What Is Spam Trap? How to Avoid It?

Are you wondering why your emails never seem to reach your subscribers’ inboxes? Email marketing on its own is quite challenging. If you add spam trap, one of the commonly used methods by inbox providers, email marketing gets more complicated. That is why knowing more about spam traps aid in identifying and preventing them from ruining your email marketing campaign.

Though spam traps often inconvenience email marketers, these are helpful too. A spam trap prevents spammers from sending numerous emails to users. That way, you are not bothered by the sudden inbox spamming. In this article, we will talk in detail about spam trap and how to identify and avoid it.

What Is Spam Trap? How to Identify and Avoid It?

In this section, we will cover the following points:

  1. What is Spam Trap?
  2. Types of Spam Trap?
  3. Who Creates Spam Trap?
  4. How Will It Affect You?
  5. How to Prevent Spam Trap From Entering the Email List?
  6. What Happens if Spam Trap Is on Your List?

So, without any further adieu, have a look at all the points in detail.

1] What is Spam Trap?

A spam trap is an email address used to recognize and take action against spam emails. It is an excellent way to bait and lure spammers. Anti-spam companies, ISPs, tech corporations, and multiple blocklist providers use these spam traps. That way, they can monitor and prevent the ever-increasing spam traffic directed toward their networks.

The email addresses used by the companies are not real email ids. They may look like one, but it doesn’t have relations to a real person. These are essentially email honeypots designed to identify and collect spam emails. These emails cannot be used for communication purposes.

That is why spam tarps are never published or advertised online. It is to ensure that users do not get affected by the trap. To bait the spammers, these traps are set throughout the web. The spammers opt for efficient web crawlers to collect email addresses.

While the spam traps were designed to trap spammers, they can affect legit marketers too. That is because the permission-based system also flags and prevents senders with poor data hygiene or out-of-date subscriber lists.

2] Types of Spam Trap?

There are different types of spam traps. Take a look at them listed –

Recycled Spam Traps

Recycled spam traps are email addresses that are no longer in use. It means that once these were actively used but are now leveraged as spam traps. For example, companies can use email ids of former employees to set baits for scammers.

Pure Spam Traps

Pure spam traps or pristine spam traps are email addresses used by DNSBLs or ISPs. These are not linked to a real person. They have no other role than to act as a spam trap. When scammers crawl the site for email addresses, they usually get these spam traps. It has the potential to damage the reputation of the sender.

Typo Spam Traps

These spam traps have legitimate appearances. The main difference from a recycled spam trap is that the email address contains typos, even though they are quite subtle. For example – using @gmil in place of @gmail. However, the best aspect is that it doesn’t affect the sender’s reputation.

Purchased Emailing List

A purchased email list is one of the most common spam traps that often bait scammers and marketers alike. The list is set up with seeded and harvested email addresses.

3] Who Creates Spam Trap?

Spam traps are generally created and maintained by different anti-spam agencies, ISPs or Internet Service Providers, and DNSBLs.

ISPs include Yahoo, Gmail, and other popular email service providers. These companies have multiple filters

+based on which the spam email addresses are identified and blocked. If you hit this trap, it could permanently blacklist the sending IP address and domain. That will ultimately affect your email marketing efforts.

DNSBL or domain blacklisting services have ownership over 92% of various spam traps. These are spread across different locations to bait and catch malicious spammers.

4] How Will It Affect You?

The effect of a spam trap on your business can vary immensely based on different factors. For instance, you need to consider the type of spam traps, the frequency of spam trap hits, etc.

The most devastating consequence is the hit to the sender’s reputation. It will lead to an increase in bounce rates. Ultimately, it will impact the deliverability rate significantly. You can expect more damage if you get spam trapped by prominent companies. For instance, companies will use the information available to filter or assess incoming emails.

Another significant effect is the blacklisting of the IP addresses. That leads to a decrease in the deliverability of the company and its customers. However, if you fall into the trap of ISPs, you can face major consequences. One of them is the permanent blacklisting of the sending domain.

5] How to Prevent Spam Trap from Entering the Email List?

There are different ways to prevent spam traps from entering the email list. The primary cause is disappointing email list management. That is why you must adopt best practices for maintaining the contact list. Here are some ways –

Contamination in the Email List

The addition of a spam trap, accidental or intentional, can contaminate the hard-earned email list. It can cause a lot of headaches later on. That is why you need to work actively to eliminate this contamination.

The best solution is to re-check the spelling of the email ids. If you observe obvious typos, get rid of those email addresses immediately. You can also set up email validation within the signup forms. That way, you can check out an email address’s validity or the legit factor.

Email Lists Bought From Unknown Sources

You must know that an email marketer’s worst nightmare and easy success formula is a purchased email list. It means you can easily access a list, but the method is neither hygienic nor ethical.

The nightmare starts when you fall into the spam trap. Apart from that, you will annoy the subscribers since they have never opted for your emails in the first place. The damage to your company’s reputation can be disastrous.

Outdated Email List

Another way to prevent spam traps is to update the email list and clean them regularly. Select the subscribers who do not engage or are not active and remove them from the list. Most spam traps are valid email addresses that are no longer in use.

6] What Happens if Spam Trap Is on Your List?

You must opt for deep cleaning if you have a spam trap on the email list. For this, you need to take active steps. You need to eliminate contacts or subscribers who have not engaged for six months. In extreme cases, you can even limit it to three months.

You can opt for list segmentation if that doesn’t have the desired effect. You must recognize the clean list from the spam trap lists. It will aid in narrowing the location of the possible spam trap. You can also get rid of purchased email lists.

However, you can also opt for professional assistance. That way, you don’t have to worry about spam traps and how to get rid of them yourself.


Internet service providers and DNSBLs often use spam traps to bait and trap potential scammers. Though it prevents scammers from wreaking havoc, it can also cause damage to your email marketing business. If you are not careful, you can get blacklisted or, worse, take a hit on your business reputation.

That is why it is vital to identify spam traps and know more about them. You also must have an in-depth idea of how to avoid these spam traps. That is the only way to proceed with email marketing and flourish!

What Are the Common Reasons to Fall Into the Spam Traps?

There are various reasons to fall into spam traps. These include poorly maintained subscribers’ hygiene, collecting email addresses at offline events, using a single opt-in, etc. Another crucial reason to get you in this trouble is purchasing email lists. That is never a good idea and is usually an unethical one!

How Does Spam Trap Work?

A spam trap uses filters to prevent specific email addresses from reaching the user’s inbox. It is usually targeted at emails with a bad reputation or a history of spamming inboxes. The spam trap assesses the various components of the email address. After that, it decides if the address is a spam one or not.

What are Recycled Spam Traps?

Recycled spam traps are old email ids that are not active anymore. It means that these email addresses have been abandoned for a prolonged period. In that case, the provider uses the email address to set a trap to scammers and block their advances.

Does Gmail use Spam Traps?

Gmail uses multiple AI-based spam filters to remove email messages considered spam to the users’ spam folders. The filters consider many factors to determine whether the email is spam.

Yogesh Mankani
Yogesh Mankani has been a freelance content writer for the last ten years. His passion for blogging and giving words to his ideas and thoughts make him fall more in love with his profession, which he takes very personally.


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