Here is our series on Spam Traps and the affect they have on your deliverability. If you missed the previous blog post, here it is:
Spam Traps 101 – part 1: an Introduction
The 1st kind are used by ISPs and are usually addresses that have been dormant for a long period of time and this can vary anywhere from a few years to as little as 6 months. These addresses would have returned a hard bounce during this time but now no longer receive email, other than to catch this sort of activity. Generally these addresses will not result in a blacklisting because they may in fact have opted into your list at some point, but sending too many to a particular ISP can severely damage your reputation. It’s basically telling the receiver that your list is very old and/or you are not removing hard bounces properly.
*Something I think is worth nothing here (especially when switching providers), it is paramount you make sure the data you are putting into the new system is as clean as possible. I have seen this happen many times, where a company who has been sending for years to a clean list changes providers and for whatever reason, the hard bounces get uploaded again as ‘available’ – which is obviously extremely bad and opens the flood gates for traps. You need to make sure you know exactly how your old provider has been handling your hard bounces. Have they been removing them or just ‘labelling’ them (which would mean they are still in the list on export)? Some providers can also assign a numerical value to an email address status, which only their system can recognise so you need to be very careful not to import these into the new system.
The 2nd kind of trap is the worst and the most damaging. These are addresses that exist for the sole purpose of getting your IP(s) and/or Domain blacklisted. They are used by Blacklists to catch people harvesting email addresses off the internet or people purchasing lists from a 3rd party. As mentioned in a Return Path Q2 Deliverability Benchmark Study people who have been blacklisted saw a significant decrease in their delivery rate and it severely damaged their reputation.
Bye for now,
Kevin Huxham, Director of Deliverability