Spam Traps & Honeypot Addresses

What are these & how does it affect me?

To protect users from receiving spam, email providers such as Hotmail & Internet Service Providers create spam traps (also known as Honeypot addresses).

When a user’s ID or email address expires or is de-activated Hotmail often uses these by placing them on known lists that are sold to companies by not-so-honest list brokers.  Hotmail & Internet Service Providers also create Honeypot addresses (email accounts specially used to monitor spam) to also place on these lists.  When emails are sent to these addresses, the sender’s IP address & often the server the IP originates from is blacklisted (also known as blocked or banned) from sending emails to all users on their service.

How to prevent this from happening

  • Start by confirming new users are real by using the Double-opt in service, which is where once a user clicks on subscribe, an email is sent that they must reply to in order to be added to your active contact list.
  • Be careful & consider avoiding using third party mailing lists.
  • Make sure that you check all bounced emails & clear these from all future lists.  Most online newsletter software can be set up to do this automatically, but make it a regular to-do to check this is working effectively.
  • Don’t authorise users that have not activated their account by replying to the automatic email.  A lot of honeypot addresses now look real, so it’s not easy to work out which ones are fake.
  • Confirm that your supplier or server company is a “Junk email reporting program partner” & has strict guidelines for all newsletters being sent out by their servers as you may be blacklisted through no fault of your own.  Ask the questions, your server supplier will appreciate that you care.

Know the anti-spam laws

In Australia, go to ACMA – Online Safety & Security site

Click here for the Practical spam guide for businesses

For a full list of Anti-spam Acts for each county, go to Wikipedia

To find out more about preventing being tagged as a spammer, click here to read more