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Spam traps are essentially dummy email addresses, ones that no sensible sender should be targeting, and they’re used to identify and blacklist emails from potential spam senders. Let’s focus in on a particularly tricky kind: Recycled spam traps.

If you’re going to reach out to customers using email, good list hygiene is key to making sure that the messages you send actually get delivered. If your email list isn’t well-maintained, your company risks having your messages sent straight into the Spam folder—which can mean that even the most highly-relevant content may never get seen by its intended recipient. One of the biggest dangers facing a brand that isn’t on top of its email list hygiene? Spam traps.

Spam traps are essentially dummy email addresses, ones that no sensible sender should be targeting, and they’re used by internet service providers (ISPs)/inbox providers to identify and blacklist emails from potential spam senders. But while there are several different kinds of spam traps out there, let’s focus in on a particularly tricky kind: Recycled spam traps.

The Bad Kind of Recycling: Recycled Spam Traps

Recycled spam traps target dormant email addresses that are no longer used by their original owners and have been repossessed by email providers or security companies. When a message is sent to that address, it tells the ISP (or security company) that the sender is targeting outdated email addresses and therefore not being thoughtful about who they’re sending emails to.

Recycled spam traps are easy ways to catch senders practicing poor data hygiene by reaching too far back into their list of recipients or failing to do a sufficient job ensuring recipients have actually opted in. To prevent your messages from landing in a recycled trap, be sure to regularly sunset old email addresses from your lists, send double opt-in emails to ensure subscribers are active users, and stay away from purchasing email lists. It takes a little doing, but the benefits are clear—you’ll reduce the risk that wanted email end up in your recipient’s spam folders.

Anything Else?

Want to dig deeper into sending great email and mastering deliverability? Check out “Emails on Email,” our interactive look at modern email marketing and where it’s going.