Spam Traps
Pristine spam traps are email addresses created for the sole purpose of identifying spammers. These email addresses have never been associated with a real person, and therefore they have never opted in to receive email marketing from any company.
Pristine spam traps are placed on the Internet where they can be accessed by web crawlers. If you have a pristine spam trap on your mailing list, it was obtained illegitimately and, if sent to, will cause harm to your domain reputation.
Recycled Spam Traps
Recycled spam traps are reclaimed email addresses that have been out of active circulation for a period of time. As these email addresses are not active or tied to an actual individual, any email correspondence that lands in these inboxes was sent without the permission of the recipient.
Hitting a recycled spam trap is typically a symptom of sending to an old list that has not been actively managed to adjust for recipient engagement. You can protect your domain reputation by making sure to clean your list of recipients who have not engaged with your email marketing over a period of time.
Typo Spam Traps
Typo spam traps are email addresses that contain common typos, created to replicate email addresses that may have been recorded incorrectly. Examples include firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, as the domains used here are similar to popular email domains.
Typo spam traps are generally created when collecting email addresses at the point of sale. For example, when checking out at a department store, you may be asked for your email to sign up for a rewards program. An error occurs in data entry, and firstname.lastname@example.org is collected instead of email@example.com.
You can help avoid typo spam traps by using double opt-in for your email mailing lists. This ensures that email addresses collected will only be added to your mailing lists once a recipient clicks a confirmation email. As recipient addresses with typos will not receive the confirmation email, these potentially harmful addresses will be kept off of your mailing lists.