Sometimes, our system will flag an audience for spam traps, which are invalid email addresses designed to identify abuse. These addresses negatively affect your sending reputation, as well as Mailchimp’s. Even well-intentioned senders can encounter spam traps, so it’s important to guard yourself against them with healthy audience management practices.
In this article, you'll learn about spam traps.
What are spam traps?
Spam traps are email addresses used by ISPs, anti-spam organizations, and other groups as a way to find people who send emails to out-of-date contacts or contacts they don't have permission to send to. Spam traps look just like normal email addresses and are often created from old email accounts that are no longer used by their original owners.
New spam traps are created all the time, but since there's no real human on the other end, these addresses don't sign up for email marketing or result in any opens and clicks if you send to them.
How do spamtraps get in an audience?
Spam traps are often recycled from inactive addresses, which could already be in your audience. When an audience isn't actively managed, these unengaged, stale addresses may become spam traps.
Why is this a problem?
ISPs don't typically give advance warnings when there's a spam trap issue. Instead, they may denylist (other providers may refer to it as "blacklist") your sending domain along with other sending IPs in Mailchimp, which is a big deal. A block to our sending IPs affects delivery for all Mailchimp users, and that's why we have to guard against spam traps so carefully.
Unfortunately, ISPs and anti-spam organizations who run spam traps don't provide which addresses they use, since sharing these addresses would defeat the purpose of the spam trap. As a result, our Support team can't find, provide, or block these addresses for you.
What can I do?
If you have an issue with spam traps, there are two possible ways to address it: identify and archive inactive contacts, or focus on improving your overall audience management practices.
Archive inactive addresses
Spam traps don’t interact with your campaigns, so one effective way to maintain the health of your audience is to archive inactive contacts. This process also keeps your audience cost-effective, by removing the "dead weight" of unengaged (and unprofitable) recipients.
Improve overall audience management
You’ll be more likely to prevent spam traps from joining your audience if you avoid purchased lists, enable double opt-in and reCAPTCHA on your forms, and follow other best practices for audience compliance. Better audience management also helps reduce your bounce rate, abuse complaints, and unsubscribes.
Have a question?
Paid users can log in to access email and chat support.