Spamtrap 101 – How Spamtraps Get On Your List (and How to Protect Yourself)

— January 9, 2017

Are You Hitting Spamtraps?


Usually your ESP will let you know if you message a spamtrap. Alternatively, you can utilize a service that monitors blacklists or you can simply watch your marketing outcomes – if you are seeing a decrease in your key performance metrics (sometimes only within a single domain/ISP), it is likely you are having a deliverability problem that may be caused by mailing a spamtrap.


How Marketers Get Spamtraps On Their List



  • Bad data. The vast majority of lists for sale contain spamtraps, many of which were the result of scraping (aka ‘harvesting’) email addresses off the Internet. Thus, the adage ‘don’t buy a list’ is sound advice. Sometimes unbeknownst to you, the source or vendor you utilized to help you build your list is filling your database with low quality bought or scraped addresses, including spamtraps.
  • Bad list management. Conscientious email marketers message their list routinely and carefully suppress bounces and unsubscribes from future sends. Failure to follow these best practices may result in you messaging re-purposed spamtraps.
  • Bad luck. It is possible that spamtraps are registered accidentally through your regular signup process. Some spamtrap networks operate off the typo domains of major ISPs and can end up in your list simply because of sloppy keystroking.
  • Poisoning. Spammers or competitors have been known to intentionally register known spamtrap email addresses in an effort to get the marketer in trouble or discredit the spamtrap provider.

SOLUTION: Living Free From Spamtrap Fears


Marketers who want to live a spamtrap-free life should follow these three tenets:



  1. Formalize best practices. Don’t buy lists. Don’t scrape the internet for email addresses. Scrutinize your vendors and data sources carefully. And of course, always suppress bounces and unsubscribes.
  2. Routinely message. Be sure you are actively utilizing your email addresses. If you aren’t touching every address on your list at least a few times a year, you may fail to notice when an address goes bad, which could be a precursor to it becoming repurposed as a spamtrap.
  3. Run routine list hygiene. Work with an industry expert to help you regularly scrutinize your email list for typos and spamtraps. You can implement an API at the point of acquisition, do quarterly reviews, or set up for automated monthly monitoring. Trace any problems upstream and fix (or remove) that acquisition source.

 

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