Disposable email addresses (DEAs), are temporary email addresses that are used only for a specific purpose and then discarded. Unlike a permanent email address, once the disposable email address has been disposed of, it will not affect the user’s contacts or addresses.

A disposable email address gives users an email address that they can use when they don’t want to provide their primary or personal email address. A disposable email is most valued for the privacy and security that it provides its users.

Because email marketing remains one of the most effective marketing tools, it’s no wonder that ESP’s are getting savvy and providing disposable emails. While more emails are being sent every day, more consumers are feeling bombarded by spam or emails that will wind up in the junk folder.

Users want to find new techniques to limit the number of emails they receive, or an email to use to put on any online form. This is why we have seen a surge in disposable email addresses.

While users may find disposable email addresses useful and privacy-protecting, email marketers can find them a headache. But with disposable email, it then begs the question, how do you reach a customer who won’t give you any way of contacting them?

Fear not, not all disposable emails are troublesome. You are still able to maintain a healthy and growing email list and be able to reach your customers with “good” disposable emails.

What is a Disposable Email Address?

A disposable email address is just a temporary account designed to limit the amount of unwanted or spam emails from cluttering an inbox. These accounts typically expire or can be removed manually when a user no longer wishes to use their disposable email.

Let’s get into what qualifies as a disposable email address. There are three basic types of disposable email addresses:

  • An Alias: a form of the user’s main email address. These disposable email addresses can be created with ESPs such as a Gmail or Yahoo! account. Emails that are sent to an alias are then delivered to a folder that is outside of the primary inbox. An important note to remember, many alias addresses will still appear as ‘delivered’ and may not be flagged as a disposable address.
  • Forwarding Account: these accounts are created with a separate email domain. Once the email has been delivered, it will then forward it to a user’s primary account.
  • Non-Forwarding Account: a non-forwarding account is a single-use email address. It will not forward any emails and typically becomes unusable/unavailable after a certain time period. These are usually responsible for skewing bounce rates.

No matter which forms the disposable email address takes, the end result is the same - your business will not receive an actual email address, which in turn will skew your analytics and can potentially harm your company’s reputation.

Because getting a disposable email address is free to use, it makes it an easy solution to a user’s problem of spam and therefore, a potential headache for email marketers. Most internet services request an email address upon signing up, so this is why there is an increased likelihood of encountering a disposable email address instead of a primary email address.

Another example, if a company you willingly signed up for gets hacked then your email address can easily end up on a spam list. This then clutters your inbox with emails you never subscribed to and has nothing to do with your buying habits. If your primary email address is cluttered, it then takes time out of your day to clean it up and for this reason, a disposable email address starts to look pretty good.

But on the business side, disposable emails have the potential to ruin your business and email marketing efforts.

How Disposable Email Address Impact a Business

Although a disposable email address may sound like a great idea to consumers, it can be a pain in the butt to companies. They are working against companies who are wanting to create a healthy and active email list.

These are a few ways disposable email addresses can impact your email marketing efforts:

Lack of trust between you and your subscribers

When you see a sudden rise in disposable email addresses, it’s a sign to look into your reputation with your customers. A large uptick of disposable emails indicates that your subscribers are losing their trust in you and how you protect their information.

Your Free Service is Being Taken Advantage Of

If you offer a free service that is based on putting an email address, some customers will try to take advantage of this and sign up with various email addresses. Some people are looking to use a discount code more than once, and getting a new email address can be easily done with the aid of a disposable email address. It will then become more difficult to convert trial customers into paying customers because they are manipulating the system.

They Affect Your Churn Rate

When consumers are using various emails to take advantage of your discount or free trial period, this may affect your churn rate later. A churn rate is the percentage of new subscribers who will remove themselves from your email list within a short period of time. Having some sort of churn rate is unavoidable, especially because churn is calculated based on dividing your total customers lost by the total customers within that time period. The results will be skewed since the equation does not account for those who use disposable email addresses.

