What are spam traps (also known as honeypots)?

Spam traps, also known as honeypots, are a powerful tool used by email service providers (ESPs) and anti-spam organizations to identify and block spam emails: they are designed to catch spammers and protect email recipients from receiving unwanted emails. Spam traps are email addresses that look like regular email addresses, but they're not being used by real people: instead, they're used to identify spammers who are sending unsolicited emails.

How Spam Traps Work

When a spammer sends an email to a spam trap, the ESP or anti-spam organization will flag the sender's IP address and domain as a source of spam. This information is then used to block future emails from that sender. In addition, sending emails to spam traps can harm your sender reputation, making it more difficult for your legitimate emails to reach their intended recipients.

Types of Spam Traps

There are two main types of spam traps:

  • Pristine Spam Traps: these are email addresses that have never been used for email communication. They are set up by ESPs and anti-spam organizations to catch spammers who are scraping email addresses from websites.
  • Recycled Spam Traps: these are email addresses that were once used for legitimate email communication but have since been abandoned: they are then turned into spam traps to catch spammers who are using outdated email lists.

How to Avoid Spam Traps

To avoid spam traps, it's important to follow best practices for email list acquisition and email verification: you should only email individuals who have explicitly requested to receive your emails and you should also regularly clean your email list with an email verification service to remove inactive or invalid email addresses. By doing so, you can protect your sender reputation and ensure that your emails are reaching the right people.

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