There seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to spamtraps. Like, do spamtraps cause deliverability issues? How can you eliminate spamtraps from your database? Rather than trying to figure it out on your own, we tapped deliverability experts from Campaign Monitor & Word to the Wise to shed some light on the subject.
There are different types of spamtraps but they can be generalized as valid, inactive email addresses that have been abandoned then resusitated to identify potential spammers or created specifically to detect spam by ISPs, anti-spam companies and security organizations.
In this post deliverability experts Laura Atkins from Word to the Wise and John Peters from Campaign Monitor breakdown spamtraps, including how to keep spamtraps out of your database.
Here’s what they had to say…
Spamtraps Are Not The Cause of Your Deliverability Issues
I think the biggest misconception is that spamtraps are the reason for delivery failures, whether blocking or spamfoldering.
Reality is spamtraps are not the cause of delivery issues. Delivery problems occur when recipients on your list didn’t ask for mail from you.
Flawed address collection processes and bad sending practices result in these addresses ending up on your list.
Spamtraps end up on lists through the same mechanisms. The presence of spamtraps confirms the underlying data problems.
Another big misconception is that the presence of a single spamtrap on a list will cause a block. This simply isn’t true in most systems. User reactions to email cause blocks and filtering. Traps don’t identify the problem, they confirm it.
Finally, there’s the misconception that every pristine trap must mean a harvested list and every recycled trap must mean an unmaintained list.
I’ve had too much experience with both types of traps to draw such clear lines. At best the labels of pristine and recycled give us a place to start investigating.
Just because a list has recycled traps doesn’t mean address collection is fine. Traps labeled pristine may actually be recycled. Senders shouldn’t assume the type of trap definitively identifies the problem.
No sender should focus exclusively on how many traps are on their list.
Instead, senders must focus on the quality and accuracy of their data. When data is accurate and regularly mailed, all spamtrap problems just fade away.
Spamtraps Are Symptoms of Pre-Existing Problems
A common misconception is that spamtraps are the cause of deliverability issues and that finding and removing them is the key to improving deliverability.
In reality, spamtraps are symptoms of one or more of the following pre-existing problems:
- The list was purchased or scraped from a website. “Pristine” spamtraps would never be added to a list by their owner.
- The list hasn’t been emailed in over 12-18 months, and some addresses have been repurposed as spamtraps.
- The list has not been managed well to remove inactive contacts, bounced emails, and people unsubscribing and/or marking emails as spam.
All of the above will negatively impact your sender reputation and overall deliverability due to consistently low engagement, high bounce rates, and high spam complaints. It is a misconception that simply identifying and removing spamtraps will resolve the above underlying issue.
Another misconception is that a list-verification tool can identify and remove all spamtraps in your list, which is simply not true. No list-verification service knows the identity of all the spamtrap addresses being used by all the different anti-spam/anti-abuse organizations, nor can update its database in real time as new spamtraps are created and old ones retired.
If an organization is proactively collecting emails using fully opt-in methods, regularly emailing their subscribers engaging and relevant content, continuously removing inactive contacts, and efficiently managing bounces, unsubscribes, and spam complaints, spamtraps will simply become a forgotten fear of the past.
More Email Deliverability Unfiltered, Next Month
Join us next month for more insight into the hidden, technical aspects of sending email. We’ll delve into the highly nuanced nature of how email gets from sender to receiver, the service providers that exist between and the practices that get you in or out of trouble.
Keep your list healthy and boost campaign performance by regularly cleaning your email list. We’ll let you know which email addresses are good, bad and risky, before you hit send.
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