Spam traps are email addresses that are used to expose illegitimate senders who either purchase data or harvest data by adding email addresses to their list without permission. They are also used to identify marketers with poor opt in management.
Sending to a Spamtrap can really damage your reputation as a send as well as causing a blacklisting on your IP address which will also seriously affect your deliverability. If the spam trap is owned by an ISP like Hotmail or AOL, they could permanently blacklist your domain from delivering mailings to their customers. This could seriously hinder your email marketing efforts.
One thing to remember is that even the best of email marketers can be caught by spam traps. If you do hit a spam trap it may be a good indicator that it is time to clean your data or revise your list growing methods.
The reason this can happen to the best of us is because there are more than one type of Spamtrap.
There are recycled Spamtraps and pristine Spamtraps. A recycled Spamtrap can be hit even if the email address was originally gained legitimately with permission. They are very old addresses that are no longer used by the creator. The address is abandoned for so long that the provider has reused it to catch out and block emails from sender who do not manage their email marketing responsibly.
A pristine Spamtrap are an email address that’s sole purpose was to be a Spamtrap. This email address has not had another purpose before. The only way an pristine Spamtrap could end up in your list is if the address was obtained without permission. They are solely there to catch out spammers who purchase and harvest data.