We get it. You want to build a list of relevant leads, but you don’t want to pay for them. So, you create a fake email address and subscribe your audience to your list. It’s a no-risk, right?
We have outlined fifteen reasons why using a fake email address is not good for your business or in general.
#1 It decreases your open rate
One of the fundamental problems most email marketing campaigns experience is low open rates.
This can be caused by a number of different factors, such as bad subject lines, a lack of personalization, or outdated contact information in your list. But one factor that you might not have considered is using fake email addresses.
You might think that using email addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org” or something similar will help you segment your list and make it easier to deliver messages, but it will actually have the opposite effect.
In addition to spam filters flagging these fake emails as spam, there are other reasons why you should always use real addresses when sending emails from your business.
#2 It damages your sender reputation
If you are sending email campaigns in an effort to reach existing or potential clients, you may have heard that using fake email addresses is a great way to get around spam filters. Your campaign will be delivered to the inbox and reach its intended audience, right? Not so fast.
The fact is that the use of fake emails actually has the opposite effect. It can damage your sender reputation and ultimately lower your deliverability rates.
If, for example, you’re sending your email to a Gmail account, that recipient is likely in the Gmail system as a valid contact, with a real email address. When Google detects multiple emails from the same sender going to that same contact, it’s likely spam. Google might even quarantine all future emails from you.
A best practice is to always use valid, real email addresses when possible (and never ever use any kind of “no reply” or “disposable” email).
#3 It hurts your deliverability
The modern marketer has to be “on” all the time, whether that’s sending out press releases to media contacts, chatting up thought leaders on social media, or responding to potential leads as soon as they pop into your in-box.
The problem: We’re all using fake email addresses. And it’s hurting our deliverability.
You may have a Gmail account for your work email. Or an Outlook account for your business accounts. Or you might even have a custom domain set up for the sole purpose of collecting emails from website visitors and newsletter subscribers.
How many of us actually use those same email addresses for personal use? I guarantee that number is even smaller.
Here’s the simple truth: People are shifty. If your personal email address is what you use as your primary email, you’ve basically told the world that every email you send and every email you receive is okay with everyone else on the planet.
#4 You could get blacklisted
It’s tough to find an email inbox that’s not over-run with spam these days.
On the one hand, spam isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. Cramming all that garbage into your email box might seem like the least of your worries.
But here’s a little secret: it isn’t.
Using fake email addresses to sign up for websites can have some pretty serious consequences. In fact, according to Mailchimp itself, using fake email addresses is one of the biggest mistakes if you’re trying to build a brand.
#5 Your emails could get flagged as spam
Don’t use fake email addresses.
I know, I know, it’s a little counterintuitive to tell you to never use a fake email address. But you shouldn’t do it.
Your fake email address could get flagged as spam.
Your real business email address could get flagged as spam.
You’re setting yourself up for more work later on.
Here’s what not to do:
Don’t put a smiley face or any other symbol in place of your “at” symbol. For example, if your email is email@example.com, don’t use nam3@email…meet.com; don’t use firstname.lastname@example.org; don’t use @email@example.com where @name is really a happy face or any other symbol.
#6 You could get sued
I see brand managers use fake email addresses all the time.
They try to make their email address look real, but it’s always something like:
Because they know that people’s inboxes are already flooded with junk, so if someone sends an email from those addresses, it might not get read.
The thing is, this is very risky for a few reasons:
1) If you get sued and you have to produce documents showing how and when you communicated certain things, you will be screwed if your documents (and your customer’s) originated from “fake” addresses.
2) The more you try to mask your identity and pretend to be someone else, the more likely it is that you’ll slip up and send a message from your real address and that will become part of the evidence in the lawsuit.
#7 You could be fined by the FTC
I get it, you’re working hard to grow your business and you need generates leads. But there are so many ways to do this. You don’t have to commit fraud.
In fact, if you use fake email addresses to grow your business, you risk getting fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In 2010 the FTC fined Vemma Nutrition Company $238 million for using fake email addresses.
The FTC explains it best on their website: “A company that advertises or otherwise promotes a product to generate leads or sales should have a reasonable basis to believe that the leads or sales originates from bona fide prospective purchasers… Examples of conduct that violate the Rule include misrepresenting how consumers will be charged or how frequently they will be contacted, or misrepresenting the extent to which buyers have been exposed to or have purchased a seller’s products or services.
#8 You could be banned from using certain email services
There’s an old marketing trick that numerous internet marketers use, that doesn’t have a lot of people on the web too happy. They create fake emails and then use them to register for free services such as Dropbox, Ebay, and other forms of online storage services. It’s meant to boost your numbers and look good to potential customers. While it does increase your numbers, unfortunately, it also can get you banned from the service you’re using. Not only that, but there are plenty of other reasons you should not use fake email addresses.
