What is a Disposable Email Address and How to Spot One

What is a Disposable Email Address and How to Spot One

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For all the progress technology has made in the recent past, email is still the number one way of reaching potential customers. Consider the following: 

If you’re a company in the 21st century, you probably have an email marketing campaign. At this point, it’s a necessity for generating leads and connecting with existing customers. It’s never been as easy as simply gathering addresses and sending messages, but lately the stakes have been raised even higher.

More emails are being sent than ever before—and that includes spam. Increasingly, consumers have felt bombarded by spam messages, leading them to feel cagey about who they share their information with. It makes sense on the surface, until you realize that this, in turn, has led to the proliferation of the disposable email address, or DEA. 

In the interest of avoiding spam and keeping their inboxes tidy, users have turned to DEAs. Marketers are now in a tight spot: how do you get through to a customer who won’t give you a way to contact them? Read on to figure out what disposable email addresses are, what they mean for your business, and how to identify them.

What’s a disposable email address?

Before we get into how to deal with a DEA, we should examine what qualifies as one. (They’re also known as burner email addresses or disposable mailboxes.) There are three basic types:

  • An alias is an alternate form of the user’s main email address. These can be created within popular services such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail. Email sent to an alias is filtered to a folder outside of the primary inbox. Technically, many alias addresses will still result in a delivered email and thus may not be flagged as a disposable address.
  • A forwarding account is created with a separate email domain. It forwards emails to the user’s primary account. 
  • A non-forwarding or throwaway account is a one-time use email address. It does not forward emails and often becomes unavailable after a certain period of time. These are generally responsible for skewed bounce rates.

No matter which form the DEA takes, the end result is the same—your business doesn’t receive an actual email address, which skews your analytics and harms your company’s reputation.

Worse yet, these services are free to use, simultaneously making them an easy solution to the burgeoning problem of spam and a thorn in the side of email marketers everywhere. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s easy to see why a DEA is tempting. Most services require an email address upon sign up, but with each signup comes an increased likelihood of encountering spam.

Say a company you willingly signed up with is hacked, and your email ends up on a spam list. Suddenly, you’re receiving a deluge of emails that you never asked for! Assuming you use a main email address for business and personal reasons, that’s time out of your day spent combating unwanted messages. DEAs offer an accessible way to attain some peace of mind.

But from the business perspective...

How they damage your business 

As much of a boon as disposable emails are to consumers, they’re bad for business—especially software as a service (SaaS) companies. They’re at odds with companies who want to create healthy, active email databases. Below are a few of the ways DEAs can impact your bottom line.

It signals a break in trust between you and your customers

Data breaches and other mismanagement horror stories have become commonplace. Instead of trusting companies by default, consumers have become more conservative about who they willingly provide with their information. If you find a rash of DEAs in your mailing list, it could signal distrust from your customers. 

Your free services are being abused

Incentives to opt-in to an email list or download an app are ripe for manipulation. Some will want to use the free trial or discount more than one; this can be done quickly and easily with the help of a DEA. Ultimately, it complicates the process of converting trial customers into paid customers, resulting in a lower bottom line. 

It artificially increases your churn rate

Churn, or the percentage of new subscribers who remove themselves from your email list within a short period of time, is unavoidable. Since churn rate is calculated on a basic level by dividing your total lost customers with your total customers within that time period, the results are going to be skewed since that equation doesn’t account for people who were using temporary email addresses.

They skew your analytics

If you have thousands of email subscribers but only a select few who actually open and read your emails, you aren’t reaching as many potential customers. And in the case of those who used a DEA, you’re not reaching anyone at all! 

You could be blacklisted

Bad sending practices negatively impact your IP reputation, which determines whether emails are sent to a user’s inbox or relegated to the spam folder. One of those bad practices is sending out emails to unknown users—in this case, it may be a throwaway account that has since expired. Too many bounced emails sent to these accounts can result in your being branded as a spammer. This makes it unlikely for your content to reach legitimate users in the future, as it’ll go straight into their spam inbox.

How to identify a disposable email address

Disallowing signups from established DEA domains seems like an easy step. But it’s not that simple. Not only are there dozens of existing domains already, there are more being added on a daily basis. Keeping track of them is almost impossible. 

You could always monitor inboxes yourself and perform periodic audits to check the delivery status of your emails on a daily basis. But even reading that is exhausting.

The easiest solution? Use a third party API that can efficiently detect faux email addresses. Which brings us to our next section. 

How NeverBounce Helps with Disposable Email Addresses

NeverBounce is a scalable, secure platform capable of cleaning email lists of any size. It does this by utilizing a hybrid verification method to provide the most accurate results in the industry. Here’s how it works for you. 


Email hygiene shouldn’t be overlooked—after all, it’s one of the factors your brand image depends on. Email deliverability, a reduced bounce rate, a sparkling reputation, and increased data accuracy are all benefits of a squeaky-clean list. 

The bad news is that 30% of emails go bad in only one year. And if more than 10% of the emails on your list are bad, less than 44% of them are delivered successfully. A clean list circumvents this issue and preserves your reputation as a sender.

With NeverBounce, you can upload and clean lists, then download segmented results from your dashboard for a complete look at your statistics. Our multi-step cleaning process checks emails up to 75 times from locations around the globe to ensure deliverability.


We know that email marketing is one of the top traffic-driving channels, which is why it’s important to verify emails. The process of checking the accuracy and quality of an email address reduces bounce rates, increases ROI, and improves customer engagement. 

NeverBounce verifies an address right at the point of entry, heading off phony emails coming in through your lead pages or web forms. You can connect via multiple methods, including Zapier, a custom API, and a JavaScript Widget. You can also check out your stats with our dashboard.


Cleaning constantly can be a hassle. A simple one-time setup to connect your email provider to NeverBounce for automated cleaning guarantees accurate data 24/7. That means every time you press send, your data is clean. 

Disposable email addresses may be an annoyance to every marketer, but there are ways to root them out and ensure a pristine list. Best of all, putting in the time and energy into keeping your lists clean ensures positive results for your ROI, brand image, and beyond. Don’t wait for signs that your email list has been compromised—proactivity is the key to staying on top of your data and avoiding larger issues down the road.

NeverBounce ensures you never send to a dirty list again. Try It Free

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