Your Numbers May Not Be Accurate

Think about it, if you have thousands of email addresses on your list and you are sending emails out to every one of them, there are only a select few of those who actually open and read your emails. In the case of those who use a disposable email address, they are even less likely to check those inboxes. It also affects how many emails on your list are marked as “delivered”.

Though your message may have been successfully delivered, it doesn’t account for where your email ended up. It could be in the inbox of a disposable email address, in which the likelihood of it ever being seen is low.

You Could Get Blacklisted

Bad sending practices will affect your sender reputation score and IP reputation, which will determine whether or not your emails will actually get sent to a user’s inbox or straight to the spam folder.

One bad practice of email marketing is by sending emails to unknown users, AKA disposable email addresses. When you are sending emails to throwaway accounts they will come back as a bounced email because they are unable to get delivered. Too many bounced emails will get you flagged as a spammer and is a fast track to end up on a blacklist.

How to Identify a Disposable Email Address

In theory, it sounds simple enough to block signups from established disposable email address domains. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are already dozens of existing domains, and the number keeps growing daily. Keeping track of all of them is nearly impossible.

You can monitor inboxes daily and perform periodic audits to check the delivery status of your emails but that is exhausting and not a practical use of your time.

But there is hope! By using a third-party API that can efficiently detect faux email addresses will be the best tool in your toolbox. Emailable is an affordable and effective email checker solution to any of your list management needs but we will get into that later.

How to Manage Disposable Email Addresses

Step 1: Build Trust with Your Customers

People are using disposable email addresses because they do not trust most brands to not bombard them with emails or sell their email addresses to other data lists. Essentially, they are unsure of how your company protects their personal information. If it’s accidental leaks of the customer database or theft from hackers, they aren’t trusting your company to keep their information safe.

You can gain the trust of your customers by being transparent about how you collect, use, and protect their information. You could even go one step further and assure people that their data is securely encrypted and will be of little use unless decrypted.

You can give your customers confidence by providing all the necessary information to them such as:

  • Explain what type of emails they will receive from you
  • Link to your privacy policy page upon sign up
  • Display a GDPR compliance badge

Step 2: Verify Emails as You Collect Them

There is no way to get people to stop using disposable email addresses, but you can verify them as you collect them by using an email verification tool such as Emailable. You can easily integrate into your system with their API wherever you gather emails.

Where to put an API:

  • Signup Forms
  • Website Pop-ups
  • Landing Pages
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Anywhere an email is prompted
Deliverability results overview

Step 3: Have A Clean Email List

When you have a list of thousands and thousands of emails, its virtually impossible to go through each and every email to ensure that they are not a disposable address. Instead, let Emailable do the work for you. With a service like Emailable, you are constantly practicing clean list management. They will also help you remove any emails that are flagged as “risky” to ensure that you keep a healthy sender reputation score. Additionally, make sure that you are also removing any invalid emails like those with syntax errors or nonexistent mailboxes.

Deliverability results breakdown

For example, Emailable will break down its results for you in a way to easily know which email is valid and which is not. You would see results as follows:

  • Deliverable - We can determine with a high level of confidence that the email address is associated with a valid account.
  • Undeliverable - We can determine with a high level of confidence that the email address is not associated with a valid account.
  • Risky - Emails are deliverable but should be used with caution due to low quality or deliverability. May include Accept All, Disposable, and Role addresses.
  • Unknown - The domain associated with the email address is not responding, meaning we cannot determine the validity of the email account.
  • Duplicate - The list contains more than one of the same email.

Unfortunately, disposable emails are not going anywhere, anytime soon. But when you are aware and able to stop the problem before it happens or impacts your business, it’s better late than never.

By using an email verification service it will keep your email lists clean and healthy while keeping only the good ones. They may seem like a good alternative to customers, however, they have the potential to negatively impact your business.

Take advantage of tools such as Emailable where they are readily available to help keep your email lists clean and free of disposable emails addresses.