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Email Spam Traps: What are They and What to Do About Them

16 August 2021
by Adam Oldfield

Okay, so you might have an excellent brand reputation and be seen by your customers and industry peers as a trusted marketing agency that sends relevant email content, however, email spam traps can still happen to you – so beware!

As marketers, you need to be on top of what your data is telling you and respond positively – and as swiftly as possible. That’s where savvy marketing automation platforms can help.

So, let’s delve into the details a little more. What are email spam traps and why should you care? Simply put, it’s where an email address has been placed somewhere on the internet by email security platforms and spam filtering applications to determine if your list has been sourced by ‘scraping’ email addresses. If you hit an email spam trap, it can hugely impact your reputation… and not in a good way.

Major email servers subscribe to these providers too so they can offer accurate insight when it comes to dissecting their own spam processing. Additionally, they’re created by a major email server that takes a defunct email address – from old users – and places a ‘hard bounce’ on them for approximately six months.

When this time period is up, they’re then converted into a toxic account or email spam trap. That’s why it doesn’t matter if your brand has an unrivalled reputation, because if you don’t understand your data – and update it regularly to avoid bounces – an email spam trap can not only derail your next campaign, but damage your credibility too.

Have I Hit an Email Spam Trap?

Take the time to investigate and see if your domain or IP address appears on any blacklists. We’d recommend you set up alerts to regularly monitor your lists and paying for a subscription to the online tool, ‘MX Toolbox’, because it can perform a complete check to help you understand your online reputation and health.

What Do I Do if I End Up on an Email Spam Trap Blacklist?

When you use a tool such as MX Toolbox, you should be given a link, so you can request your removal. Thankfully, it’s relatively simple… in the first or second instance.

However, if you find yourself in the same position for the third or fourth time, it does become trickier. And the difficulty is, the blacklist won’t disclose the email address’s identity that caused the issue with the email spam trap. Frustrating, right?

But, while you might be reading this and thinking it sounds impossible to avoid, we’d always suggest you take a serious look at the data that you email to, and question where the records come from, so you can give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding the dreaded email spam trap.

Cleansing your email data list means that you’re less likely to end up in an email spam trap. It can take time to sort through your contacts, especially if your contact list is quite long. Email automation software can cut your cleansing time down by automatically removing contacts who create hard bounces, meaning you won’t be caught in an email spam trap.

Want to know what you should be examining in your data? Download our ‘Ultimate Guide to Email Deliverability’ for free today.

Fancy a demo of Force24 – the UK’s fastest growing marketing automation platform? Speak to our email scientists by calling: 0845 272 5990 or emailing: info@force24.co.uk

Photo of Adam Oldfield
Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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