When you watch a movie or TV series have you ever noticed when people purchase a “burner phone”, which are temporary mobile phones that you purchase with cash, ready for use immediately and can be disposed of when you aren’t done using it?
Well, did you know there is a burner phone for email?
Hide My Email - A burner phone for email
OK, I get it, everyone is talking about Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) and how it affects the open metrics of emails, but at the Apple developer event in 2021, there was "One more thing", as Steve Jobs used to say. That one more thing was a part of Apple MPP - a new service called "hide my email".
The idea of using disposable email addresses (DEA) is not new. For years, several services have allowed everyone to have different disposable email addresses or temporary emails for every service. Apple MPP made the disposal email service available to everyone who uses Apple devices, and in a nutshell, that's what "hide my email" is all about.
The "Hide My Email" service is built-in into IOS 15 (and also on IPad iOS and Mac OS) and allows Apple users to subscribe to mailing lists and services with a one-time unique "burner email address".
Once recipients want to stop receiving emails, they don't even have to unsubscribe or ask to be removed. They can "burn" the unique email address they signed up with.
3 Advantages of Hide my Email - Temporary and one-time email addresses
There are two types of disposable email addresses: the first type is a temporary email address or disposal email addresses, which have a time-limited validity, for example, 10 minutes, or single-use, and after they expire, they are "burned" and deleted as in the Mission Impossible movies.
The second type is permanent addresses that can be turned off and on as needed. What they do is act as a relay email address forwarding the emails that reach the temporary email addresses to one permanent email address known only to the user.
Similar to the "burner phone", there are advantages to burner email addresses (disposable or temporary email addresses) for different uses.
- Performing software tests or testing customer journeys by creating fictitious registrations on different forms, from various email addresses in each registration
- Simulating different customers
- Testing different scenarios and tracking the journey of each of the email addresses representing different customers.
Users make the most common use of temporary email to combat the spam that floods users' regular email boxes, to download gated content, especially worth downloading without later receiving a flood of emails, or to sign up for various services where the user prefers to remain anonymous.
Apple MPP - Hide My email - What is the risk?
Apple MPP not only disrupts open metrics but also disrupts an email address's value. Now, every Apple customer can remain anonymous without revealing their actual email address.
The new service is embedded into the Safari browser. Through the browser, users can choose to subscribe to newsletters and various services with disposable email addresses that Apple will generate under icloud.com. The emails to the temporary addresses will be routed to a permanent email address of the user's choice.
Marketer Pains with Hide My Email
Disposable email addresses may be a paradise for customers because they have complete control of their inboxes, but it poses a risk and headache for everyone who sends emails.
Email addresses under the "hide my email" service will be unique with each registration. This means that the different email addresses can't be associated with any other customer activity that may have been created in a separate subscription with other email addresses. Apart from the potential problems of a broken "customer journey", this will make it difficult to trace the customer's identity in order to provide them with better service (one customer with several temporary email addresses).
Another risk is related to the validity of an email address. Once a recipient "turns off" ("burn") the temporary email address, any emails you send to that email address will return as a hard bounce.
In terms of Email deliverability, we all must pay attention to the bounce rate and not exceed the 1.5%-2% as an upper threshold.
It is worthwhile for senders to compare hard bounces from icloud.com to the end of 2021 and today. That comparison can help get a hint if there is a rise in the bounce rate of emails using the "hide my email" service.
What can marketers do to protect themselves from temporary email addresses?
As marketers we value our customers' freedom to camouflage behind temporary email addresses, but senders must look at the potential harm of temporary email addresses in email deliverability as a result of hard bounces.
Bounce rate metrics monitoring will allow you to identify if the increasing use of temporary email addresses is harming the health of your email marketing program.
Suppose the use of temporary email addresses causes your program to be abused. In that case, you can use a real-time email validation service like Webbula and block registrations using one-time email addresses while improving your data quality at the point of entry. The real-time email validation service will prevent invalid email addresses from entering your Email platform and bouncing.
What about B2B organizations?
In exchange for receiving gated content, customers can sign up each time with a different email. This makes it difficult for the organization to build a profile of the customer's interest and it can be thought that these are different customers.
Various organizations have "solved" this problem by requiring subscribers to provide only email addresses in corporate domains. This is an advantage in customer journey management and data quality because the corporate domain allows you to associate a new record registered with Account-Based Marketing (ABM) with that organization.
On the other hand, once an employee has left the organization, it is impossible to continue communicating with that employee. In many cases, it can be a miss on the part of the organization to win a new enterprise customer to which the employee has moved.
Email's Value Chain
Are you asking whether a customer who gave you his phone number is using a permanent phone number or a burner phone? Probably not.
Unlike a phone number that can't be identified as a regular, pre-paid, or burner phone, you can identify one-time email address domains, unless the user is using a professional service that allows the creation of temporary email addresses under a custom domain.
Temporary and one-time email addresses can create an opportunity for a customer who prefers to subscribe to a newsletter with a temporary address and enjoys the sense of control.
As the use of temporary email addresses increases, and if it turns out that they are being misused and creating problems for email marketing programs, the role of the senders will be to protect the business's email marketing program.
To protect yourself from temporary email addresses, you can prevent registration for paid services while allowing users to sign up for newsletters or other types of email communication with the organization using temporary email addresses.
At the same time, in my opinion, it is essential to build trusting relationships with recipients who have signed up for mailings using temporary addresses and incentivize them over time to provide a permanent email address.
If you’re having trouble managing ‘hide my email’ temporary email addresses, contact Webbula. Their Multi-Method Email Hygiene will protect you from temporary email addresses and other threats hiding in your database.
About the author
Sella Yoffe is a regular blog contributor for Webbula. You will be hearing more from Sella as he discusses Message Content in our Deliverability Series in October.
Founder | DATAMEDIA | CRM.BUZZ
Email Deliverability & Email Marketing Expert | Podcast host & Blogger @ CRM.BUZZ
Helping companies with their email marketing programs by improving email deliverability, data, segmentation, content, & strategy.