Tips for removing pristine and recycled spam traps from your email list

Sending email to pristine and recycled spam traps harms your sending reputation and can cause email to land in the spam folder and IP addresses and domains to be placed on blacklists. One of the best ways to avoid sending to spam traps is to prevent them from reaching your email list in the first place. However, once they reach your email list, it can be hard to identify them since they look like any other ordinary email address. 

Removal tips: 

  • Have a plan to identify unengaged subscribers from the moment they sign up. Send win-back campaigns with special offers to these subscribers and suppress any that don’t engage with the email by opening it or clicking through to your website. On average, a mailbox provider creates recycled spam traps after 3-9 months of inactivity.
  • Send re-permission campaigns. Send your unengaged subscribers a campaign asking them to re-confirm their commitment to receiving your email by clicking a link within the email. Send them to your preference center and ask them to confirm their choices on your website. Spam traps will not complete these actions. Suppress any email address that does not re-confirm.
  • Run all email addresses through an email list validation service to identify malformed and misspelled domains, unknown users and temporary email addresses. These are all potential sources of spam traps.
  • Remove all unknown users after one bounce. Most mailbox providers bounce back an inactive email address as an unknown user for 3-9 months prior to creating it into a recycled spam trap.
  • Sign up for Microsoft’s Smart Network Data Services (SNDS). SNDS provides detailed times for sending email to Microsoft spam traps. You can use this information to identify potential sources of the spam trap by comparing the time the spam trap was hit to the times your email was sent. Suppress unengaged email addresses sent at the same time the spam trap hit was recorded.
  • Use Return Path’s Certification Whitelist and Return Path Platform Sender Score data to identify specific IP addresses that may be a source of the spam traps. This is especially effective when you segment your IP addresses for different email streams.
  • Segment your email list and send to different segments on different days and at different times. Use Return Path’s Certification Whitelist, Return Path Platform Sender Score and Microsoft’s SNDS data to identify email segments suspected of containing a spam trap. Continue segmenting and sending to different segments on different days or times. At some point, the segments will be small enough where you can suppress the entire segment that has the spam trap.
  • Check your triggered message program. Sending annual emails for birthdays, anniversaries and product renewal reminders can be a source of hitting spam traps. Look for signs of engagement for all subscribers receiving these emails and suppress any email address that has not engaged within the last 6 months (you may have to be more aggressive and go to 3 months or less depending on the severity of the problem). With an effective win-back and re-permission program, only your engaged subscribers should be receiving these triggered emails.


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