Four tips for spring cleaning your emailing list

Four tips for spring cleaning your emailing list
Michael Linthorst (1976) is an internet entrepreneur and CEO of Copernica Marketing Software.

Erroneous email addresses in your emailing list can be disastrous for your email reputation. After all, invalid email addresses cause a high bounce rate, and in some cases are used as spam traps.

That’s why you should always take precautions to prevent them from ending up in your database.

Do you fear the damage might already be done? In that case it’s important to spring clean your send list as quickly as possible.

Four types of email addresses to remove from your send list as quickly as possible (and how to prevent them from resurfacing on your address list):

1. Email addresses containing typos

Search your database for email addresses for common typos. Be on the lookout for addresses as or and remove these from your send list.

Prevention tip: Everyone makes typos. That’s why you have to let everyone that signs up for your email address fill in their email address twice. Also check for bounces when you send emailings. From the error message you’ll be able to tell if it’s caused by an erroneous address or something else.

2. General email addresses

Be careful with addresses like or In many cases these email addresses are publically available on the internet, and sometimes end up on email lists as a result of harvesting. Of course this isn’t always the case, but it can’t hurt to monitor the statistics of these addresses, or to ask their holders to reconfirm their opt-in.

Prevention tip: Never buy lists with email addresses from third parties. Not only is this illegal in many countries, bought up lists can cause a lot of email reputation issues because they result in a lot of spam complaints.

3. False email addresses

Afraid that they might receive spam, some people might fill in a false email address like Find these addresses and remove them from your database. Tip: when entering random keys, people tend to use the middle row of their keyboard. So look for strange letter combinations that are made with the keys A to L.

Prevention tip: People that fill in such false addresses, clearly don’t want to receive any emailings from you. That they end up in your database anyway is a sign of a too aggressive method of gathering opt ins. Always give people the option to make an order, for example, without having to subscribe to your emailings.

4. Invalid email addresses

Look for addresses with double @ signs or with non-existing top level domains. There are many possible reasons why these email addresses end up in your database. They could be typos, but some people enter these kind of addresses because they’re afraid they might receive spam.

Prevention tip: Let subscribers confirm their subscription by using a double opt-in. Also, always be clear about what your recipients can expect. If you just want an email address to send a confirmation mail for example, reassure your clients and say so on the sign up form. 


Some of these tips might seem a bit obvious. But seeing that, according to Return Path research, 20 percent of all legitimate emailings never reach their destination, there are still a lot of emailing lists that are in desperate need of spring cleaning. And let’s be honest: what’s the last time you’ve checked your database for these kind of erroneous addresses?

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