Spam traps serve as tools for Inbox Service Providers (ISPs), spam filters and other blocklisting services to assess the quality of a senders’ list management and hygiene. This article is about how to avoid spam traps.

Spam traps consist of email addresses that appear genuine but don’t correspond to active recipients. There are different types of spam traps that all highlight a lack of proper list management of various degree:

  • Pure or Pristine: These addresses are created by the ISPs and spam filter services to identify spammers. The addresses can only be obtained by scraping them from websites or through lists purchased from third party. If your contact database consists of only properly opted-in addresses, you won’t encounter pure or pristine spam traps.
  • Recycled: These were previously active addresses but have been repurposed as spam traps due to low or no user activity.
  • Typo: These addresses involve slight misspellings of email domains, like “” or “”.

Some argue that it’s crucial to avoid “Pure or Pristine” while having a few “Recycled” and “Typos” should be perfectly fine. In many cases, that is true as “Pure and Pristine” traps raise concerns with ISPs, while a limited number of “Recycled” and “Typos” may be overlooked by the larger ISPs. That said, we strongly recommend keeping a good list hygiene to minimize the presence of spam traps in your lists.

How to avoid spam traps

Spam traps are hard to avoid all together, as different customer segments show different levels of digital presence. An effective way to stay out of spam traps is to implement a solid opt-in process, preferably with double opt-in. This will pretty much eliminate the risk of spam trap addresses infiltrating your list through the opt-ins. Also, it goes without saying that you should never purchase email lists.

In the day-to-day work, understanding recipient activity levels and using that understanding to maintain proper list hygiene will help filter out recycled spam traps.

And of course, as a general reminder: never send emails to individuals who have not explicitly consented to receive such communication.

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