Today, spam traps have become essential in detecting spammers. Email marketers, especially those who send bulk emails, must understand spam traps and how to avoid them. So, we created a comprehensive guide to spam trap detection.
As an email marketer, you need to remember that good lists are not static, and you may unwittingly become a spammer in the eyes of some mailbox providers. This can be a result of not maintaining and cleaning your list.
Keep reading if you want to learn more about spam trap detection and successfully land in your recipients’ primary inbox.
What are Spam Traps?
Also known as honeypots, spam traps are email addresses used by mailbox providers such as blacklist operators, email clients, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to identify email addresses used when sending spam emails. 
The email addresses might be new ones created specifically to send spam emails. They might also be old email addresses that people no longer use.
Moreover, you will never see spam trap email addresses directly or find them published on a website. This is important in ensuring that legitimate email senders and users do not get into the trap.
On the other hand, spammers use different methods, such as web crawling, to get email addresses from the web. They then use these email addresses or sell them to companies.
How to Detect Spam Traps
Detecting spam traps takes work because by looking at them, they look just like any other email address. You can even send emails to them without any problems. However, there are a few techniques you can use.
The most important trick for every marketer to try is tracking user engagement during their email marketing campaigns. Since spammers are not legitimate users, they will never react, open, or click on the links in your emails.
Read also: 15 Email Marketing Best Practices
If you notice that some email addresses are inactive and never respond to your emails, these might be spam traps. Either way, these people are not interested in your offer. You can blacklist or remove them from your list.
You can also detect spam traps through the following email patterns:
- Typos in Email Addresses – If you find email addresses with typos on your list, remove them immediately. For instance, you might discover email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fake or Irrelevant Email Addresses – You might also come across sketchy email addresses. For example, does an email address such as email@example.com look valid? Well, email providers create these email addresses easily and can use them as spam traps.
- Hard Bounces – Chances are that you will receive a hard bounce whenever you send an email to a spam trap. Once you immediately get this, you can categorize that email address as a spam trap and get rid of it.
- Dormant Addresses – Do you still use the first email address that you created? Well, some email addresses have remained dormant or inactive for a long time. These email addresses are sometimes used as spam traps and can be identified through user engagement.
How to Avoid Spam Traps
Use Services that Validate Emails
Different services do a fantastic job when it comes to spam trap detection. If you collect user emails through your website, you must use one of these services to avoid spam traps.
For instance, using APIs to connect to your website forms can verify email addresses to ensure you only get valid ones. You can also use APIs to verify all the email addresses on your mailing list to ensure they are not spam traps. 
Avoid Buying Email Lists
As discussed above, some people use web crawlers to crawl the web for email addresses. In addition, getting these email lists means you are sending emails to people who did not subscribe to your emails.
In addition, the chances of getting spam traps in these email lists are very high. The recipients who did not subscribe to your emails might mark you as spam, something you must always avoid.
Send Confirmation Emails
When a user signs or subscribes to your mailing list, send them a confirmation email. Others have not engaged with you for some time, so send them a re-engagement email.
Suppose these users have yet to respond to your confirmation or re-engagement email. In that case, immediately remove their email addresses, as they might be potential spam traps.
Implement Double Opt-In
When a user signs up on your website or any other platform, ensure they get a confirmation email before taking any further action. After they have clicked a link to verify their email address, you can then add them to your mailing list.
This step is vital in ensuring that all the email addresses on your mailing lists belong to active people who check and respond to emails.
In addition, spam traps can derail your marketing campaigns and prevent you from achieving your marketing goals. As a marketer, you must know spam trap detection and implement measures to avoid them as early as possible.