Thursday, 15 March 2018

What is a disposable email address?



Disposable email addresses are email addresses that last for a limited period of time. Typically between ten minutes to a couple of weeks.


They are used by people who want to hide and remain anonymous online, and it's often true that users of disposable email addresses are hiding their identity because they want to act badly.

It's not always the case that a disposable email address is being used with bad intent. Some users are just trying to control communication so they don't 'get spammed' or have their data shared.


Where can I get a disposable email address?

Not here. And here's why.

Email Hippo is an email validation company, responsible for identifying disposable email addresses and domains.  Our clients remove them from their mailing lists and block people with disposable email addresses buying from them or using their services.

Blocking disposable email addresses is on the increase as there is a strong link between disposable email addresses and online fraud.  More and more companies don't want to deal with people who hide online.


Why we watch for disposable email addresses

Disposable emails are indicators of fraud

There's a clear link between usage of disposable email addresses and anti-social behaviour online. Credit card chargebacks, abusive behaviour, anti-social behaviour, crime and identity fraud are all enabled by disposable email addresses. DEAs are the email equivalent of 'burner mobile phones' and instantly erased social media posts.


Do you trade online? Disposable email addresses aren't good for online business, and it's travel, SaaS, electronic goods and apparel that are hit the hardest.


Businesses trading online need to trust the people buying from them. It's not easy to trust people who want to stay anonymous and stay out of  all communication reach.  It's easy to keep DEAs out of your checkout journey, by using an API that prevents people signing up with a disposable email address. If you trade online you need to decide whether to deal with people who hide their identity. It's tricky as there is plenty of advice given to 'man in the street' consumers that having a disposable email address is a simple way to stop spam in their inbox.

Online retail continues to grow and shows no sign of stopping. More businesses are trying to grow a business and instead finding they are under pressure to become security experts. Online sales revenues need to balance the direct and indirect costs of fraud reports and chargeback admin, card alerts and proof of shipping for goods that are being contested.

Removing DEAs from your data and your transaction process will help you get back in control of your revenue turnover and your time.

Do you worry about credit card fraud, or service abuse? If people want to buy from you but remain anonymous and then disappear, you're entitled to choose not to sell your goods and services to them.We know there is a proven link between online fraud and the use of disposable email addresses. There's a number of things you can do to reduce fraud and save time.





Do you send spam to your customers? Thought not. Most companies don't.



At Email Hippo we're a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, so we don't ship physical products, but we still like to know who we're dealing with. We began blocking people using disposable emails over a year ago, because we were able to look at the email data closely and see that people who hid were more likely to rip us off, by using our services and then charging back the credit card. We blocked temporary emails and guess what - our rate of fraud and chargebacks immediately fell by >95%.

You can use an API to stop the emails being entered in your online forms, or you can use a single look up for manual review before you ship goods and services. It depends on your rate of sales and how your operation works. 

People who want to buy from you for legitimate reasons will still buy from you. Your time will be spent doing what you want to do, instead of what you have to do. You'll save resources and admin time. As far as planning and growth goes, you'll have more accurate figures to work from as you won't have to allow for chargeback lags, so your business will benefit all round.

By stopping DEAs you'll be taking a simple, inexpensive and effective route to stop most of the bad guys getting through.


Data re-sellers and disposable email addresses - adding value to data 



You look after your data because you know it's got a value. It costs to get it, store it, keep it up to date and augment it. Disposable email addresses cost you time and money and reduce the value of any list. Removing disposable emails addresses will save your resources and make your data more valuable.
You are an expert at curating, gathering and harvesting data for augmenting and reselling. 

You know that your data has a value and that you work in a competitive market. So every email address you have on file that hard bounces is a mark against your quality. That's why you need to remove disposable emails from your data. 

There are community-curated lists of disposable emails and APIs that provide access to those lists. Your IT team will likely have access to community software resources, your email validation company or checking service should be alerting you to the domains and addresses that are disposable.

The problem is that disposable emails are fluid, and the people creating them have their quality standards too. All DEA providers want to hide their domains and keep them moving, refresh them often and keep them viable and off those community alert lists.

