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Catch-all Email Explained

Identify which email addresses on your list are catch-all
There are pros and cons to catch all email accounts. Therefore, it is important to understand what they are and how can have an impact on your email marketing campaigns. Avoid added hard bounces, and take our advice on best practices when dealing with catch all email addresses.

What is a catch-all email?

If you’re a business, you know the importance of communication. Making sure all clients and potential clients can connect with you when they need to is an integral part of any business. Knowing this, email service providers created the option for something called a catch-all account. But what is a catch-all email?

Imagine for a moment that you’re a consumer desperately trying to get in contact with the famous ExampleStore to make a huge order of examples. As you frantically type in the email address you were given, you accidentally type in saels@examplestore.com instead of sales@examplestore.com. An honest mistake, but now your email will never reach the sales department and you can’t make your purchase.

To avoid these tragic missed sales, companies set up catch-all accounts. These accounts receive every email sent to your domain, even if the email name isn’t registered with your domain. These servers are set to accept all emails, even ones that don’t exist. That way, the unfortunate accident described above won’t happen to you.

Benefits of catch-all email:

This is obviously a very helpful tool for businesses, which is why about 30% of all B2B email servers are catchall servers. Aside from simply ensuring that a business receives all emails sent to their domain, catch-all emails have other benefits for businesses. One of the main benefits is helping build relationships with their users.

It’s easy to forget that, even in digital marketing, we’re dealing with people. This is especially easy to forget when talking about B2B marketing. There is a person connected to that email, and just like in B2C marketing, that person needs to feel engaged and included in your business. A better relationship with the person behind an email address ensures a better relationship with the business that person represents.

The catch all servers ensure that you, as a business owner, aren’t missing any leads, customer issues or simple inquiries coming from your base. This type of guaranteed communication makes sure that you can be the best business possible, creating better relationships with your customers.


Catchalls and hard bounces:

Though catch-all emails are a great way to ensure that a business is getting every email sent to their domain, they can also be dangerous for marketers trying to reach out to these businesses. These catch-all emails can lead to hard bounces for B2B marketers which will damage your sender score and inevitable lead to you wasting your time and money. Wondering how something as simple as a catch-all email can do this type of damage to B2B marketers?

Businesses with catch-all emails want to see each email being sent to them, so they’ll regularly set their emails to take in each email sent to them, but that doesn’t mean that all of these emails remain delivered. A business can easily set their catch-all email to initially receive emails, only to later reject those same emails.

This setup is put in place so business owners can review emails, set priorities and then deal with unwanted emails as they deem appropriate. Those “unwanted emails” aren’t simply left in the inbox. They are bounced. These delayed bounces can wreak havoc on a B2B marketing campaign.

Hard bounces occur when an email is returned to you because the sender doesn’t exist or the address is invalid. You would think that catch-all emails would insure that these situations don’t happen, but unfortunately that’s not true. A catch-all email can still reject your email and have it sent back to you. The difference is that a catch-all email would initially accept your email only to later reject it.

By repeatedly sending emails to a catch-all email, that later get rejected, ending in a hard bounce, you’re telling email service providers (ESPs) that you are not being careful with where your emails go. ESPs first and most important mission is to protect their users from potentially harmful content. A domain that regularly sends emails to an address that later results in hard bounces indicates that you are a potential threat to their users. This is the first step of being redirected to spam, or worse, being put on a blacklist.


So sending email to a catch-all is potentially threatening to your sender score, but not engaging with businesses in fear of engaging with a catch-all account isn’t a solution. What do you do? Luckily, Xverify is way ahead of you. We identify catch-all emails as you upload them to your list.

By identifying catch-all emails as you received them, you can more effectively track them. We suggest that you segment out catch-all emails and watch them closely. Emails that are delivered and engaged with can be moved to your primary mailing list. If a catch-all email is stagnant, however, it’s important to watch it. If the email sent to a certain domain later results in a hard bounce, remove this email from your list and protect your sender score.

We all know that B2B marketing is different than B2C, with its own list of challenges and struggles. Catch-all email is one of those challenges. Though these emails make sense for a business, it can severely deter the campaigns of B2B marketers. Thankfully, the team at Xverify is looking out for your best interest. By segmenting out catch-all emails you can protect your data, your marketing dollars and your sender score.

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