Spam traps are used to monitor, identify and block spammers. A very convenient system for recipients, but can cause serious damage to companies using sending emails in their marketing strategy. It is therefore essential to be familiar with these pitfalls in order to better avoid them, carry out your emailing campaign and maintain your good reputation as a sender.

What is a spam trap?

The spam trap, is a protection system put in place by ISPs and anti-spam organizations in order to detect and block spammers or even dubious senders, thus protecting recipients from fraudulent emails.

The spamtrap comes in the form of a perfectly normal fake email address, however, which will act as a trap for spammers. This same address does not actually belong to any real user, it is just a facade, therefore a trap. If a fraudulent email is sent to the spam trap, it is automatically traced and the sender is blacklisted.

The different types of spam traps

The spam trap says pristine

Also called “honeypot“, the spam trap type “pristine” is a blank email address created by ISPs and anti-spam organizations. It has therefore never been used before and offers great reliability in terms of spam detection. This address is usually embedded in different places on a website. When a spammer visits the site to collect contacts, retrieve this address and then send their email, they will then fall into the spam trap. If an ISP or anti-spam organization detects sending an email to a spam trap pristine, it will infer that the sender is using fraudulent methods to collect contacts, even if the sender has nothing to do with it.

Be careful, a business can fall into a pristine spam trap by sending emails to contacts from purchased or rented lists. This type of spam trap is extremely harmful to a company and can seriously affect its reputation as a sender.

Recycled spam traps

Recycled spam trap uses a previously valid domain name or email address that was closed, but now reactivated, solely for the purpose of trapping spammers. This is why we talk about “recycling“. If the sender sends an email to this address, it means that they are not checking the status of their contacts enough, hence the importance for a company to regularly clean and update their lists.

Less harmful than pristine spamtrap, recycled spamtrap is still bad for a company’s reputation as a sender.

Email addresses with typos

Email addresses containing typos, for example “” or “” can be used as spam traps. Here, it is often a simple typo on the part of the sender. The consequences are therefore much less serious than for the other two types of spam traps, especially if the error is not repeated too much.

The impact of spam traps on a business

You will understand, as spam trap is a good protection against fraudulent emails, this system can have disastrous consequences on the reputation of the company in the context of a marketing campaign.

The main danger for the latter is to see its legitimate mailings classified as spam, and therefore its sender reputation severely affected, leading to high bounce rates as well as poor deliverability.

In the most serious cases, the sender’s IP address may be blocked by ISPs and anti-spam organizations, their emails may also be banned, and the associated domain may be blacklisted.

It is for these reasons that it is imperative for marketing campaign teams to strictly follow best practices for sending emails, in order to avoid adding spamtraps to their contact lists.

How to avoid spam traps?

The most effective way to avoid spamtraps is to keep contact lists clean and up to date. Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Avoid buying contact lists, as they often contain spam traps. In addition, they contain a large majority of addresses that people have not chosen to receive emails from your company. The best, although it takes more time, is to build a contact list in accordance with the regulations in force, with recipients who have given their prior consent.
  • Clean your lists regularly and keep them up to date to remove inactive emails, as these obsolete addresses are sometimes used as spam traps. If you see that some of your subscribers haven’t opened your emails for a while, start a re-engagement campaign with them, then delete the unresponsive ones.
  • Avoid the risk of list contamination by checking that the spelling of each email address is correct. Validate the emails entered in the registration forms and consider including a double opt-in for your new subscribers to ensure that their address is correct.