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Spam Traps

Business Mail is focused on providing our users with the best business email solution. One of the major factors for achieving this is having high email deliverability. Email deliverability is affected by a multitude of factors. Spam traps being one of them.

In this article, we will explore how Spam traps are utilized by different services across the web and why they can affect your email delivery.

  • What is a Spam trap
  • Common types of Spam traps
  • Why should you worry about Spam traps
  • How to avoid spam traps

What is a Spam trap

Spam traps are email addresses used by ISPs, anti-spam organizations, and other groups to find out people who send emails to inactive mailboxes or contacts they do not have permission to send to.

These are used to catch spammers or malicious senders, but quite often legitimate senders with poor data maintenance or acquisition practices also get affected by these traps.

A spam trap looks like a real email address but it does not have any human on the other end and the sole purpose of its existence is to identify spammers and senders with poor list hygiene.

Common types of Spam traps

Spam traps can be classified based on how they were created and the way they operate. There are two basic types of spam traps:

  1. Pristine spam traps
    These are also known as pure spam traps. These email addresses are created to be spam traps and were never meant to be used as valid email addresses. These email addresses are published on public websites, but hidden to a normal user.

    The only people who find and send to those addresses are the people who use bad collection processes, like scraping the web for everything that looks like an email address. If a mailing list is bought then there are high chances of them containing such traps as well.

  2. Recycled spam traps
    These are email addresses that were once valid and owned by real people but are no longer in use and are invalidated. Whenever a sender sends an email to such a recipient, the mailbox provider returns a hard bounce signaling to the sender to remove this address from their list.

    After some time, the mailbox provider will not return a hard bounce to such senders and this mailbox would become an active spam trap instead. These senders are then categorized as spammers.

Why should you worry about Spam traps

Depending on the type of spam trap, sending email to even one trap can significantly impact your mailbox's deliverability capabilities.

Sending emails to spam traps can lead to permanent suspension of your domain on Business Mail

If you're sending emails to spam traps, it is considered as an indicator that you either applied bad practices to collect email addresses or you did not maintain your mailing list to check valid email addresses.

As Spam traps are continuously monitored by ISPs and blacklist providers, any email sent to them is traced, and the sender is in turn blacklisted. 

How to avoid spam traps

1) Do not buy an email list

When buying an email list, you cannot be sure of how the email addresses were collected in the list. If bad practices were applied in the collection, there are high chances of the list containing spam traps in it.

Not spamming, but need to send bulk email? We recommend using third-party services like MailChimp or Sendgrid for your email campaigns

2) Use double opt-in

Double opt-in can be used to ensure that an email address belongs to a real person as the email address is added to the email list only after the recipient signs up for the email list.

3) Validate email addresses

Avoid invalid email addresses from subscribing to your mailing list/customer list by using a verification process. Common techniques include - sending an OTP to the email, getting the user to click a link that has been emailed to them. This would protect your mailing list from fake email addresses that, at best, will bounce and at worst is a spam trap.

Feel free to drop us an email at should you have any queries regarding the above, we'll be happy to help you!

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