How to Avoid Spam Traps and Protect Your Sender Reputation in 2022

September 15, 2022

Building an email list from scratch takes a lot of effort and time. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering that spam traps have infiltrated your email address. It is not unusual for spam traps to occur even if you follow email best practices. But if you communicate with your subscribers with the best intentions, care about their experiences, and practice good email list hygiene, it is very easy to take care of spam traps!

How to Avoid Spam Traps and Protect Your Sender Reputation in 2022

There is no way to avoid spam traps completely. However, you can minimize your exposure by practicing good data hygiene. This article provides you with the ultimate guide to spam traps.

Table of Contents

What are Spam Traps?

A spam trap is an email address that is treated and monitored by blacklist providers and anti-spam organizations that catch spammers and people who send spam. You should not be fooled by these emails. Although they appear to be from legitimate senders, they are not coming from an actual individual.

How do Spam Traps End Up on Your Email Lists?

It's easy to get caught in a spam trap. After a certain amount of time, the inbox provider will automatically disable an email that is no longer needed.

Marketers who send emails to this inactive address will receive a hard bounce. This will inform them that the address should be removed from their lists. Many email marketers will remove the email from their list after receiving this request. In response, major Internet Service Providers use abandoned emails to send spam and penalize irresponsible senders.

If they continue to send the emails, the email address will eventually not bounce and will be identified as a spam trap. This will adversely affect the delivery rate and damage your reputation as a sender.

Types of Spam Traps

Pristine Spam Trap

ISPs and other organizations create pristine spam traps in order to spread spam. A sender has never used the email addresses in this list in the past.

The presence of a pristine spam trap indicates that a sender is using suspect methods to gather contact information. The pristine spam trap is the most severe spam trap when it comes to negative effects on your sending reputation. There is a greater chance of your IP address or domain being blocked by a deny list if your contact list contains this type of spam trap.

Recycled Spam Trap

A recycled spam trap is usually a domain or email address that was once legitimate but is now being repurposed to trap spam. A few examples of email addresses are commonly found, such as those of role addresses (sales@, info@, support@) or former employees' email addresses.

While recycled spam traps are generally not as harmful as pristine spam traps, they still play a role in the degradation of the reputation of your sending business over time with continued use.

Honeypot Traps

Honeypot traps are created intentionally to gather information about IP addresses to combat email fraud and spam. Websites, codes, and forms are deliberately hidden so harvesters, bots, and malicious actors can intercept and collect them.

Honeypots work to detect and prevent unsolicited bulk mailing to the general public and reduce spam sent to and received on the internet.

Types of Spam Traps

Typo Traps

A typo in the email address's domain may result in a different email address, such as @gnail instead of @gmail. Typo traps are most commonly used with misspelled usernames before the @ sign. The most common example is collecting offline data and manually entering it into the database, typing incorrect data over the phone, or avoiding customer emails.

Which Applications Run Spam Traps?

ISPs (Internet Service Providers), anti-spam organizations, and domain block listing services protect our inboxes from spam behind the scenes.

In addition to spam filters, Internet service providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and AOL are equipped with honeypots for collecting spam. Unfortunately, using an ISP's spam trap can permanently block your IP address, which may be difficult to remove.

A DNSBL is a list of IP addresses with a history of spamming that allows website administrators to block them. Approximately 90% of the internet's spam traps are owned by DNSBL and circulated in channels where spammers look for email addresses.

Why Spam Traps are Dangerous?

You Will Land on a Blocklist

If your email address is caught in a spam trap, your domain name and IP address will be included on a spam block list. When you stay on these blocklists for an extended period, you will soon find that all your emails are routed to spam folders.

The use of an Email Service Provider (ESP) could result in the suspension of your account. In addition, ESPs have strict guidelines regarding spam activity and will not hesitate to block you if your activities violate these guidelines.

Your Email Metrics Will Suffer

The presence of recycled or invalid subscribers will adversely affect the performance of your campaign. For example, your subscriber engagement will fall, your deliverability will suffer, and your chances of being added to the spam folder will increase if you do not maintain a healthy list.

How to Identify Spam Traps?

You can use these email patterns to detect spam traps in your contact list if you verify some of the email patterns listed below:

  1. A fake email address does not possess a valid email address, for example, [email protected]. This kind of email address can be easily created automatically by email list providers. Fake email addresses are generally populated into excel files using scripts.
  2. The email addresses on your list contain errors: For example, you have an error in the email address [email protected] instead of [email protected].
  3. The DNSBL owners use dormant email addresses to catch people sending these spam emails with clear messages that these are spam. If you track email engagement, you can find out who is sending the emails.
  4. You will receive a hard bounce notification at your sending email address if you send an email to the recycled spam trap email. In order to prevent your domain's reputation from being affected, you can use this method to identify and remove the email id quickly.

