Spam trap Removal – Why You Need It
Posted: Jan 13, 2016
Spam trap removal is an essential aspect of email list cleaning for making sure your email marketing list is not going to generate complaints with ISPs and result in high inbox delivery. In this article, we will explain what spam traps are, how they work and why you need to have spam traps removed from your list using a good email list cleaning service.
What are spam traps
A spam trap is a honeypot used to collect spam. spam traps are usually e-mail addresses that are created not for communication, but rather to lure spam. Source: Wikipedia
Simply put, a spam trap is a fake email address created by anyone who is willing to fight the good fight against spam and spammers. The email address is linked to a centralized registry (which no one knows where it is) that tells ISPs and popular email spam filters that an email was delivered to an email address that could have only been acquired through email address harvesting techniques.
Spammers go out using automated tools to fish out email addresses on the web. These software applications are available @ a dime a dozen on Google. However, do not be deceived because spam traps are laid out as bait all over the internet to lure such harvesting programs into thinking that they just scored a real email address; when in actual fact what they picked up is a spam trap.
What happens if you email to a spam trap email address
Well its bad news. When your email campaign hits a spam trap, your email marketing service provider (ESP) gets blocked by the receiving IP address and the IP reputation of your ESP instantly drops to a low sender-score. In short, you can forget about more than 30-40% inbox delivery rate after that. This is if, your ESP continues to allow you to send emails over their network.
spam trap Removal Methodologies
Because no one knows the true number of spam traps out there, removing spam traps can be very tricky and sometimes a case of "hit and miss". First, you will need to use a good email list cleaning service that can remove spam traps and is able to provide you with a list of suspected spam traps in your list so that you can eliminate them from your database altogether.
Typically spam traps are identified and removed through years of experience and a big database of email addresses that have been sent campaigns to. Nooma List Cleaner for instance has a global database of 354 million email addresses. These email addresses were collected over a long period of time and methodically saved in the database after an email was sent to these addresses. Over time, information about the email address was collected and each time someone attempts to clean an email list using Nooma List Cleaner, the email addresses are cross referenced against this list to see if that email address has ever hit a spam trap.
It is not a fool-proof method, albeit the closest you’ll ever get to reducing your risk of exposure to spam traps as an email marketer.
Best Practices For Avoiding spam traps
As tempting as it might be, try your best to not purchase email lists online, especially from email harvesters. One of the tell-tale signs of whether or not a company selling email lists online has harvested their emails is to see the total size of the list. If its in the hundreds of millions then that should be a red-flag for you.
However, if buying a list is the only viable option for your business, then consider researching the list vendors thoroughly and before you make a purchasing decision, request (or pay) for a sample of around 5% of the total volume you wish to purchase. Then run that list past an email list cleaning tool and see if it picks up any spam traps. This is also good in terms of identifying invalid, bounced or generic email addresses, which will be of no use to your email marketing efforts.
So just to wrap things up
Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve discussed so far.
spam traps are fake email addresses spread around the internet to lure spammers
spam traps are typically common among email list harvesters who troll around the internet fishing for email addresses
If you send an email to a spam trap, you will see a massive reduction in your inbox delivery rates and quite possibly be banned from using the same ESP for sending email campaigns in future
spam trap removal is not an exact science but certain email list cleaning tools can detect and eliminate spam traps better than others
Refrain from purchasing lists from list brokers who claim to have hundreds of millions of email addresses for a category
If purchasing a list is the only option then purchase a small sample (5% of total volume) and run it past an email list cleaning service to see how many email addresses get picked up as suspected spam traps
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