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Improve Email Deliverability - Tactics for Avoiding Spam Traps
 

Improve Email Deliverability - Tactics for Avoiding Spam Traps

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Spam traps are silent killers in your email list and can literally destroy your email reputation and deliverability overnight. This webinar is a must if you rely on email to reach your customers.

Spam traps are silent killers in your email list and can literally destroy your email reputation and deliverability overnight. This webinar is a must if you rely on email to reach your customers.

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  • During the holidays senders are revenue driven. This means senders often:Mail deeper into their filesMail more frequentlyUsing affiliate partners moreThis can result in spam trap hits which could be extremely costly. Today, we will discuss measures to implement before hitting spam traps and ideas to isolate existing ones.
  • Spam traps are email addresses activated for the sole purpose of catching illegitimate email and identifying senders with poor data quality practices. These “traps” cannot and do not subscribe to email communications so any emails received at these addresses are unsolicited and therefore spam.
  • MBPs and anti-spam organizations create and manage spam trap networks and use spam traps that come in two varieties:Recycled email addressesReactivate an expired or inactive email account. These addresses frequently trap legitimate marketers with weak data quality practices.Pristine/Honey Pot/True Spam TrapCreate a brand new email address, never used by any consumer. These addresses generally trap the worst spammers who engage in “harvesting” and other illegal practices.
  • The first rule of spamtraps is "don't talk about your spamtraps.“It's not in the interest of a spamtrap owner to share details with a sender; it makes the trap too easy to game and then it's no longer effective as a trap.
  • Mailbox Providers will lower your sending reputationMailing IPs and/or domains may become blacklistedMembership in the Return Path Certification Program may be suspended for exceeding the acceptable thresholds defined within the compliance standardsMail delivery may be impacted – Blocked, throttled or quarantinedOpen/clicks/purchases suffer
  • How are spam traps distributed? Once a spam trap is created it is deposited on web forums,online groups or a location hidden from view where bots and spiders are combing through looking for viable email addresses When the properties of an email address are identified (@) and (.com) the bot or spider grabs the address The trap is set and it is not long from there that the address can spread to legitimate senders
  • Most senders aren’t buying lists or practicing email harvesting themselvesSenders are doing legitimate but risky acquisition or maintenance practices
  • Reputation MonitorReputation data by IPBlacklistsSNDSCertification dataInbox PreviewLink ReputationSpam Filter CheckInbox MonitorDiagnostics
  • Spam trap emails can be hard to find within your database as many may actually look like valid email addresses.Just a few spam trap hits can get you blacklisted or blocked so it is import to act immediately on the first instance
  • -Welcome message on dedicated IP/domainPROS:Distinguish from new to file addresses from existing addressesPrevent spam traps from spreadingIsolate new hits, quarantine and get to the source of the addressCONS:Welcome message reputation will be bad Add to address book feature will need to be done on other mailingsIf welcome message is important, this may not be possibleReminder/Welcome SeriesDifferent IPLoad balanced with other transactional mailHigh risk practices on dedicated IPsAffiliate partnersImport Address Book and Forward to a Friend Mail streamFrequencyTypeActivityIsolation When isolating existing spam traps, you will need dedicated IPs to mail segments on
  • Welcome message off dedicated IPIndicates NTF – Never existedNo need dig into database to find needle in the haystackDetermine date of hitQuarantine and suppress all signups that dayUse dedicated IP to mail to smaller segmentsGroup by data sourceGroup by breaking into small segmentsRefer to other IP trap hits if the spam trap was not caught for a couple days, cross reference data
  • Identify date traps began, follow prior process.Cannot identify date traps began, a different approach is neededDetermine the best way to slice the data:By sourceBy engagement levelBy paid vs trial; purchase vs non purchaseMail segments on dedicated IP, monitor for trap hitsMail only one segment per dayCreate a two-day buffer between mailings to account for any time delaysLaborious process as you have millions of records to sort throughDemonstrates the real benefit to a dedicated IP for the welcome message
  • - What are x-headers? - Headers that are added into the message in addition to the usual headers like To, From, Subject, etc. - Traditionally started with “X-” to designate an extension. - Helpful in pulling reports by campaign, user, or other criteria Some examples: - X-Source can be used to monitor and understand risk levels associated with certain acquisition sources as well as narrow down a more specific segment in case of trap hits or blacklisting - X-Activity can be used track engagement levels for your subscribers so you can be empowered to approach the segments differently as well as narrow down a more specific segment in case of trap hits or blacklisting
  • To what does this apply? Subscriptions from third party partners, affiliates, or list services may hold more risk because you are relying on your partner to be following best practices.- The following are some steps you can take to minimize risk to your master list: - Test a sample of the file from a separate IP space and monitor spam trap rates before adding the file to your database. - Review the partner data file to ensure that you are not receiving malformed addresses or role account addresses. - Mail partners from separate IP space to monitor their on-going data quality and spam trap rates. Should trap hits, filtering or blacklisting occur this strategy is also helpful in narrowing down where that trap could be. - Regularly audit your partner’s sign-up process to ensure it complies with industry best practices for data collection.
  • Address validation Prompt customer to re-enter address for further verificationCaptchaPurely javascript forms are less susceptible to bots.Alternatives: Logical or Semantic PuzzlesNon-linguistic Visual TestsHidden fieldPrevent susceptibility to bots.
  • POSRepeat email address to customer and show them the screen.Quick Response (QR) codes increase accuracy
  • Track data at signup: Cookies IP Address IP Region # of signups Addresses created Hidden field is populatedMX record checkDead domainAlert/Block on: IP Address limits Excessive signups by an IP address Suspicious IP spaces (Nigerian)Watch for bot activity, dictionary attacks, etcQuery for: Addresses that click all links in an email No opens/clicks Suspicious behavior
  • Considered best practice by anti-spam advocatesLeads to very high engagement levelsAfter sign-up, the subscriber should check their inbox and click link within your email to affirm their subscription. If they don't click this link, they would not be added to your list.Hard for senders to implementKey practice for business models in which customers have higher tendency to enter fake accounts.Use a confirmed or double optin process to validate newly acquired email addresses before adding them to your file.Affiliateimport address booksweepstakes
  • There are a few things to be thinking about when looking at bounce codes:Blocks or blacklisting indicating a spam trap issueUnknown User codesUnknown user, invalid address, unknown user/addressRecycled spam trapsIn approximately 6-12 months, the MBP may recycle this address into a spam trap and stop sending unknown user error codesPrimed/Conditioned Pristine Spam TrapWhen newly created, the spam trap owner will send an unknown user bounce code for 6-12 monthsSPAM COP BLOGImplement consecutive soft bounce rules
  • Suspicious Domains (reject at signup/before deployment)Lack of MX RecordBe suspicious of simple addresses (i.e. mail@mail.com)Share data with partners and other brands
  • Establish a process for identifying inactive subscribersMonitor and adjust mailing based on activityConsider tactics like retention and win-back
  • Our List Quality Report Card provides an in-depth evaluation of your list acquisition,list quality and list hygiene practices and identifies problems that could be affectinginbox placement and response performance. Our List Quality Report Card provides an analysis and list of actionablerecommendations for the following areas:Inbox Placement and Reputation IndicatorsList Acquisition PracticesList Quality PracticesList Hygiene Practices