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What is a Spam Trap?

Spam traps are a type of fraud management tool used by major internet service providers (ISPs) and blocklist operators to identify spammers so they can stop sending emails. Getting caught in one can have serious consequences, including blacklisting.

What are the types of spam traps?

A spam trap is an email address that looks like a real one, but doesn’t belong to a person. They’re designed to catch and send junk mail, and their main purpose is to keep unwanted traffic out of the inboxes of users worldwide.

Pristine Traps

Also known as pure spam traps, these email addresses are created by ISPs and other organizations that have never been associated with a real user. They’re typically embedded into websites so that when spammers scrape them to add to their list, they unknowingly pick up the trap as well.

These are the most dangerous to send to, as they’re not meant to receive any legitimate email. These spam traps are a huge problem for senders, as they could be blocked by ISPs and blacklist providers.

Recycled Spam Traps

A recycled what is a spam trap is an email address that’s been inactive for at least 12 months, and general practice requires these to be. They were once valid and owned by real people, but now they’re invalidated and can’t be used.

They can be hard to find, so many of these email addresses are reclaimed by ISPs and security firms, who use them to monitor email senders. They’re often used to detect spammers who have a bad list hygiene process, or those who don’t follow permission-based marketing practices.

There are a few ways to keep your email list clean of these spam traps:

Verify every new contact with InboxReady’s Single Verification API before they join your list. This practice helps ensure that only real email addresses are added to your list, and it also keeps your contact database clean.

Check your contacts’ activity regularly to identify those that aren’t opening your emails. Segment these recipients by their recent activity and re-engage them with an opt-in confirmation mailing.

If you discover that a significant percentage of your subscribers have been caught by a spam trap, it’s time to implement email verification and perform list hygiene. This will help clean your list of these illegitimate addresses, which can improve your sender reputation and deliverability.

What are the most common ways a spam trap can get onto my list?

A spam trap can come from several different sources, but most of them are from outdated or inactive email addresses. This happens when people abandon their accounts for a variety of reasons, such as job changes or downsizing. It’s also caused by bot-run email addresses that aren’t being vetted by any automated processes.

Using email confirmation with a double opt-in subscription form is the best way to prevent these spam traps from ever entering your audience. This ensures that you’re only adding people who want to receive your emails, and it allows them to correct any mistakes they make on your sign-up form or provide an alternative email if they receive a negative verification result.