Role Accounts: What are They & When Should you Email Them?
What is a Role Account Email Address?
Role account email addresses are typically associated with functions, not individual people. Some that we run into include:
How Many Role Accounts Are There?
FreshAddress tracks over six hundred role account email handles, which of course could be associated with any email domain. If you are already using a service that helps you identify role accounts, make sure it is broad enough list to cover all common languages. Does your provider block the Russian version of “Admin@”? We do!
No, You Can’t Just Block Them All!
There’s no doubt that role accounts can create problems if managed improperly. That doesn’t mean that you can just block them all, willy-nilly. How your treat them depends on 2 key factors:
- The goal of your messaging; and
- Your relationship with the subscriber.
It is unlikely that you want to market to a role account. However, you may wish to transact with one. That’s why FreshAddress allows our clients to allow specific role accounts. Here are a few examples:
- “billing@” could be a legitimate address and one that you wish to send transactional emails.
- “webmaster@” at a personal domain is also likely a real address owned by an individual.
The Dangers of Marketing to Role Accounts
There are 3 key characteristics of role accounts that make marketing to them extremely dangerous:
- They’re usually monitored by a group of people.
- They change ownership frequently.
- Blacklist operators use them as bait to catch harvesters.
This results in the following negative outcomes:
Let’s say you’re sending marketing emails to an “info@” address. That means people other than the one that signed up for your list are receiving your messaging. This is no good for you because:
- Your messaging is not relevant to (or requested by) some recipients and any personalization will be wrong.
- Your odds of reaching the right contact are much worse than sending to a personal address.
- The person who signed up for your list could leave the company. The company could also abandon the address without shutting it down. Both result in your messaging falling on deaf ears.
Spam Complaint Issues
Nothing good comes from trying to market to people who haven’t opted into your list. So, before you go trying to send a flash sale email to role accounts, think about this:
- Some recipients didn’t ask for your email. As a result, there's there's a higher than average chance that they'll delete them or mark them as spam.
- These unintended recipients could be what we so lovingly refer to as “squealers” or frequent spam complainers. They’re going to report you as spam and it’s going to cause problems for you.
- You can’t prove consent for all recipients, which makes it easy to run afoul of anti-spam legislation.
Spamtraps, Blocking, & Blacklisting.
Email harvesters love to scrape role account addresses from websites. Your ESP knows this and watches your list for a high concentration of these accounts. Send to too many and your reputation will suffer. Also, blacklist operators use role accounts as bait. Send to one of these spamtrap addresses and enter a world of pain.
What should you do about role accounts? Have a plan!
You need to have a strategy in place to deal with role accounts. A skilled email hygiene provider can help you identify the ones that might cause problems. And then you can:
- Segment the role account addresses you wish to send transactional emails and manually sign them up with your ESP if necessary.
- Send the remaining role-based addresses a request to sign-up for your list with a personal email address. It's best to do this soon after their initial registration when you're fresh in their mind.