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Understand spam traps

Last updated: January 29, 2024

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Spam traps are email addresses used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and blocklist operators to identify senders who aren't following email best practices. These spam trap email addresses may have been legitimate at one time, but are now abandoned or invalid.

For example, if one of your contacts got a job at a new company, their old work email address would become invalid. Any contact that hasn't opened or clicked an email from you in over a year could be a spam trap and should be removed from your contact lists.


Types of spam traps

  • Pristine: pristine spam traps are email addresses that have never been valid and couldn't even opt into receiving email. They are available on public websites but hidden within the site's code. The purpose of pristine traps is to identify email marketers who use poor list building practices such as scraping sites for emails or purchasing contact lists.
  • Recycled: recycled spam traps were once valid email addresses but have since been repurposed by their provider. Someone could have used this address to opt in at one time, but the address has since been abandoned. Recycled spam traps might be on your sending list if:
    • Your list is more than one year old.
    • You don't email your list frequently.
    • There are mistyped or invalid addresses (e.g., on your list.


Why do spam traps matter?

The impact of spam traps varies depending on the type. Hitting a pristine spam trap is more severe than hitting a recycled trap. If you've emailed a pristine spam trap, your domain or sending IP address could be immediately blocklistedIf you send email to recycled spam traps regularly, you could start to see your emails being routed to the junk folder. To avoid spam traps, be sure to regularly clean up your contact lists.

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