Email List Hygiene

Avalanche Of Disposable Addresses

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by Rozina Hussain, Product Manager

Email continues to be the dominant communication tool between organizations and their customers however with the continuous stream of messages and newsletters that are distributed as well as the relentless onslaught of spammers, it comes as no surprise that users often turn to an emerging class of products that provide real but temporary, disposable email addresses for users to complete their transactions without actually committing with their primary one.

So what are these products’ actual offerings? Simply put, it is to provide an alternative way of sharing and managing email addresses. A unique email address is created for every contact, thus creating a point-to-point connection between the owner and the organization. So if the organization abuses the relationship with unwarranted emails or compromises the email, the owner can simply discontinue or “dispose of” the account. That process seems harmless enough to legitimate organizations, however creating and managing multiple disposable addresses can also become a chore for address owners so disposable addresses are commonly shared with multiple organizations until they have earned the owner’s trust.

The problem for marketers arises when the number of unwanted messages reaches the owner’s tolerance threshold and that account is ultimately disposed. However if a legitimate marketer was sending relevant emails, not only would those emails not be delivered anymore, the marketer is likely to face deliverability issues due to bounces. This certainly gives new perspective to John Donne’s poem “no man is an island” where the acts of others in the marketing sphere can affect your organization directly. However the situation need not be as dire as the ending of Donne’s famous prose.

To avoid this dilemma, the best practice is to be open at the time of collecting emails as to why you need this information and when the potential recipient can expect emails from your organization. Honestly share who else would have access to this information and the frequency with which they can expect to receive messages from your organization. Empowering recipients with options that shapes future communication with what they want to receive, through what channels and when, can lead to a beneficial outcome for all.

Secondarily, check your legacy data and flag those disposable addresses. Most are time-sensitive or one-time use addresses, so are likely expired. Its worthwhile to remove them as most marketers wouldn’t want to own address that do not generate any value but add to their marketing cost and efforts, and just as importantly can affect their deliverability adversely.

With the floodgates opened, the disposable addresses are now endemic to marketing lists however don’t allow them to accumulate so be persistent in verifying and evaluating emails as part of your on-going marketing efforts.