Problematic Email Addresses: What To Avoid When Importing Part 2


Back in October, I posted about some types of problematic email addresses and why they are cause for concern. Today, I will be covering a few more types of addresses that I didn’t get to discuss previous: dead domain addresses and spamtraps.


About Dead Domains:


Email has been around for a long time. In fact, it’s generally accepted that the first email was sent back in 1971, although, it didn’t really become widely used by the general public until the early to mid 90s. Since that time, many email domains have become obsolete. Remember those CDs you used to get in the mail or those prehistoric websites you visited back in the days of dial-up? There’s a good chance several of those domains are no longer in use.


Once a domain shuts down, any email address with that domain becomes invalid and will start bouncing. Within Constant Contact, bounces are easy to manage; however generating too many bounces can affect sending reputation. Moreover, once an address bounces long enough it can become a spamtrap.


About Spamtraps:


Spamtraps (sometimes known as honeypot addresses) are email addresses often utilized by blocklists and security companies/individuals that are used for the sole purpose of catching unsolicited mail. There are several types of spamtraps:


  • Pristine Spamtraps- These are addresses that are created solely to catch spam. These are never used to sign up for a list or as a personal address. Often they are placed strategically on the Internet in places where people try to scrape or otherwise obtain email addresses. There is no scenario where this type of email address would be on a permission-based list.
  • Recycled Email Addresses- When an email address or domain has been out of use for a long time, it can be repurposed into a spamtrap. Presence of these on your contact list doesn’t necessarily mean that the list is non-permission based; it could be that it’s an older list in need of an update.
  • Typos/Misspelt domains- These are a bit trickier because there are times where a typo is an honest mistake, but could also result in accidentally mailing to a spamtrap. Some blocklists have created spamtraps from misspellings of major domains. These may look like “” instead of “”, or “” instead of “”.


Risks of Mailing to These Addresses:


The main reason that these addresses are cause for concern is the consequence that can occur when they are mailed to. Constant Contact runs the risk of having one or more of our sending IPs blocked, affecting delivery for all of our customers. Even more worrisome, it’s possible for the sender’s own domain to experience reputation issues, which could affect it’s ability to send mail even outside Constant Contact.


How Can I Avoid These Addresses?


Spamtraps and dead domains can be scary because they usually look just like regular email addresses. Additionally, they need to remain undisclosed in order to be useful, so there is no good way to check an existing list for them. As long as you follow Constant Contact’s Terms and Conditions and Anti-Spam Policy, you should be just fine, but here are some best practices to follow:


  • Avoid purchased lists. These are a violation of our terms and conditions anyways, and are notorious for containing problematic addresses.
  • Avoid older contact lists. If you have a contact list that has been laying around for years that has not been mailed to then chances are the risks of mailing to it outweigh the reward, regardless of how it was collected.
  • Keep lists up to date. Be sure to properly manage your bounces to ensure that you are removing invalid email addresses.
  • Focus on engaged contacts. If contacts aren’t opening your email, they aren’t doing you any good. Be wary of hanging on to disengaged contacts for too long.
  • Consider using confirmed opt-in. This is a setting that can be turned on within your account and is a great tool for verifying that an email address is valid and that the subscriber truly wants to receive your mail.

For more recommendations, Constant Contact has a knowledge base on Collecting quality email addresses.


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