An email trap is an email address that doesn’t belong to a real person. These email addresses are created by ISPs and other organizations for the sole purpose of identifying senders who do not follow best practices when it comes to list hygiene. There are a variety of different types of spam traps, and each one has a different impact on your delivery rates. Having even one spam trap on your list can drastically impact your ability to reach the inbox, so it’s important to know how to identify them and avoid them.
The three main categories of spam spam trap identification traps are Pristine, Recycled, and Mixed Traps. Pristine spam traps are never used by real people, and they are the most serious type of spam trap. These are typically found by spammers who scrape web sites for email addresses or buy contact lists. The emails sent to these traps will typically receive a hard bounce, and the inbox provider will mark all subsequent email senders as irresponsible.
Recycled spam traps are once valid email addresses that were used by real people but later became abandoned or inactive. Inbox providers will deactivate the email addresses and turn them into spam traps after a certain period of time. If you send to a recycled spam trap, it will usually return a hard bounce and notify you that you should remove the inactive address from your list. Responsible senders typically honor this request and delete hard bouncing email addresses from their list. Irresponsible senders, however, will often ignore the hard bounce and continue to send to an inactive email address, which can ultimately put them on the inbox provider’s radar as a misbehaving sender.
Mixed spam traps are a combination of pristine and recycled traps, and they are the most common type of spam trap. These traps are generally found by spammers who scrape web sites or purchase contact lists and then re-use the email addresses in new lists. The resulting new lists will include both pristine and recycled traps, which can dramatically impact your deliverability rates.
It’s impossible to completely eliminate spam traps from your list, but there are several things that you can do to reduce their impact on your sender reputation. The first thing is to regularly scrub your lists. This can be done manually, or you can use a third party service that will automatically scrub your lists for you. Using a service like this is a great way to keep your lists clean and minimize the number of spam traps that end up in your inbox.
Another important step is to limit the amount of email you send to contacts who haven’t opened or clicked on your messages in the past year. This will not only reduce your chances of sending to a spam trap, but it will also help improve your deliverability rates and your recipients’ experience. To do this, you can use an email engagement tool such as Lead Gen & CRM’s Email Engagement tool to suppress non-essential emails to contacts who have not engaged with your brand in a long time.