The DMA and EEC hosted a webinar today discussing spam traps. Overall, I thought it was pretty good and the information given out was valuable for marketers.
My one big complaint is that they claimed there were only two kinds of spam traps, and then incorrectly defined one of those types. They split spam traps into “pristine” and “recycled.” Pristine traps were defined as addresses that never belonged to a user, but were seeded out on the internet to catch people harvesting addresses off websites.
While dropping addresses on websites is one way people create spam traps, there are uncounted numbers of traps that receive spam (even from some big name brands) that have never been published anywhere. One very common source of trap addresses is Usenet message IDs. I don’t think anyone can really say these were seeded in an effort to catch people harvesting, they were part of posting to Usenet. Another common source of trap addresses is spammers creating email addresses; they take the left hand side of every address on a list and pair that with all the unique right hand sides of the same list. Massive list growth with a chance that some of those addresses will be valid.
I’ve talked about different kinds of spamtraps in depth previously and how the different traps are used in different ways. I also talked about how those different types of traps tell the recipients different things.
Another critical thing to remember about traps is they are not the problem. Spamtrap hits are a symptom of a larger problem with your list acquisition process. Every spam trap on your list is a failure to actually connect with a recipient. If you’re using an opt-in method to collect addresses traps mean that either a user didn’t really want to opt in or you managed to not accurately collect their information.
One of the things I get frustrated with when dealing with potential customers is their laser like focus on “getting the traps off our list.” I really believe that is not the right approach. Just getting the traps off is not going to do anything to improve your delivery over the long term. Instead of focusing on the traps, focus on the reasons they’re there. Look at how you can improve your processes and address collection so that you actually get the correct addresses of the people who really do want that mail.
Other posts about spam traps