If you take disposable email address elimination seriously, you should use an API from a reputable company to scrub your data. You should look for a company that does a lot more than rely on integrating static community lists of disposable emails, or manually searching and updating records. The best companies use heuristics and machine learning to watch disposable email address providers and updated results in realtime. 


Making marketing better by deleting disposable emails


Reaching out to people via email is an effective marketing channel. It's frustrating when you're doing everything by the book and customers hide their identity because they don't trust your 'opt-out' promise. There's no point trying to get friendly with a smoke trail, which is basically what you're doing if your customer list is hot with disposable addresses. 


How to remove disposable email addresses from databases


Disposable Email Addresses (DEAs) are junk mail and if you have them, it's a 'tell' that you have bad data on your database.

They prevent you getting close to your customers - because they are email addresses used by people who want to avoid your communication and stay anonymous. By mailing them, you're increasing your bounce rates, lowering your deliverability rates, harming your sender reputation and skewing your marketing campaign data.  Ultimately they make you and your team look bad.

Many DEAs are profane and the domains would be likely to trigger any profanity filters that you have.  Plenty of them would go under the radar though so it's worth cleaning them out of the system each time you do routine data housekeeping.


Two ways for marketers to clean out disposable email addresses

1. Point of entry / API


Get an API installed that will prevent DEA users getting onto your database. There are APIs out there (Email Hippo's is the best one - see here for comparison report) that will do a realtime check against DEAs. When you use an API people trying to use your services and buy your stuff online whilst hiding behind a DEA will be stopped after they've typed their email address in.  You'll need to decide what message to give and at what point in your process you put the DEA filter in, but it is a very effective way of stopping the trash before it gets your data dirty.

You can also use an API to clean you data as and when you like within your systems. Your CRM for instance, could incorporate an API for DEAs.


2. Housekeeping and routine sweeps of your data

The second way to stay clean is to regular sweeps of your data. This is something you're probably doing already, taking out old emails and lapsed customers etc., but to step it up and include DEAs, look for a service that offers disposable email address filtering. 

If you capture data at point of transaction and you have DEAs on your system, it's worth checking on the link between your DEAs and chargebacks. In our experience, removing DEAs from our system saw a drop in online fraud of >95%. That's more one for the online retailers though.

How will action against Disposable Emails improve your marketing results?


  • You won't be trying to communicate with people who don't want to hear from you - so your open rates will improve
  • You'll be sending mail to more email addresses that exist - so your bounce rate will fall
  • Because your bounce rate will fall, your ESP (Email Service Provider) will rate you and your data higher
  • Because your bounce rate has fallen, your sender reputation will improve
  • Because your sender reputation improves you'll get more emails into more inboxes
  • So your campaigns will have higher success rates
  • So your effectiveness measures and KPIs relating to email marketing will improve
  • So you and your team will look better


And that, is how to remove disposable email addresses and improve your marketing effectiveness.

Tools to help you deal with Disposable Email Addresses are generally split into two types;

1. Online lists of DEAs - so you can cross check your data and make your own exclusion models

2. API links to make the DEA lists useful - so you can build a DEA API into your system


Tools to help you deal with Disposable Email Addresses

Here are links to two of the most up to date Disposable Email Address lists. These lists are generally community managed. There's a growing number of people working collaboratively to make DEAs visible online. Because they're community managed there is no promise about how up to date they are, so use them with common sense. We help curate and moderate the GitHub list #1 so we confidently steer you to that resource.

Both APIs are effective. The first is ours, which we know is up to date with heuristic DEA detection and a >99.9% uptime. The API 'Disposable Email Guard' is an independent service that provides free detection on a relatively small scale. We sponsor this service as it's a grass roots API that's community spirited and everybody doing something good deserves support!

ONLINE LISTS OF DISPOSABLE (OR BURNER) EMAIL ADDRESSES
GitHub List #1  Burner-email-providers

GitHub List #2 Disposable Email List

BEST API FOR ACCESSING DISPOSABLE EMAIL ADDRESSES 
Email Hippo.com/API


Disposable Email Guard






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