What is a Spam Trap, HoneyPot, Complainer or Litigator?

spam trap “Spam traps” are usually e-mail addresses that are created not for communication, but rather to lure spam. In order to prevent legitimate email from being invited, the e-mail address will typically only be published in a location hidden from view such that an automated e-mail address harvester (used by spammers) can find the email address, but no sender would be encouraged to send messages to the email address for any legitimate purpose. Since no e-mail is solicited by the owner of this spam trap e-mail address, any e-mail messages sent to this address are immediately considered unsolicited. “ – wiki


There are many versions of honeypots put out from organizations simply trying to catch spammers who abandoned email accounts on all TLD’s, these are different than spam traps.

I’ve heard directly from some high ups for example that AOL produces over 500000 honey pots a day. Basically when someone abandons an email address, (About 6 months of no use) it gets taken over by AOL and is used to catch spammers. Clearly that account is not an active daily account sending out emails and receiving so anything coming into that account is deemed to be spam.

The problem with this like most legitimate mailers, or basically everyone, you don’t contact someone for a while and they abandon their account, then you send out an email to them and you’re in trouble for spamming!!(Hell everyone I know does this or has had it happens to them).

The average person has had and ignored/abandoned approx 10 email accounts in their online lifetime and or left a job etc, so this can happen to anyone.

Complainer / Litigator 

In the IM field if you mail for an AN ( Affiliate Network) then when you select an offer to mail out to your potential customers, typically (at least the good ones) give you a suppression list of their spam traps as well as their complainers that you can NOT to mail that particular offer too.
(BTW-this is a good way to collect your own suppression list from as well, as these people will basically complain about anything they don’t recognize or like, so be safe and include these people for all your lists)

Basically these people have complained to the AN or the final customer compiling the lead generations from the AN and will cause problems for the company, domain etc. so you don’t want to send them this offer and in my opinion any other offer!

Litigators are basically the same but threaten to sue, or cause as much trouble as possible for you. Be it the IP or domain the emails being sent from, the company who is promoting the product or the AN that is offering this product for sale.

Either way again, just stay away from these people as there are plenty of fish in the sea and it’s not worth offering them anything if they are already noted to be an potential problem.


Basically, spam traps are bad, if you mail to one, it’s hard to explain why you had that in your mailing list to start with (and the assumption is you scraped it), so clean your lists.

Honeypots are not as bad as you can get away with it, but again if you haven’t mailed someone in say 6 months or a year, just delete their email.

Complainers and Litigators again it’s a complaint, so you’ll get warned and usually be given their email address so add it to your suppression list. This isn’t that bad but if you get enough complaints for unsolicited emails and your SenderScore and IP reputation drop.

( Also Note: all of these are active email address, meaning they are valid, so even if you verify your list, it will come back as valid, just so you know, it’s impossible to catch all of these bad emails,but spam traps are the worst ones and you want to get rid of them.)