Email List Hygiene

What are honeypots? An email marketing secret weapon!

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Can anyone resist a honeypot? Certainly Winnie the Pooh can’t, and in email, neither can email marketers…in a way. But let’s start at the beginning.

What is a honeypot? It’s a mechanism created to identify, redirect, or counteract unauthorized use of information systems, be it email addresses or otherwise. Generally speaking, a honeypot consists of data (on a network site, for example) appearing to be a legitimate part of the site, but is actually isolated and monitored, because it also appears to contain information of value to attackers. Once the honeypot is engaged with, the attacker is then blocked.

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Honeypots come in many shapes and sizes, but all are used to help security professionals monitor for different types of abusive behavior across all kinds of networks. They exist to help identify and mitigate issues before a company’s network or systems are compromised.

Email marketers are most likely familiar with the term spam trap, which is a type of honeypot looking for abusive behavior in the email channel. Other types of honeypots could be set up to try to capture stolen or hacked user accounts by hosting a fake login page and seeing which accounts try to access the service, or even for monitoring and tracking everyone’s current favorite, the phone scammer.

Honeypots can provide valuable information to email marketers, and oftentimes act as an early warning system. As an example, 250ok systems report to marketers about potential phishing or suspicious emails and messages sent to our spam trap network as a way for users to identify people trying to impersonate their brands, or if they have data hygiene issues with the marketing lists that they are sending to themselves. Understanding how these metrics impact your deliverability and how you can use this data to prevent delivery issues before they start are just a couple examples of how honeypots can benefit your organization.

We won’t judge you if you dabble in honeypots like Winnie the Pooh would.

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