Simple and Effective Ways to Avoid the Honeypot

Guest Author, August 19th, 2013

This guest post comes from Geoffrey Grow – CEO, Service Objects. Service Objects provides a variety of address verification products, and high quality DOTS Email Validation services via batch or real-time API.

ServiceObjects DOTS Email ValidationWhen I was a child, I remember reading a Winnie the Pooh book about him finding a honeypot. When the honeypot was opened, a swarm of bees flew out and chased poor Pooh. In computer terminology a honeypot is a spam trap set to detect unauthorized use of information systems. Generally it consists of a site that appears to be part of a network, but is actually isolated and monitored.

Did you know there are certain domains that are honeypots for spammers? Mailing to these domains can cause your IP address to be blocked jeopardizing your server reputation, which is not good for your business. It’s best to employ contact validation checking that can identify fraudulent email addresses and find those honeypots before they find you.

Make the Investment – Protect Your Company

It’s relatively simple to protect your company from the dreaded honeypot. Find a reputable email verification vendor and use them to correct, standardize, clean and score the email addresses in your contact database. Many services are extremely accurate at cleansing email addresses to steer clear of the honeypot, and can:
1. Validate and verify email addresses in real-time. By using an API that can integrate directly into your existing online web forms and internal systems, you can flag potentially fraudulent, disposable or bogus email addresses at the point of entry – before they enter your contact database.

2. Clean-up existing lists. If you have an existing email database or list that needs a good scrubbing, you can use an email validation batch service to perform all of the necessary correcting and standardizing. Generally, you will upload or email the batch file to the company, and they will return the file within 24 hours cleaned and corrected.

Often it is best to run a batch file with your existing contact email lists, and also implement an email verification API to keep your email data clean and up-to-date in real-time.

Beware of Disposable Email Addresses

Recently mischievous computer users have started using disposable email addresses to dodge providing their true contact details. Disposable email services promote fraud by providing fake email addresses to its users for free. To monetize their traffic these operators allow other companies to mine their logs and databases for IP addresses likely to send SPAM emails. Hmmm, email mining . . . sound familiar?  Should your company send to a disposable email service often, your IP address and domain will be logged by anti-spam software vendors. Do it enough times and you risk your IP address being banned from sending email all together.

One of the best ways to not get trapped in a honeypot is to validate your emails against specific domains that are affiliated with disposable email service providers. Common disposable email services include Mailinator, Airmail, GuerillaMail, Dispostable and MintEmail to name just a few.

If your prospect/customer submits an email address like bob@mailinator.com, then this transaction should be marked as bogus. All mail from mailinator.com is suspicious and you may be identified as a spammer should you mail to it. Futhermore, any emails to bob@mailinator.com make you look bad and may lead to your your IP address being banned, in addition to lower delivery rates.

Need proof? Try this: Go to http://bob.mailinator.com, as this is same as bob@mailinator.com. Any e-mail sent to bob@mailinator.com can be found at this URL. In this box are hundreds of email items from other real spammers you don’t want to be affiliated with . . . trust me.

Stay Smart, Keep Verifying and Remain Honeypot-Free

No matter which way you choose to utilize an email validation service, you’ll see positive results in delivery stats, and you’ll feel confident that your marketing investment is protected.

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