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Because honeypots are dispersed across the internet at random, it’s essential to practice good data hygiene. But what is a honeypot and how can you identify one?

In countless books and cartoons, a certain beloved bear continually places himself in difficult predicaments in his pursuit of honey, often falling out of tree branches and succumbing to bee attacks as a result. Even though he’s just trying to get what he wants, pots filled with delicious honey aren’t always what they seem or easy to obtain.

Enter the Honeypot: What They Are and How to Avoid Them

A honeypot—a term that appears to originate from those children’s stories—plays off this dynamic to describe a key tool for reputational data services (think the Spamhaus Project or Cloudmark) looking to identify spammers and other bad actors. Through a decoy email address that, by design, looks like any other perfectly deliverable email address, a honeypot acts as bait, attracting senders targeting lists that were most likely purchased or shared.

Because a honeypot will never open an email, click an email or do anything that a real human being would do when presented with a new email in their inbox, honeypots are a powerful resources for determining that messages sent to the decoy address are undoubtedly coming from spammers.

Because honeypots are dispersed across the internet at random, it’s essential to practice good data hygiene. Acquiring an email list or relying on outdated contacts risks having your messages delivered to honeypot addresses, compromising your email deliverability and potentially jeopardizes your sender reputation. To follow data hygiene best practices, always require opt-in messages to ensure recipients want to receive communications, sunset old email addresses after six months of inactivity and develop your own email lists without purchasing addresses from other sources.

Anything Else?

To learn more about how Braze can support smart, relevant email messaging experiences, check out our Email Product Page.