Disposable Emails: What to Watch For and How to Address Them

Disposable emails are a problem for businesses managing leads and account signups. They can lead to wasted time and resources, promo abuse, and invalid performance insights. Simply put, an email is considered disposable when it is temporary and discarded after the initial interaction, providing no expected value to the business.

Validating and verifying leads with email addresses can help your business ensure you are properly tracking the performance of your lead generation campaigns and filtering out fraudulent and fake account signups. Trestle’s Real Contact API offers an excellent solution to verify that the leads you are collecting are legitimate and gather insightful context into the value of those leads and how to prioritize them.

What is a Disposable Email?

A disposable email is generally an email address generated with little to no effort (i.e., registration for an email provider) and then ignored or destroyed with the click of a button. For example, many popular disposable email providers (i.e., cloacked.com, burnermail.io, gmailcity.com, etc.) will allow users to generate an email address that will pass typical validation checks and appear legitimate. There is no recovery email or any two-factor verification to ensure email signups are not abused. 

Once the user generates this email address, they can receive emails and promotions, interact with them, and then, when they choose to do so, leave that email address behind with no intention of ever monitoring it or looking at what was sent. Some providers will simply spin up and make the emails visible from their platform until the user leaves the page. Others will allow users to manage these emails continuously and discard them at their discretion.

What to Watch For?

Most disposable email domains point to generic domains that are either no longer used or don’t have a webpage. For example, one disposable email generation site (gmailcity) will generate emails for domains like it4u.shop or b2t.tech, which may appear legitimate at first glance. However, their domains just redirect back to gmailcity. In other cases, the disposable domain is registered, but it does not have a webpage you can view.

Imagine, for a moment, you decide to run a sweepstakes to generate a list of leads. You build a webpage to collect lead information and register for the sweepstakes. After spending some money on advertising and posting about the sweepstakes, you start to collect lead information and build a list of eligible individuals for the sweepstakes. While the campaign runs, someone who understands how disposable email addresses work begins submitting falsified information and using a disposable email service to generate hundreds of fake accounts. They can monitor these emails for winner notifications, but your list of eligible entrants was skewed and didn’t properly account for this type of signup.

When the campaign is completed, you are unaware that you potentially rewarded an individual who cheated the system you built and that you don’t have nearly as many valid leads as you initially thought.

This is why your business must not only validate that the email addresses submitted are in a valid format but also ensure that you have insight into the quality of the leads and how you prioritize them. Doing so will save you time and resources and maximize the return on your investment.

You can’t always look at a disposable email and recognize it at face value, although sometimes it’s pretty obvious. A disposable email could look just like any other email. You might even be able to visit the website that it’s hosted by. However, disposable domains are often re-used, and typically, they are not for legitimate businesses. They can be sniffed out with some research, and companies like Trestle have employed resources to establish a list of these domains – it’s constantly growing.

How to Address Disposable Domains

When you use Trestle’s Real Contact API, you can catch a disposable domain by looking at the warnings in the API response. Trestle will identify known disposable domains and flag them for you to block the signup or eliminate those leads from your pool or your outreach efforts.

Trestle’s Real Contact API provides a JSON response with valuable insights into your leads.

When you come across a response like this, it’s a clear sign of a disposable email domain. It’s not always easy to spot, especially when the phone number seems legitimate and matches their name. But here’s the catch-the email holds little value for your business, and including such leads in your email campaign is a waste of resources. Instead, consider asking the user for a valid email address to ensure the quality of your leads.

In addition, when you think about the power of Real Contact at scale, you can run these queries and walk away with a lead list that is more actionable, has higher ROI, and a more streamlined operation. A comprehensive view of a lead’s phone, address, and email address empowers you to engage with leads confidently. This is not just email validation; it’s lead verification.

If you want to learn more about Trestle’s Real Contact API solution, please contact us or look at our API documentation.

This blog post was written by Tyler Woodward, Technical Account Manager at Trestle.