As a marketer, you have implemented an effective email marketing campaign. You create and send emails that should convert and have spent time building your email list through different services. You even personalize your emails and ensure that they are sent regularly.

However, you have forgotten good lists are not static and you may have unwittingly become a spammer in the eyes of some mailbox providers. This can be a result of not maintaining and cleaning your list. You do not know what to do now since your emails are classified as spam emails. This is where spam trap detection comes in.

Today, spam traps have become essential in detecting spammers. Email marketers, especially those who send bulk emails need to understand spam traps, spam trap detection, and how to avoid them. Here is a comprehensive guide;

What are Spam Traps?

Also known as honeypots, spam traps can be defined as 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 email addresses created specifically to send spam emails. They might also be old email addresses that are no longer used. This means that you do not have to be surprised if your old email address is now a spam trap.

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. Spammers, on the other hand, 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 is not easy. This is because 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 by 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.

If you realize that some email addresses are very dormant, never active, and never respond to your emails, then these might be spam traps. Either way, these are people who are not interested in what you have to 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 in your list, get rid of them immediately. For instance, you might find instead of
  • Fake or Irrelevant Email Addresses: You might also come across email addresses that do not look valid. For instance, do you think an email address such as zzmoms@nobodyserve.ter is valid? Well, email providers create these email addresses easily and can use them as spam traps.
  • Hard Bounces: Chances are that you are going to receive a hard bounce whenever you send an email to a spam trap. Immediately you get this, you can classify 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 for a long time and are no longer used. These email addresses are sometimes used as spam traps. These are the email addresses that can be identified through user engagement.

How to Avoid Spam Traps

Use Services that Validate Emails

Different services do an amazing job when it comes to detecting and removing spam traps. If you collect user emails through your website, then you need to use one of these services to avoid spam traps.

Using APIs to connect
 to your website forms, for instance, you can verify email addresses to ensure that you only get valid ones. You can also use APIs to verify all the email addresses on your mailing list to ensure that 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 that you are sending emails to people who did not subscribe to your emails.

The chances of getting spam traps in these email lists are very high. In addition, the recipients who did not subscribe to your emails might mark you as spam, something you need to avoid at all times.

Send Confirmation Emails

When a user signs or subscribes to your mailing list, you need to send them a confirmation email. Others have not engaged with you for some time. You can send them a re-engagement email as well.

If these users do not respond to your confirmation or 
re-engagement email, then their email addresses might be potential spam traps. You need to get rid of them immediately.

Implement Double Opt-In

When a user signs up on your website or any other platform, make sure that they get a confirmation email before they can take any further action. After they have clicked a link to verify their email address, you can then add them to your mailing list.

This is important in making sure that all the email addresses on your mailing lists belong to active people who check and respond to emails.

Spam traps can derail your marketing campaigns and prevent you from achieving your marketing goals. As a marketer, you need to be aware of them and implement measures to detect and avoid them as early as possible.