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Spam Traps: How to avoid them at all costs

The easiest way to define spam traps is through email addresses created by ISPs and blacklist operatives as bait in order to identify bad senders, known as spammers.

Spam trap emails can end up on your email list only if you are not using a confirmation opt-in and you don’t clean your list constantly. If so, you would be sending emails to spam traps and be β€˜hitting a spam trapβ€˜, as they call it.

Types of Spam Traps

  • Pure or Pristine Spam Traps – email addresses never used, that could end up on your email list without permission (confirmation opt-in). This could happen due to harvesting and scraping emails by robots.
  • Recycled Spam Traps – abandoned email addresses that were once used, but deactivated by the inbox providers.
  • Invalid or Fake Email Addresses – this happens usually when someone is asked to subscribe to a list in order to receive something, like an e-book and an order, but the user does not want to be furthered emailed.
  • Typos – one of the most common spam traps. Writing @gnail instead of @gmail, or misspelling the username.

How to stay away

The best way to find any spam traps is to take a more in depth look at your email list. If you ever purchased a list (hopefully not), it must be deleted immediately.

First step is to identify the source of the problem, why and how did those spam traps end up in your email list. Most of the times, what needs to be fixed is the way you build your list. You must use confirmation opt-in, email address validation (like captcha) and grow your list organically.

Next step, you have to separate active and good subscribers from inactive ones by creating segments. For example, inactive subscribers that have not visited the store, purchased, opened or clicked your emails, in the last 180 days have to be removed on the spot.

The final and most important step is to do this frequently. Every single month, yes.


Paying close attention to these spam traps by applying security layers discussed in our 5 Ways To Check Your Sending Reputation will spare you from getting blacklisted or from damaging your deliverability reputation.


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Eric Mumo

Eric is a Content Creator at Relevon. You'll find him researching, documenting and writing marketing and technical content for Relevon's Blog.