Nobody likes spam. One of main tools in the fight against spam is spam traps. Spam traps are "honeypots" set up to catch spammers. They're addresses which don't belong to any real human, however unlike bounces they are policed by blacklist organisations and email service providers to identify spammers.

Sending email to these addresses is considered unsolicited, damages the sender's sending reputation and can cause the sender to be blacklisted 😱 

There are three kinds of spam traps:

  1. Recycled traps: This is an address that has previously existed as a real user but no longer does.
  2. Typo traps: These are commonly mistyped addresses such as gmail.con
  3. Pristine traps: These are email accounts that is not previously known to have existed as a real user account.

How did you get spam traps in your app?

There are many ways spam trap emails can arrive in your app, but the most common ways are:

  1. List acquisition: Purchasing or borrowed a list of email addresses. Please see our Email Sending Guidelines for more information about this.
  2. User acquisition: Not verifying or confirming email addresses at sign-up can mean addresses contain errors. Entering details twice can reduce and prevent errors but getting people to confirm with double opt-in is the best ✨ 
  3. List hygiene: Even legitimate senders can hit a recycled spam trap if they don't clean their lists. Recycled addresses are old email addresses not in use anymore which are now being managed by an ISP or a blacklist. It is recommended to clean your user list of old, disengaged users once every 6 months.

What happens if you hit spam traps with your Intercom messages? 

If your app hits a significant number of spam traps, Intercom will limit or deny email sending privileges for your app while this is being investigated. Hitting spam traps is dangerous and can cause Intercom's sending infrastructure to be added to blacklists. We may request you to clean your list to lower the trap hits in future sends.

We've outlined the steps you should take to get your email sending privileges back. If we don't see improvement, we may suspend your email sending privileges permanently.  

Implement double opt-in

Double opt-in is a two step process for sign-up, sending your new sign-ups an email with a unique confirmation link to click before they will receive any further email from you. 

Double opt-in proves that your new sign-up owns the provided email address and that it's valid. It also gives you permission to send emails to that address.

Validate user emails at sign-up

It's possible to stop bad sign-ups before they join your app. There are some email addresses which obviously don't belong to real humans.

You can do some simple validation of the formatting of addresses during sign-up or you can employ the help of a third-party service. Neverbounce built an app to help clean your email list in Intercom. Other services you can use include Kickbox and Webbula.

Clean your Intercom people list

If a user or lead hasn't interacted with you or your platform in a few months, it's likely time to say goodbye. We recommend only messaging users who have been active within the last 6 months. You can easily archive inactive users with the filters on your main user list.

Archiving a user from Intercom is a "soft delete" that remove the user from your user list and your billing. However, if that user comes back to your platform and signs in, we restore their details and their conversations - no harm, no foul.

If your app is hitting a lot of recycled spam traps, the best course of action is to clean your list of inactive users.

How to archive inactive users

You can filter your user list to select the users you'd like to archive. For example, you might might want to filter for users or leads who were "Last seen more than 180 days ago."

Send messages to active, engaged users only

Sending email to disengaged users can damage your brand and sending reputation. It's best practice to send messages to engaged users. You can target customers who were "Last Seen" and "Last Heard From" in your app recently, for example.

These tips should help you better engage with your users and leads. For more tips, see our Email Marketing Best Practices.

If you're having trouble, get in touch by mailing us at team@intercom.io and we'll be able to help you through.

Did this answer your question?