Blackbaud receives notifications when clients send any email campaign to a Spam Trap. These are serious events because sending to Spam Traps will result in your account being listed in Public Block lists that impact email delivery performance for subsequent email campaigns sent from Luminate Online and any other systems being used by a client to deliver messages. Spam traps are often used by spam list providers (Spamhaus and Spamcop for example) and are shared across Email Service Providers.
There are two types of spam traps - dedicated and recycled.
- A dedicated spam trap is an email address specifically created and used only for the purpose of receiving emails that identify senders who send unsolicited emails and purchase list data. There is no real person behind these email addresses so there will not be any activity or interactions from them in your Luminate Online system.
- A recycled spam trap is an inactive email address that has been re-purposed by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to receive email to help identify senders who send unsolicited emails. There may have been a real person behind these email address in years past, however these email addresses were deactivated by the user or designated stale because no activity has occurred for a long time. In some cases unused emails only 6 months stale are reused as spam trap emails.
The only method for clients to combat spam traps is to maintain a house file of opted-in addresses only, and ensure email delivery is to engaged constituents and not stale addresses. Clients who purchase list data and elect to leverage for email will find these lists typically contain a high volume of spam trap email records. If an email list must be used, outside data should be vetted with the following key questions prior to importing to the system:
- Where were these email addresses sourced from? Is it a reputable source?
- Have these email addresses been emailed to before, and when? Based on the age of email addresses, they may no longer be valid.
- Did the email address owners explicitly opt in to receive email from YOUR organization (not another organization on your behalf)?
Resolving Spam Traps
You'll need to filter out any potentially bad records from your active email recipients. If you've been provided a sample address that represents a user that complained or a spam trap address, the next step for you is to determine the origin of the record. Once you've identified that source, you'll need to question other records that may have originated from that source. There's likely other compromising email data you've acquired. Blackbaud support can assist in locating the source of the records, and may be able to provide the source in the initial case.
You will be required to confirm which users explicitly agreed to be mailed to from the recognized sources in the investigation. This is a requirement of the Acceptable Use Policy and should have been done before the user's record was added and marked to be mailed to.
This is also a point where you should email your constituency to verify opt in. You can do so by sending an email with a message to verify engagement. This message can include a link that says “Please click here to verify that you would like to continue receiving communication from our organization.” Once this email is sent, a click-through report will tell you which recipients are engaged. Now that a sign of engagement has been recorded in their record, engagement factors can be used to retain them in your email list, or if they did not engage in the email, they can be removed from your email list. How to identify and clean my housefile of disengaged constituents