Zombies are real but less of a problem
A few years ago I wrote a series of blog posts about zombie email addresses. Zombie addresses are those that someone owned and used and interacted with, but for whatever reason stopped logging into and checking. This series started with the time before the zombies, and moved on to the zombie uprising. Then discussed how they don’t eat brains, but they do love to take a bite out of deliverability. Smart marketers, however, can defeat zombies by the judicious application of the double tap.
Since that series of blog posts a few things have changed. The biggest thing is that the webmail providers are being much more aggressive about disabling email reception at addresses where folks don’t log in. I have a few addresses on different providers I use for testing purposes. I have to remember, though, that I need to log into them before sending test messages. If I don’t, they generally bounce.
This doesn’t completely remove the challenge of zombie addresses but it does make it easier for regular senders to purge their lists of zombies just through their normal bounce handling. No double-taps needed.