As you know (and as most of you have encountered), many, if not most, of the addresses in your list will stop working over time. Some experts estimate that 25 to 30 percent of your organization’s contact data go bad each year under normal circumstances. When a recipient changes jobs or an organization changes email providers, those perfectly good addresses are rendered useless. These newly invalid email addresses negatively affect your deliverability due to the bounces that will inevitably occur if you keep sending to them.
You probably already knew this. What you may not know is that there are email addresses that are created to be temporary or disposable. These addresses are designed to stop working within a certain timeframe – or just keep existing and become unused.
The disposable email address (DEA)
The term “disposable email address” refers to addresses that have no long-term value to the creator or owner. They are usually acquired with a limited purpose in mind, and can be easily discarded. For example, if you wanted to sign up for a discussion board or chat room and also wanted to shield yourself from any email from the group, you might use a DEA. It would remain valid until you discarded it.
The temporary email address
Temporary email addresses, on the other hand, expire automatically over time. The timeframe could expire an address after twenty minutes, or a month, or after receiving a set number of emails. Email service providers and many online services offer these addresses, many times for free. The reason behind the growing popularity of these temporary email addresses is that they combat spam and identity theft, and address the annoyance of high volume senders.
With the rise in popularity of subscription-based websites, discussion forums, online retailers, and news sites, many people want access – without the inevitable deluge of emails in their inbox. Consumers often use temporary/disposable email addresses to take advantage of special offers or gain access to a site’s content without having to use their personal or business email addresses when completing sign-up forms.
Good for the consumer, bad for the marketer
Although these emails may be beneficial to the people who use them, they do present risks to email marketers. Implementing and sending to a list filled with these addresses presents almost zero benefits to the sender. If the address has expired, you’ll get a hard bounce. If an email does get through to the inbox, the potential that a recipient will engage is very low. Those email might go into a filtered folder, where they will be ignored until the end of time. Or they will notice your message is sent to an email they created to protect themselves from spam.
These addresses can drastically impede efforts to reach potential customers or contacts. Not only does it reduce your effective reach to customers and contacts but worse yet – it also skews your email list analytics. For example, your team may have extremely high delivery or subscription rates, with only a small fraction of those recipients and subscribers actually reading your emails.
In email marketing quality trumps quantity, and these types of email addresses are undeniably nonconducive to attracting quality leads. Temporary emails also increase the risk of reducing delivery rates and overall deliverability metrics. This means fewer messages get through due to higher bounces and can lead to you getting marked as a spammer.
How to protect yourself