The term”trap” is quite appropriate, in that these addresses are out there to catch people either not using proper list building practices, people harvesting emails, purchasing lists from a 3rd party, or marketers who have very bad list hygiene (whether knowingly or not*).
The 1st type are used by ISPs and are usually addresses that have been dormant for a long time period and this can vary anywhere from several years to as little as 6 months.
These addresses could have returned a tricky bounce during this time but now no longer receive email, other than to capture this sort of activity.
Generally these addresses won’t lead to a blacklisting because they may in fact have opted to your list sooner or later, but sending too many to a particular ISP can severely damage your reputation. It’s basically telling the receiver that your list is very old and/or you are not eliminating hard bounces properly.
When switching providers, it is paramount you make sure that the data you’re putting into the new system is as clean as you can.
You need to know exactly how your supplier is managing your hard bounces.
I’ve seen this happen many times, where a business that has been sending for years to a fresh list changes suppliers and for whatever reason, the hard rebounds get uploaded again as’accessible’ — which is obviously extremely bad and opens the flood gates for traps.
Have they been removing them or just’labelling’ them (which would mean they’re still in the list on export)? Some providers can also assign a numerical value to an email address status, which only their system can recognise so you want to be very careful not to import these into the new system.
The 2nd kind of trap is the worst and the very damaging. These are addresses that exist for the sole purpose of getting your IP(s) and/or Domain Names.
These trap addresses are kept secret to protect their individuality and are released to no one. Why? Well making them public would render them rather useless if you think about it.
They are used by Blacklists to catch people harvesting email addresses off the internet or individuals purchasing lists from a 3rd party. People who have been blacklisted saw a substantial reduction in their delivery rate and it severely damaged their standing.
Bye for now,
Kevin Huxham, Director of Deliverability
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