With so many businesses and organizations hungry for our contact details, it makes sense that we’re cautious about who we give our information to.
Email is still the most popular and effective method of marketing, so it’s not surprising that we’re finding new ways to limit the number of messages we receive into our primary accounts. Disposable email addresses are one of the methods increasing in popularity.
What is a disposable email address?
You’ll hear these temporary email addresses called by all sorts of other names. Just like throwaway mobile phones often hide the identity of a caller, disposable email addresses are commonly used to conceal a user’s identity.
There’s no wonder they earn such similar names: burners, disposables, or throwaways.
There are 3 main types of disposable email addresses, but they all do the same thing. They protect the user from receiving communication they aren’t interested in.
There are many reasons for this. Some are legitimate concerns, and some are merely due to unscrupulous or deceitful behaviour.
All three, however, are low value to the email marketer. They don’t deliver quality data; they only create hurdles that need removing.
An alias is typically a variation on the user’s primary address. This type of address will land in the user’s inbox but can be directed into a folder that doesn’t interfere with the user’s main correspondence.
With the facility to create aliases, these additional addresses are easily tracked to see where and how the company that received them has utilized them.
For example, [email protected]; the user here can see what comeback they’ll receive from signing up to a particular promotion, or just dump it all straight in the trash or junk.
A forwarding email address is created on a different domain, but its messages are sent to the user’s primary inbox.
Users have access to this temporary email address for as long as they want. They can delete them at any time, ending your correspondence with a hard bounce.
They can also create rules to segregate the address’s messages, yet this option offers little data to the marketer.
In other words, your open and click-through statistics won’t be accurate because your software can’t read their inbox behaviour.
Non-forwarding throwaway accounts
Non-forwarding throwaway email addresses are intended for a single-use operation, without any need for further correspondence. This type of disposable address is going to provide a hard bounce every time.
Why are disposable email addresses so bad?
The problems created by disposable addresses are numerous.
From an ethical point of view, it shows that some users don’t trust your brand and don’t feel safe giving you their premium contact details.
From a data point of view, they’re going to skew the numbers you use to determine which campaigns or promotions are valuable to you.
They destroy conversion opportunities
Without healthy communication, you lose the opportunity to create a follow-up and sell to that address. That means zero chance of a conversion.
Some incentive opportunities will establish the contact you plan for, and that’s great, but you need a way to spot those that don’t and remove them before they do any lasting damage.
Free services and incentives creating false figures
A disposable email address allows a participant to take advantage of a connection as a one-off. Where the marketer hopes for the beginning of a healthy and hopeful long-term consumer relationship, to the user, it’s a dead-end with a quick win.
Increased churn rates and skewed analytical data
Your churn rate is the number of subscribers who unsubscribe, or leave shortly after signing up, against your total list number. Disposable email addresses impact these data, making them inaccurate.
The same goes for the rest of your email analytics. Holding a large mailing list where many of the addresses aren’t genuine, or never interact with you, creates a false impression.
Why would someone use a disposable email address?
Here are some of the most typical reasons to utilize disposable email addresses:
- Opting in to marketing messages without committing to a long term relationship with the brand
- Opening an account, yet avoiding all additional pressure from the business
- Downloading content that requires a point of contact to access material
- Entering contests and promotions and avoiding all follow-ups
- Acquiring freebies, incentives, vouchers and other offers
- Signing up for social media accounts
All of the above have one thing in common. There isn’t any desire to receive further information from the business once the user has got what they want or need.
Are temporary emails safe? For the most part, they are for the user. You could come unstuck when using a temporary email service if you later need to rely on the information that you no longer have access to.
Why don’t these users want to engage? The business might be more than reputable—but times have changed, and there are a multitude of reasons to protect our data, save our time and streamline our digital lives.
They don’t trust you
Sadly, if a possible customer has lost faith in you and your brand, they may choose to limit their communication with you using a disposable address.
There’s also the worry that the most significant data breaches happen to the most popular brands.
Having our information farmed out by hackers is a big deterrent when it comes to our personal data management.
They want to remain anonymous
When a user wants to interact without disclosing any personal details, a temporary or disposable address offers precisely that.
They can comment on message boards, interact with your customers, or bad-mouth you and your service—all with no chance of damaging repercussions.
Your brand has no value to them
If they only want to take advantage of a one-off promotion or opportunity, then your brand has no long-term benefit to them.
So why should they engage fully if they don’t have to? A disposable address allows them to get what they want and disappear again, straight away.
They want to harm you or your brand
This is the result of more menacing motivation.
Trolls, hackers and spammers each have illicit reasons for remaining untraceable. These uses are known as dark mail and are the most nefarious uses of disposable email addresses.
How to spot disposable emails?
Some addresses, primarily the non-forwarding throwaway types, are easy to spot, as, often, they don’t even resemble valid email addresses.
You could manually sift through your lists removing those yourself, but isn’t that overly long-winded and poor use of your time and resources?
The best way to spot them, and to keep your lists clean, is to use an API or a list checking tool to keep bad addresses at bay and your lists in tip-top condition.
How can Bouncer help?
Bouncer checks and verifies email addresses using the most precise email verification algorithms on the market. Not only does it confirm the safe addresses to send to, but it will detect the disposable emails in your lists too.
Bouncer provides you with the information you would typically receive after sending out your email campaign before you run the risk of sending to any low-quality or hard bounce addresses.
We test your lists against our extensive database of proven temporary addresses. This is as well as checking them against the most obvious alias options.
You may implement real-time email verification for your sign up form to keep your subscribers from using a disposable email address for the registration process.
Our software system is designed to block disposable email addresses and keep your data as clean and as healthy as possible.
Izabela is a leading contributor to the Bouncer’s blog. She is inspired to help companies all around the world to get emails into their recipients’ inboxes