Category Archives: Product Features

email spam traps

An Introductory Guide to Spam Traps

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability, Product Features, Tips and Resources | No Comments

What Are Spam Traps?

Spam traps are used by blacklist and inbox providers to detect and catch malicious email senders. It is common for legitimate senders to find themselves becoming a victim of spam traps unclean email data, inappropriate subject lines and poor practices for email list acquisition.

Spam traps will look like an authentic email address – the catch is that they don’t belong to any real person and are not used for any communication by the company or inbox provider. The sole purpose of spam trap email addresses is to identify spammers and faulty senders and remove them from the ability to reach their user base with unwanted information.

 

Why Spam Traps are Important to Email Marketers

As an email marketer, you might already be sending emails to spam traps without knowing it is happening. Having even a single spam trap in your mailing list could mean hazardous dents to your ability to reach your subscribers.

Sending emails to spam traps typically indicates that you’re indulged in bad practices to collect email addresses or haven’t managed to keep your list clean.  Either effort could land you on the wrong side of email providers, greatly impacting your ability to continue to send and reach your target users.

 

Types of Spam Traps

To get an understanding of how spam traps end up in your mailing list, it’s important to understand the different types that are out there:

  • Pristine Traps – These are email addresses published on public websites that are hidden to a normal user. Only people using bad collection processes will find and send to these addresses. So if you collected your email addresses by scrapping from web pages, chances are you may have picked up by a pristine spam trap.
  • Recycled Traps – These email addresses were once used by real people, but became abandoned and got converted into a trap by their inbox provider.

 

How to Identify a Spam Trap

It is extremely hard to spot a spam trap email address because they don’t look different from any regular email addresses. However, there are many useful tools designed to help you evaluate the sender’s reputation and identify any emails that may be sending emails to spam traps. One such tool is the Microsoft Smart Data Network Service (SNDS).

 

Avoid an Email Spam Trap

Spam traps are structured to identify senders with irresponsible list building behaviors. One sure fire way of getting this fixed is to have a thorough audit of your own email list quality, and then evaluate it on a consistent basis.

Since spam traps do not belong to real people and provide no level of engagement with your emails such as clicks and/or opens. Getting rid of inactive subscribers would help you get rid of such spam traps as well. One quick way to garner engagement of active users and identify inactive users or potential spam emails is to run a campaign reconfirming user interests.

However, this is just one part of the entire picture – the most important part is reevaluating your strategies of email list acquisition to ensure only genuine, healthy email addresses are in your marketing plans. Use double opt-in procedures, validate incoming addresses, and do not buy or rent lists.  You also may want to perform a list cleaning process to get rid of these spam traps.

You can find out more information on how to spam-proof your email marketing campaigns in our six-part series.

Email Authentication Next Steps – DMARC

By | Email Authentication, Product Features | No Comments
Email Authentication

How DMARC Email Authentication Works

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) can be regarded as the latest advancement in email authentication. However, since it is not as convenient as SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail), we believe it is important to understand how DMARC is different, how it works and why should it matter to you.

So, to explain as clearly as possible, DMARC is a process that ensures that all legitimate emails are authenticating properly against established SPF and DKIM standards. It also ensures that any fraudulent activity appears to be coming from domains that are under the control of the organization (defensively registered domains, active sending domains, and non-sending domains) is blocked. Domain Alignment and Reporting are the two values of DMARC.
DMARC’s alignment feature effectively prevents any attempts of spoofing of the ‘header from’ address in the following way

⦁ It matches the ‘header from’ domain with ‘envelope from’ domain name that is used while performing an SPF check.
⦁ It matches the ‘header from’ domain name with the ‘d=domain name’ in DKIM signature.
In order to pass DMARC, the message has to pass SPF alignment and SPF authentication and/or DKIM alignment and DKIM authentication. A message will certainly fail DMARC if it fails any of these.

DMARC also helps senders in instructing email providers on how the authenticated email has to be handled via a DMARC policy, eradicating any grey area for guesswork on how to treat emails that fail the authentication.

Senders can choose to either:
⦁ Quarantine the message(s) that fail DMARC (move it to spam folder),
⦁ Reject the message(s) that fail DMARC (don’t deliver the mail at all), OR
⦁ Monitor each and every mail, understanding the brand’s email authentication system and guarantee that a legitimate email is authenticating adequately enough, without any interference with the delivery of the message(s) that failed DMARC.

Mailbox providers regularly send forensic and DMARC aggregate reports back to the senders, giving them complete visibility of the messages that are getting authenticated and the ones that are not, and why.

So why does DMARC really matter to you? The answer is quite simple – DMARC is the first and the only widely deployed technology that can authenticate the trustworthiness of the ‘header from’ address. This foolproof process protects customers and the brand, as well as discourages all cybercriminals to go after brands that have a DMARC record.

Read this article to find more about Mail Monitor’s email authentication processes.

First Things First – Email Authentication

By | Email Authentication, Product Features | No Comments

So you’ve scheduled a new offer for potential customers and you think you’ll be getting great conversions on these emails. But just when you hit your dashboard to monitor the results, you see a very different picture – you notice that a lot of your emails never got opened, ringing an alarm that maybe your much-anticipated offer has been eaten up by the recipient’s junk folder. You might be having the common email authentication problem that needs serious troubleshooting if you want your email marketing strategies to be a success.

What is Email Authentication?

To understand email authentication and how major services work, you need to know the following methods most commonly used by major mailboxes:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)SPF is an email validation system that identifies email spoofing by checking that the incoming email is from a domain’s authorized host. All authorized hosts for a domain are published in the Domain Name System (DNS) records on behalf of that domain in a specially formatted TXT record. SPF records prevent spammers from using your domain to send content from a forged address. With the increase of spam attacks and hack attempts to encourage recipients to share sensitive information via emails, all major commercial and corporate mailbox providers have layers of SPF checks in place to defend their customers.
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) – Just like SPF, DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an authentication method for emails that detect spoofing. The purpose of DKIM is to help recipients check if an email has come from an authorized owner of the user domain and identify any forged sender addresses. DKIM allows an email message to associate with a domain by affixing a digital signature. The verification is done by using the public key of the signer published in the DNS. DKIM also usually helps ensure all attachments in an email are safe to open. While these email authentications can seriously affect your email marketing campaigns, they also mean that if you are prepared, you have a stronger chance of being trusted and noticed by your recipient.

The good news here is that MailMonitor already has SPF and DKIM authentication checks in place for each and every email that our customers send. Having full control on evaluating email authentication helps us inform you of any issues so that you can get to troubleshooting in real time.