(Serhat Beyazkaya, SmartMessage Product Marketing Manager) “Spam trap” is a fraud controlling mechanism used by ISPs to catch spammy senders. Spam trap addresses are made-up addresses that don’t belong to any real person or company. As the name speaks for itself, these addresses act like baits used in traps. Since they don’t have the capability for opt-in actions, they enter your lists via unpermitted methods. Once you email one of these addresses, it will most probably end you up in the blacklist.
Since there are different types of spam trap addresses, if you don’t deploy required controls, you may be emailing those even unintentionally. There are three types of spam traps:
1) Pristine Traps:
Since spam traps are unmanageable, they can’t opt-in to your lists, or you can’t add them via business card info. They are not like addresses gathered via organic methods. If you use lists without knowing the data source, spam trap addresses might exist. These addresses usually stay in email lists for sale, or they are embedded in websites on purpose to be found by robots. Similarly, they might be traveling hand to hand without questioning the source for ages and ended up in your list.
2) Recycled Traps:
Even though you might collect data with permission, some addresses can be still in spam trap form. The reason is ISPs mark the inactive addresses as spam traps. (An email address that stayed inactive for a year). ISPs push the email marketing world to aim especially active users. Therefore, monitoring inactive users is very critical.
You should clean your lists in certain periods, and define your active/passive subscribers. Likewise, you should even mark the users that did not read your emails for a long time and take the required actions.
3) Invalid email addresses:
There may be misspelling issues during converting printed data to digital. Misspelled e-mail addresses in your list may unintentionally appear as spam traps.
To get an instant offer, sometimes users fill forms with fake e-mail addresses. (Like downloading a whitepaper etc.) If your system does not control these fake addresses, they will end up as spam traps. For this reason, the double opt-in method is the safest way to collect data via such activities.
The Damage Spam Traps Will Bring
The impact of spam traps depends on how many times a sender falls into spam traps and the actions the spam trap controller will take.
Some of the main damages include;
- Getting caught by spam traps have a negative impact on your reputation as a sender. They increase your bounce rates while decreasing your deliverability scores.
- Your IP might end up in the blacklist, and this situation will also damage your deliverability. As a result, you won’t be able to reach people like you used to do.
- Falling into reissued spam traps by main ISPs like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, your domain name might stay permanently in the blacklist.
- If you fall into spam traps by widely known anti-spam organizations, you won’t be able to reach organizations that use filters of them. This situation creates a risk of reaching leading ISPs.
In case of falling into spam traps, your email service provider will take actions to assist you. Unfortunately, your deliveries will be in suspension.
This period means a hard time even for even experienced email marketers since it is uneasy to clear out how you ended up falling into spam traps.
Investigation and recovery phases:
- Check the collection method of the data. Delete purchased or third party based information.
- Investigate the delivery history of your list and the frequency of bulk emails. Delete long-term inactive users.
- Segment your database by user interactions like Reads, Clicks, Forwards. Once you are free to send emails again, you should engage with an active audience that is interested in your communications.
The recovery period may last from one day to weeks. The best way to avoid such circumstances is periodic controls and clearance of the data. The proactivity is the key to successful email marketing.
Feel free to contact us on tips for engaging email marketing.