#9 Your account could be suspended or deleted
Scammers love fake email addresses because it makes it easy for them to steal your account. So don’t give it to them.
Even if it’s not a real account, they can still suspend your account for having an invalid email address.
You lose access to all of your content and data. And you likely won’t be able to get your account back.
Don’t risk it. Create a real email address to use on your account.
#10 Your IP address could be blacklisted
Last night I was looking for a client’s site and I clicked on the link in an email, which led me to a fake site (with a made-up domain name). The phishing scam was convincing enough that I almost filled out the form. “Luckily,” I remembered my manners and went to see if the email address was real. It wasn’t.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t use fake email addresses on your web forms.
Your IP address could be blacklisted. Email addresses are verified, so if you use a fake one, the spam filter might catch it and label your IP address as spam.
I think most people are familiar with spam filters, but what exactly do they do? Spam filters try to detect spam by analyzing emails as they arrive. A spam filter might decide that an email is spam if its sender uses many different email accounts, or if the sender seems to be sending out many different emails at once.
#11 Your internet service provider could be notified about your activities
Your internet service provider is not just checking to see whether or not you are in credit. They are also keeping tabs on what you are browsing online, and if you are smart, you will not want this to happen.
There is a misconception that by using a fake email address, your online activities will remain anonymous. They won’t.
When it comes to internet privacy, many people make the mistake of thinking that using a fake email address means that no one will ever be able to tell what they are doing online. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Your internet service provider can track your internet activity and can find out what you are doing online even if you use a fake email address.
#12 You could be prosecuted for fraud or identity theft
When you’re selling online, one of the most important things is ensuring that you’re signing up customers with valid emails addresses. You want to know that emails sent to these addresses will reach the inbox of your customers.
But in our quest to make sure that our orders are going to the right place, we may be tempted to sign up users with fake email addresses.
While this may seem like a great shortcut, it can actually end up hurting your business in the long run. It could even get you into trouble with the law.
Breaking The Law: In certain contexts, utilizing an invalid email address is directly against the law. For example, when you’re selling on marketplaces like Amazon, the platform has recently made it a rule that you cannot use fake email addresses.
#13 You could end up in jail
That’s what happened to a Minnesota man who was sentenced to five years. A fake email address is a big no-no for companies, but it’s assumed perfectly legal for individuals.
Fake email addresses are useful for validating phone numbers and signing up for trials and newsletters. Fake email addresses serve as a layer of protection from spammers and scammers who can’t see your information by looking at your IP address.
But there are risks associated with fake email addresses. Many times, when you try to fill out a form on a website, and you aren’t sure whether the email address is real or not, you’ll put in a disposable address like: [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]
If you do this, you’re opening yourself up to prosecution. Using fake email addresses to commit fraud is against the law, and it’s the same if you use one to sign up for an account or enter a sweepstakes.
#14 You would miss out on important information from the people you’re trying to reach
A lot of people ask me if they should use a fake email address when they’re trying to reach out for leads. The answer is no, you shouldn’t. Even if you’re not engaging in lead generation activities, there are legitimate reasons why you should refrain from using a fake email address. You’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money to build up your brand and you don’t want to lose it just because you didn’t take the time to get a real email address.
#15 It’s just not worth it!
You know that feeling you get when you find an awesome new product, tell your friends about it, and then…no one buys it? You get that sinking feeling of having all that work for nothing.
Or maybe you’re an affiliate marketer who spends hours building a detailed review of a product, only to have your links go viral, rank high on Google, and then not sell anything because no one is clicking on it?
If this has happened to you, please listen to me: STOP USING FAKE EMAIL ADDRESSES TO BUILD TRUST!
It’s just not worth it!
Trust is hard to build. The more we’re online, the more we see scary stories of fraud and deception with fake addresses. For example, there was a guy who was selling fake email addresses in bulk to people who were interested in buying them. He was getting paid by the number of emails he sold.
1. What are fake email addresses?
Fake email addresses are when someone uses an email address that is not their own.
2. Why do people use fake email addresses?
People use fake email addresses for a variety of reasons, such as to sign up for multiple free trials or to avoid giving their real email address to a company.
3. How can using a fake email address negatively impact someone?
There are several ways that using a fake email address can negatively impact someone. For example, they may not receive important information that is sent to the fake email address, or their real email address may be spammed with unwanted emails.
Overall, it is best to avoid using fake email addresses to avoid potential negative consequences.