How To Prevent a Spam Trap From Entering My list?

Keep Email Lists Clean

To maintain a successful reputation, your email list must be kept clean. Spam refers to electronic communications that are considered junk. A majority of spam is sent to people without their permission. Furthermore, it violates the terms of many email services.

You can keep your email list clean and avoid spam by implementing a double opt-in process. A double opt-in method requires someone who signs up for your mailing list to confirm that they wish to be included on the list by responding to your email. As a result of this, your email bounce-back rate can also be reduced.

Keep Your Databases Up To Date

Have you taken a close look at your contact list in the recent past? Creating a new list is probably a good idea when you have not contacted your list in an extended period, for example, two years. At this point, many of the people you know have moved on and changed jobs, roles, interests, or locations.

Ensure the Email Body is Well-Maintained

A marketing strategy's most crucial component is the email body. This factor determines whether your email is sent to the top of the inbox.

For your email to be successful, three factors must be considered:

  • Send an email with the subject line
  • Reputation and address of the sender.
  • Your email's content and body.

The content of your email must be written in such a way that it motivates the recipient to read the entire email if you wish to ensure 100% inbox placement for your campaign. To accomplish this, your emails should contain a variety of lengths and styles of paragraphs.

Using short sentences and paragraph breaks is key to ensuring your message is read from start to finish By using words the reader would be able to understand, and by including relevant images, you can also establish a better connection.

Avoid Symbols and Excessive Punctuation

Excessive use of exclamation marks or punctuation marks - especially the dollar sign ($) - can trigger spam filters. Studies show that question marks do better than exclamation marks at attracting attention to your email title. Make a subject that asks a question if you want to put a punctuation mark.

Check your Email Delivery Rates

Asses your email delivery rates to determine if your email list contains spam traps. Your contact list may have spam traps if your delivery rates are low.

Email messages are not opted-in to by spam traps. As a result, emails are sent to their inbox, but they don't seem to be marked as read or delivered. Although tools can help you analyze your contact list for spam traps, you won't necessarily be able to find all of them. It is also possible to look on an email block list such as the spam cop blocking list if you suspect your email list contains a spam trap.

Use Double opt-in Signup Forms.

Signing up new subscribers with a double-opt-in form is the best practice. A double opt-in process involves sending a confirmation email to the subscriber after subscribing.

The confirmation email will be opened by legitimate subscribers who are interested in confirming their subscription, while spam traps won't open it.

Activity-based Segmentation of Subscribers

You can prevent spam traps from interfering with your campaign. In addition, by archiving inactive contacts, your marketing activities become more effective and cost-effective due to removing the "dead weight" of unengaged and ineffective recipients. As a result, it allows you to cut off all your non-revenue generating contacts at the pass. By following these steps, you can build an active email marketing list while taking care not to fall victim to spam traps.

The open rate and click rate are two simple metrics that can be used to measure engagement. Marketers should always monitor these numbers to identify the email addresses that have received numerous emails but have yet to open or click on them.

If an inactive email address is no longer being used, it does not necessarily mean it is spam. However, you should periodically validate your email lists and delete the inactive ones in order to maintain an ROI-focused list since inactive lists will not generate revenue either.

The process allows you to remove spam traps that may have unintentionally entered your list.

Regularly Verify Email Addresses

Once you have built your high-quality list, you should take steps to maintain it.

With VerifyBee, you can automate the cleaning of your mailing list. It is as simple as uploading a list from your favorite email marketing platform to identify potential spam traps, such as typos and syntax mistakes in emails. Save time and effort by removing bad emails from your list before they are added.


With email verification services like VerifyBee, you can validate the validity and authenticity of your email list. You'll be able to avoid spam traps if you conduct email verification alongside other steps you take to ensure your mailing list is clean and accurate.

Wrapping Up

Spam trap mitigation techniques are crucial to protecting your email reputation. However, spam traps are not worth your time and effort, so you should avoid them at all costs. Properly managing your spam traps will give you the time, energy, and effort you need to focus on the active audience that generates the most revenue.

Maintaining clean email lists will prevent you from falling victim to the spam trap. In addition, you will reap the rewards of your healthy email list in the long run if you follow appropriate email hygiene practices, such as verifying your emails as you collect them and cleaning them frequently.

Any email marketing campaign can be more successful if it identifies and avoids spam traps, one of the most important aspects of which is email verification. If you're looking for email cleaning in real-time, check out VerifyBee. Sign up today and ensure a clean and authentic email list!

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