A lesson on how to monitor and reduce potential spam traps in your list.

spam trapsLet’s say you cannot afford a list hygiene company and want to remove traps from your email database by yourself. Without exposing CME’s secrets, we’ll divulge a few key components to removing spam traps.




Tips #1:
Do not harvest or scrape emails. Extracting emails from the Internet is the number one taboo move any email marketer can do. The most common placement for traps is the Internet. Spam trappers are betting that you will harvest their traps and send an email to it. Avoid scraping or harvesting online at all costs.

Tips #2:
Do not buy, rent, trade, or lease lists. Do not buy, rent, trade, or lease lists. I know you hated to read that, but it’s absolutely true. Any list that has exchanged hands is old and crusty. Remember from my other articles that there is a reason data is being sold. It’s simply not performing anymore. Old lists build traps. Spam fighters purchase expired domains and monitor traps through bounces. Old lists are major pitfalls.

Tips #3:
Remove all hard bounces before sending. It would be advantageous to run your list through email verification in order to remove hard bounces before you send to it. Letting your list sit for a month will most likely accumulate bounces and ESP’s are not interested in removing them for you. They may suspend your account so make sure you remove all bounces before sending.

Tips #4:
Remove departmental emails ( also known as “Role” accounts). These are emails that do not belong to one person rather a department. No one signs up for newsletters using these types of emails so remove them. These are emails like info@, Sales@ or webmaster@ etc… There are hundreds of thousands of departmental emails so start gathering them for your filtering. Do not forget about other languages as well.

Tips #5:
Remove strange looking emails with numbers and letters (eyeball down your list). Who would sign up for your newsletter with an email like this h38dj47sj2l-0o@yahoo? A lot of these emails are bot seeds and could be spam traps from wannabe spam fighters (uneducated spam fighters). You can also find a good regedit program that can remove these so you don’t have to go through your emails one by one. Also look for weird looking domains like jsjtjsjse-akjshd.fsnet.co.uk. They may be nothing, but you shouldn’t take that risk. Also domains that are only numeric are usually questionable.

Tips #6:
Do not let your list sit. Old lists collect spam traps as mentioned above. Emails that sit dormant for a long time eventually get taken back ( mostly by free emails like yahoo, Gmail etc) and become honey pots. If you are a list owner, you need to be massaging your list at least once a week or so. A client of ours who gathered close to 800k records from a campaign they did years ago. Everyone who signed up for their campaign did so on their webpage. They let the list sit for 2 years while focusing on other projects. When they loaded the list into a major ESP, they hit 5 major spam fighter blacklists.

Tips #7:
Do not buy new domains for sending email. New domains are a tell tale sign of spam. According to spam fighters, there is no way that within the time that your domain was bought that you were able to send that much traffic into their networks. New domains are blocked right off the bat by them checking whois on every domain that comes in.
Do not rent or buy IP’s from sketchy vendors. IP Providers switch and rotate their IP’s all the time. Just because you checked the blacklisting and it’s clean all across the board doesn’t mean the IPs are not being blocked and/or monitored. Make sure you know where your IPs are coming from and that you can trust the IP vendor with legitimate IP’s.