Is it possible that your email list could contain hidden agents just waiting to determine that you’re a spammer? It’s definitely possible. Email addresses known as spamtraps exist for the sole purpose of identifying potential spammers and then blacklisting them. In some cases, spamtraps could have once been legitimate email addresses that have been abandoned by their owners and converted into spamtraps by the email service provider; in others, they’ve been seeded into the wild in an attempt to be harvested.
Below are just a few examples of common spamtraps as well as suggestions for avoiding them.
- YouGuessedIt@example.com – Have you ever been tempted to guess an email address? For example, by putting common names or random patterns in front of a Gmail or Hotmail address? Many spammers use this technique to spread their messages, but email providers are on to it. When email messages arrive to a non-existent account, email providers immediately suspect spamming.
- Spamtrap Seeds – Email service providers have been known to create spamtraps and seed them on Web pages, forums, and other Internet locations specifically to attract “harvesters” who scrape email addresses in order to send spam.
- User-Created Spamtraps – Some users will create bogus email addresses in order to gain access to a special report, register for a forum, or fill in a required email address form because they don’t want to give up their real email addresses (because they don’t want spam). For example, someone might enter DontSpamMe@example.com or NoSpam@example.com. Just as the YouGuessedIt example, email service providers will take notice if an non-existent email address starts receiving email.
- Spamtraps on purchased lists – Avoid the temptation to purchase a list and you’ll avoid annoying subscribers and potential spamtraps.
These are just a few examples of spamtraps to give you an idea about what they are and why it’s important to find and eradicate them.
In order to avoid getting trapped, follow these tips:
- Clean your list immediately and often – When was the last time you removed inactive contacts from your list? If contacts aren’t opening or clicking your messages, they’re either uninterested or not receiving your messages – or they could be spamtraps. In any case, it’s time to clean up your list. Even if a contact is legitimate, if the contact isn’t interested after a set number of contacts, it’s time to move on.
- Always use a double opt-in registration process – This verification process ensures that the email address is legitimate and that the contact does want to receive messages from you.
- Conform to established and acceptable email marketing practices and avoid any technique that could get you in trouble such as email harvesting or randomly guessing email addresses.
Spamtraps are out there. Are you equipped to avoid them?