What are Spamtraps?

Submitted by msharpocta on Wed, 12/14/2022 - 00:18

Spam Traps: What they are and How to Avoid 

Spam traps are used to pick out and scan email spam folders. The anti-spam companies, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and corporations use spam traps to attract spammers.

But why should you care? You are not a spammer! Unfortunately, even well-known senders can end up in a spam trap on their contact list. Spam traps can result in your IP address or even your domain being rejected in the list, affecting your sending reputation and email deliverability.

You may not be a spammer, but you need to know what spam traps are and how they are used to prevent them from being listed on your lists.

Types of spam traps

Pristine spam trap

These traps are email addresses developed by ISPs and other spam companies. These email addresses are never used by a sender before. So how do they end up in contact lists?

The email addresses are embedded in websites. So when spammers browse websites to expand their desired list, the spam traps end up in their list. Pristine spam traps are also found on purchased or rented lists.

When an ISP sees someone sending to a new spam trap, it's a telltale sign that that sender is using suspicious contact-gathering methods.

While all spam traps negatively affect your Reputation as a sender, the new spam trap is the most serious. If you land this type of spam trap in your detailed contact list, your IP address or domain list is more likely to be rejected.

Recycled spam trap

Recycled spam traps are domain-registered or email addresses that are valid but have been reallocated to catch spam. A few basic examples are addresses (sales@, info@, support@) or email addresses of your employees who are no longer with the company. The recycled spam trap is generally less harmful than the original. However, it will still damage your sender reputation over time.

Email with typos

Even emails with frequent typing errors, e.g. B. nail instead of Gmail or yahoo instead of yahoo, can be used as spam traps. This could be an unintentional mistake by the person signing up, but it can still create a spam trap. So keep your eye on emails with domains that are misspelt. 

Again, spam trap results are generally less severe than spotless spam traps. However, failing to regularly clean up their contact list will portray the sender as negligent. In addition, it may damage their reputation as a sender.

How do you prevent a spam trap from entering your contact list?

There are some ways through which spam traps can end in your list, but all of them are generally caused by poor email list management and maintenance. Spam traps are normally prevented by maintaining a strong contact list and following email best practices.

Purchased lists

Avoid bought lists; this is bad news! This includes contacts who have yet to opt-in to receive communications from your company. Using a purchased list almost guarantees that you will fall into a spam trap, not to refer that the subscribers on those purchased lists are likely to have disloyalty to your brand and are likely to mark the email or the email as spam will be deleted. All of these behaviours hurt your Reputation as a sender.

List contamination

List contamination occurs when an actual spam trap email address has been intentionally or accidentally added to an unverified list. To avoid contaminating the list, double-check the spelling of the email addresses on your list. In addition, integrate email confirmation into your signup forms to computer check the legitimacy of an email address and avoid typos.

You can also include a double opt-in for all your subscribers. This allows recipients to verify their email addresses before you start sending your content. Double opt-in:

  • Double checks if your recipients want your emails. 
  • Verifies that only legitimate senders are on your list. 

For more contact list best practices, check out our guide on how to grow your email marketing list.

Outdated emails

Another important strategy to avoid spam traps is to keep your list of subscribers who regularly engage with your content up to date. As mentioned earlier, spam traps sometimes come from old-time email addresses that are no longer valid. Not sending an email to an address for a long time can land you in a spam trap, as can sending it to an email address that has yet to open your email for several months.

To avoid spam traps, regularly clean your list.

Send re-engagement campaigns to subscribers who last engaged with your material in the last few months. Remove subscribers who don't respond to the re-contract campaigns to pick up any contacts that can be spamtraps.

How do you know if there's a spam trap in your list?

If your IP address or domain was rejected, you might have a spam trap in your list. (Not sure if you've been disapproved from a list? Learn about disapproval lists and how to determine if you've been added to a list.)

Keep an eye on your deliverability rates to ensure your lists are safe from a spam trap. If you see your deliverability rates steadily dropping (or tanking!), chances are you have one on your list.

For a more knowledgeable look at the spam traps in your contact list, you can utilize things like 250ok Reputation to see how many and what types of spam traps are hitting your list.

How do I remove a spam trap?

If you think you have a spam trap, it's time to deep clean. First, remove contacts who last interacted with your list 6 months ago. (Still not working? Limit the window to 3 months.)

If you still need help cleaning up your list, try to remove spam traps through list segmentation. First, identify clean list segments, free from potential spam traps, and distinguish them from the rest of your list. Then, keep narrowing down the segments until you find the spam trap.

For professional help removing a spam trap, use our expert services. Navigating the email landscape is difficult, and you will know the ins and outs of ISPs, spam traps, and opt-out lists like the back of your hand.


remember that the motive of spam traps is to catch spammers. So if you are anxious about spam traps, know that the best way to identify them is to act like a spammer. This means:

  • Don't buy lists. Always.
  • Regularly clean up your list of typos and outdated emails. 
  • Use a double opt-in to confirm your customers are legal senders.

Maintain your strong contact list and follow email best practices, and you should be fine. For even more tips on avoiding spam traps and staying out of the spam folder, read our free guidelines, Tips and tricks to avoid the spam folder.