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What are spam traps and why should I avoid them?

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    Mailgun Optimize's Spam Trap Monitoring is a useful tool for monitoring your sending traffic and list hygiene, but what are spam traps, what are the types of spam traps, and what should you do if you find yourself sending to spam traps?


    What are spam traps?

    Spam traps are honeypot email addresses designed to receive spam, while receiving little to no legitimate email. They are often used to drive blocklistings and can negatively impact your reputation if you send to them. Since these addresses aren’t used by individuals to receive email, they will never sign up for email or engage with your emails. Opens may be accidentally triggered but clicks should never be triggered on spam trap email addresses.


    Why should I avoid sending to spam traps?

    If you send to spam traps in high enough volume, you risk being blocklisted and/or negatively impacting your reputation at major providers. Your emails may end up in the spam folder or blocked entirely. Additionally, any emails you send to spam traps are wasted - they may be delivered, but they will not be read or engaged with by customers.

    Most of the Mailgun Optimize spam trap network is used exclusively for our spam trap monitoring service and will not impact your deliverability. However, we do have partnerships with spam trap providers that may impact your deliverability if sent to in high enough volumes. It is in your best interest to limit the number of traps you may be sending to.


    Types of spam traps


    Typo spam traps target common misspellings of popular domain names. An address is likely a typo spam trap if it contains a misspelling of Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, or any other well known provider.

    These are the least serious type of spam trap and will usually account for the most traffic. To clean these addresses from your list, we recommend using the Mailgun validation service. Mailgun validations will identify common domain typos with the “did_you_mean” field.



    Recycled spam traps are email addresses that were once used to receive legitimate mail but no longer do so. These are the second most common type of spam traps.

    Sending to a large number of recycled spam traps may indicate a need to monitor user engagement more closely.



    Pristine spam traps are email addresses that were created for the sole purpose of receiving spam. These addresses have never signed up for any email. These are the least common type of spam trap and should be sent to in the lowest volume possible.


    What steps can I take to resolve issues with spam traps?

    If you find yourself sending to spam traps in high volumes, we recommend a few actions to get your sending practices under control:

    1. Validate your contact list. Mailgun Validate identifies typos and other suspicious addresses in your contact list, but it also goes a step further. Alongside these checks, Email Validations can identify other non-spam trap related indicators like undeliverable addresses and disposable domains.
    2. Implement double opt-in for all new email addresses. A double opt-in process will stop new spam traps from being added to your contact list and increase engagement by requiring a click from each recipient.
    3. Validate addresses at the point of ingestion with Mailgun Optimize's Single Validation API. Validating addresses on your sign up form will allow customers to correct mistakes or provide an alternate email when they receive a negative validation result. This practice will also keep your contact list clean as each new address that is added has already been validated.
    4. Monitor engagement of all contacts. Recipients that never engage with your emails could be spam trap addresses. Since opens can be triggered by recipients on accident, we recommend paying closer attention to your click and click-through rate.
    5. Consult with an expert. If you still need help with your sending practices, we recommend Mailgun’s Deliverability Services. With a dedicated Technical Account Manager, an industry expert will guide you in building out your email program with deliverability and list hygiene in mind.


    Need Support?

    Our Support Team here at Sinch Mailgun is happy to help! Reach out to us in the Support section of your Mailgun Control Panel, and we'll be with you shortly!