What is a Spam Trap? How to Avoid them?

What is a Spam Trap? How to Avoid them?

Posted under Email Best Practices , Email Delivery on September 26, 2017

The word Spam trap looks too easy to elucidate as it gives out simple and original meaning of the two words Spam and trap. But the world is not that easy mate, making things complex has always been the dearest law of nature. Hence to make it more complex, the appellation ”Spam trap” has been attached a meaning more than what you think.

Here’s a short article where I’ll make you understand the trap behind the Spam trap. So let’s get started with the basics

What is Spam trap?

A Spam trap is a computer security mechanism set to detect, prevent unauthorized use of information systems in order to collect junk emails sent indiscriminately in bulk.

They are basically used to expose illegitimate senders who add email addresses to their lists without permission.

They’re also set up to identify email marketers having inadequate permission to handle list management activities.

What is the impact of Spam trap?

The impact is directly seen on the sender’s reputation. This results in email deliverability problems, not only for a specific user but for all who are using services from that particular sender.

Bad about Spam trap

Hitting a spam trap can vary. It depends on variables like the type of trap you hit, how many times you hit it, and how the spam trap operators handle things at their end.

1. Sender reputation will be damaged, causing bounce rates to increase, and as a result, your percentage of delivered (to the inbox) emails will decrease.

2. IP address may be added to a blacklist database, which means deliverability for other clients (and our other customers) would also be affected.

3. If it hits a spam trap operated by an ISP, such as Yahoo! or AOL, that ISP could permanently blacklist your whole domain.

4. If hits a trap operated by an anti-spam organization (e.g. Abusix, Spamhaus,     SpamCop) delivery of your emails to ISPs and companies who consult that organization’s database will be affected because they use that information to filter incoming email.

Good about Spam trap

1. Spamtrap filters the spammy emails and puts them in the spam folder, otherwise, these spammy/irrelevant emails would have landed in your inbox.

2. As mentioned earlier good marketers can be caught by spam trap. A lot of things need to pay attention to, to maintain a successful sending program. if something is off, hitting a trap provides an excellent opportunity to revise your list growing and email marketing methods.

How users get trapped under the Spam trap?

Hitting spam trap can be a bit shocking for user and service provider as it directly affects both, even excellent marketers get caught. It’s not always easy to know the reason why it happened.The possible explanation includes errors when collecting email addresses offline, junk characters in email ids, importing old lists and using only single opt-in for sign-ups.

Types of Spam trap

1. Pure Spam trap

These are the emails which are never used by anyone, they’ve never opted into a mailing list, used to sign up for an account, or handed out on a business card. The only way this sort of spam trap could possibly end up on your subscriber list is if they were obtained without permission.

Pure spam traps are set as bait with the sole intention of detecting spammers. The address is placed on the Internet where people or robots harvesting email addresses illegitimately will find them.

These emails are usually collected by spammers and sold to the people who may not     understand the consequences of emailing people without permission and they are to the bulk mailing list

2. Recycled Spam traps

This email is in the list with permission but sending to this email ids make you look like a spammer. These email ids are the older email ids which are no longer used by the original owner. Such email ids are abandoned for no long use, it as a trap to expose, and block emails from, senders who are not responsibly managing their email marketing program.

Hitting this trap indicates that user has not kept the list up to date (removing unsubscribe user or bounce email).

If I am a Good Email Sender, then how can I avoid spam traps?

This Question is very common among every Good Email Sender has.

Here are few key and unique points which each and every good email sender should practice to stay away from spam traps.

1. Never ever purchase list from third parties: 

The purchased list is the biggest source of spam trap because of unknown email ids the list is unsafe to proceed with mailing. In addition, mailing to an unknown list may also result in increased chances of complaints, leading to reputation degradation and decreased inbox placement.

2. Can implement dual authentication method for a new subscriber:

This is also known as double opt-in, which allows the user to confirm their email ids by verifying through clicking the initial email. These click-action assists in ensuring that the email address is valid, active, and the subscriber wants to receive your email.

3. Malicious emails should be rejected during subscription:

During submission of address, sometimes there is a typo or unintentional error and sometimes users don’t want to reveal their original email addresses. Those malformed email addresses should not be sent email as they can lead to increased bounces and potentially spam traps.

4. Share your suppressed list, company-wide:

If multiple individuals or business units utilize email marketing, share your suppression list company-wide. This ensures no one mistakenly emails to a bounced address or to subscribers who have unsubscribed or complained.

5. Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe any user from the list:

Sending good emails is equally important as sending emails to a good subscriber. There could be much reason user stops interacting to emails – such as email id is abandoned. These abandoned email ids are taken over by mailbox providers like Gmail and used as a recycled spam trap. Create engagement rules so subscribers who do not engage for a set period of time are no longer mailed to, or are mailed at a less frequency. Does suppressing unengaged subscribers shrink the list? Yes, but think quality instead of quantity.

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Vikram Sahu|Developer Evangelist @ Pepipost

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