How to Use Email Validator to Find and Avoid Spam Traps
Email validator ensures that you only work with the best, most up-to-date data. Rather than waste time and money sending emails to accounts that won’t receive them, you can be confident that each email you send is viable. Email validation eliminates invalid email addresses, reduces bounce rates, and cleans your database of form spam.
Spam traps are used to identify unethical email practices. Anyone sending emails that people don’t want risks being flagged as spam. Once this happens, emails sent from these domains go straight to the spam folder—not the inbox, where you want them. Fortunately, email validation helps protect you. Keep reading to find out how.
What are Spam Traps?
Spam traps, in short, are email addresses that monitor and report spammy emails. “Spammy” emails are those sent without first receiving permission or opt-in from users. However, there are instances where you do receive permission, but your email still gets “trapped” or flagged as spam.
Pure Spam Traps
Pure spam traps are created intentionally by internet service providers (ISPs). The purpose is to catch sending domains that email spam. This is effective because the only way someone could email one of these spam traps is by unethically scouring the web for addresses or purchasing an email list from someone who has done so.
Therefore, it’s important that you don’t scour for email addresses or purchase lists. The quality is questionable, and the process is unethical. Instead, it’s better to provide users with the options to provide their email addresses voluntarily, to opt-in to future messages, and to opt-out or unsubscribe at any time (more on this later).
Unfortunately, this isn’t fool-proof. Even if you collect emails ethically, you could still find yourself sending to a spam trap. That’s because recycled email addresses can become spam traps too over time.
Recycled Email Addresses
Do you have an email address that you created years ago that you don’t use anymore? Maybe you even do use it when you are required to provide an email address but want to keep your primary inbox free of spam and promotional emails. Everyone’s done it, so think of how many of these addresses could be in your own database!
What happens is that the provider (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) identifies these accounts as abandoned and repurposes them as spam traps. Since the account has been inactive for so long, the provider feels confident that anyone sending to the account must be a spammer. Because how did the sender get the address of an account that isn’t being used?
Again, these abandoned addresses enter your database by users who know the account is abandoned. In this way, they attempt to redeem an offer without receiving follow-up emails.
Invalid Email Addresses
You could have spam trap email addresses in your database that are purely coincidental. For example, someone who doesn’t want to receive follow-up emails might provide a funny or fake email address that happens to be the same as a spam trap address created by an ISP. Something like, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Users could also mistype their email address on a webform, or you or an employee could mistype it when manually entering data. So while email@example.com might be a legitimate account, firstname.lastname@example.org might be a simple mistake that coincidentally ends up being the same address as an ISP spam trap.
Spam bots are robots created to troll the web in search of access to sensitive user information. They can fill out web forms just like any other user. The email address provided might be obviously incorrect (unintelligible or missing vital information). But most of the time you won’t be able to tell it’s invalid just by looking at it. Nor would you want to. That kind of manual database cleaning is time-consuming and prone to errors. (Email validation takes care of this for you; keep reading….)
If you don’t catch these email addresses and you email them, you hurt your sender reputation and make yourself susceptible to being flagged as spam.
Consequences of Sending to a Spam Trap
Sending emails to inboxes that don’t reach actual people is a waste of time and money. But sending emails to a spam trap can have long-term consequences, too.
Compromised Sender Reputation
First of all, you want to maintain a good sender reputation. This is measured by the number of emails you send successfully. Too many bounces causes your sender reputation to suffer. Bounces are emails that are sent to invalid email addresses and returned to you. But your reputation suffers also if recipients report your emails as spam or if you send too many emails that are never opened.
Too many of these instances can flag your sending account as spam and hurt your deliverability. That means that future emails sent from your account will land in recipients’ spam folders instead of inboxes.
There is also a blacklist database. The IP addresses of email accounts flagged as spam can be blacklisted. This means that emails sent from the IP address won’t be delivered to recipients’ inboxes.
ISPs like Yahoo or Gmail can create their own spam traps. So your sending domain can be blacklisted by an individual ISP. The worst case scenario is hitting a spam trap operated by an anti-spam organization like SpamTitan. This can prevent deliverability to all ISPs.
These organizations report their data to their clients, so any entity consulting these databases won’t receive your emails either if you’re listed.
What is Email Validator?
Email validation tells you whether or not an email is active and deliverable before you send to it. This helps ensure that you increase your delivery rates and therefore secure a good sending reputation. Likewise, it minimizes your bounce rates and decreases the chances of getting flagged as spam.
A tool like Searchbug’s email validator identifies valid, invalid, disposable, toxic, and catch-all email addresses from your database to prevent email bounces and increase email deliverability. It also identifies abuse addresses owned by users who often mark emails as spam. This protects you from getting labeled as spam and allows your emails to land in inboxes. Finally, email validation detects spam trap email addresses that do not belong to real people.
Problems associated with spam traps can be fixed and prevented with email validator. But there are a number of ways you can protect yourself from invalid email addresses.
How to Avoid Spam Traps
One surefire way to make sure your emails land in recipients’ inboxes is to send them to people who actually want to receive them. By providing prospective customers the chance to opt-in or provide permission to receive your emails, you minimize the chances that these recipients will provide you with fake addresses or mark your emails as spam.
If you have your users verify their email addresses when submitting forms, you prevent mistyped and invalid email addresses from entering your database. You can send a verification email that users have to act on in order to proceed on your website or offer. This ensures that fake or incorrect email addresses stay off your list. It also protects against spambots since email addresses they submit aren’t valid.
Validation Error Messages
Validation error messages can help prevent typos as well. You can provide a drop down box of common email domains to prevent users from submitting fake ones. This also ensures that John doesn’t accidentally type “htmail” when he means “hotmail”.
A validation error message might also prevent users from submitting addresses that aren’t formatted correctly. If you set up your form to reject submissions that aren’t formatted properly with all necessary parts, you avoid the risk of sending emails to undeliverable addresses.
You want to provide your recipients with a clear and easy way to unsubscribe from your emails. That way, they can simply unsubscribe when they no longer wish to receive your emails rather than marking them as spam. Your sending reputation also tracks open rates. So if you’re sending a bunch of emails that never get opened or read, your sending reputation can suffer. This makes it even more important that recipients have the option to unsubscribe if they are getting more emails than they care to open.
Of course, you can automate the cleaning of your database with a bulk email validator. If there are some invalid email addresses that find their way into your list, an email validator can detect them and help protect you.
It’s a good idea to check your list a couple of times a year to catch email addresses that change status over time. This way you can be sure you only work with up-to-date data.
To save even more time and money, you can integrate an email address verification API that will verify email addresses at the point of entry. If it detects that an email address is incorrect, invalid, or a spam trap, it will be prevented from entering your system.
How to Use Email Validator to Find and Avoid Spam Traps
Searchbug’s bulk email validator is a quick and easy way to make sure that the emails in your database are valid and deliverable. All you have to do is upload your list, indicate the data you need, review the cost, process the information, and download your results!
Cost is determined by volume, so if you’d like a quote, try the pricing calculator.
Curious to know if there are any spam traps in your list? Find out today!