A spamtrap is an email address that looks real, but that does not belong to anyone and is not used for communication. On the contrary, it is used to identify suspicious senders that are either not collecting email addresses appropriately or not properly maintaining their database.
Both pure and recycled spamtraps exist. The first are generated specifically by an e-mail provider and are not generally visible to ordinary users. This means that senders who handle them are those who have used incorrect methods of data collection and, of course, their emails are unwanted. Recycled spamtraps are addresses that once existed and were used by real people, but are no longer active, and are therefore used by providers as a trap to detect spam mailings. Remember that email providers will deactivate an email if it is not used in a given period of time (this can vary from between 90 days for Windows Live Hotmail and 270 days for Outlook).
After deactivation, Internet service providers, who are constantly on the hunt, detect the addresses, activate their antispam filters, and finally the IP address is marked as “problematic”. The result is that, in addition to preventing communications from arriving (newsletters, offers and promotions, etc.), obviously the sender’s reputation is seriously damaged (and this may also affect other users).
A healthy database
How do I avoid my contact list including any spamtrap accounts and avoid severe consequences?
The sector shows fairly unanimous consensus with regard to some simple precautions you can take to achieve this:
- Compile your emails appropriately: this is especially important when you enter data manually in your database, as typographical errors may result in a spamtrap. This is so common it even has its own name: “typo trap”.
- Don’t take risks with addresses that may not exist: if you have any doubt about the address of a company, don’t assume that it will have a generic email such as info@, for example.
- Delete inactive subscribers. Any contacts that have not opened your communications for a long time (they should never stay in your database for more than six months) may be hiding a spamtrap. In fact, there are many users who invent an e-mail address in order to participate in competitions or to register to download free resources.
- Implement a double opt-in to ensure that the accounts that your users are registering are real.
- Of course, never buy lists of contacts. In addition to violating the regulations covering commercial communications (LSSI, in Spanish), you run the risk of incorporating a lot of obsolete and inactive addresses that may easily have become spamtrap.
As you can see, all this can be summarized as the importance of appropriately managing your database. If it is compiled well, updated and regularly cleaned, you will save yourself a lot of trouble.
Also, remember that if you indulge in bad practices, you may end up blacklisted by anti-spam organizations.
At LINK Mobility we take special care of all these points. By contract, we ensure our clients’ mailings are compiled from databases with double opt-in (both for email and SMS). This means we can guarantee our reputation with regard to ISPs and, of course, always comply with the legislation regarding data protection.