What should you do with ZeroBounce catch all emails and how to validate them?

If you’ve landed on this article, chances are that you’ve used a tool like ZeroBounce and encountered the all-too-common dilemma of what should you do with a large pile of ZeroBounce catch-all emails.

On the one hand, you risk greatly hurting your sender reputation if you decide to keep them. If you don’t validate ZeroBounce catch all emails first, that can lead on average to a 9% bounce rate and will damage your email deliverability. Likewise, 23% of your catch-all or risky email addresses from your lead list will hard bounce.

On the other hand, you can miss out on hundreds if not thousands of untapped opportunities and leads if you decide to just throw your ZeroBounce catch all emails away. Valid catch-all emails have 67% higher engagement rates because they are targeted less and are often treasure-troves of contacts. 

Don’t worry. In this post, we’ll cover exactly how to verify catch-all emails that you get from ZeroBounce and why properly validating your catch-all emails can be make or break for the overall performance of your cold email campaigns. 

But first, what does catch all mean in ZeroBounce? 

Think of catch all ZeroBounce emails as your business’s communication safety net. It’s set up so that one special mailbox in a catch-all domain catches every single incoming email sent to your company’s domain. No matter what someone types before the “@” in your email address, the email won’t miss its target. 

An email validation service like ZeroBounce uses an underlying technology called SMTP validation. ZeroBounce splits your emails into 3 scenarios: valid emails, invalid emails, and accept/catch-alls.

When you run your email list through ZeroBounce, you’ll typically find an average of 40-50% of your email list comes out as valid.

The issue is that the other 50% is typically classified as invalid or catch-all emails from your catch-all domain. In other words, this is a huge chunk of your email list that you could be missing out on.

The risks of ZeroBounce catch all emails: 

You must be wondering, is it okay to email catch all addresses? 

If you send emails to ZeroBounce catch all email addresses without checking them first, you might end up with a lot of bounced emails. This can really hurt how your emails are delivered in the future and can make your email marketing efforts less effective, especially if you’re sending out a bunch of them.

Why does this happen? Well, when you send emails to a lot of addresses that are either wrong or don’t exist, people don’t engage with them as much. This lack of engagement can make you look bad as a sender and make your future emails less likely to hit the mark.

It’s like a domino effect – one small error, and suddenly your emails aren’t getting through as they should, more of them are bouncing back, and you might even get flagged as spam.

  • Risk of increased bounce rates

Emails with ZeroBounce catch all status can lead to higher bounce rates if the email domain stops accepting emails, turning them into potential spam traps.

  • Difficulty in verification:

Traditional email verification methods struggle to accurately assess the validity of a catch-all address.

  • Impact on email marketing:  

Mismanagement of catch-all emails can lead to reduced email deliverability and sender reputation, underscoring the importance of email hygiene.

Understanding and effectively managing catch-all emails is crucial for maintaining the health and effectiveness of email marketing campaigns.

The problem with ZeroBounce’s AI scoring for catch-all emails

If you’re using ZeroBounce for your email lists, you’ve probably come across its AI scoring system, ZeroBounce A.I.

It’s like getting a weather forecast for each email address. The system rates each email on a scale from 0 to 10, trying to predict how likely it is to be a valid address and assigning a quality score. But here’s the catch: ZeroBounce’s scoring is more about guessing than guaranteeing.

Just like a weather report might say there’s a 70% chance of rain, ZeroBounce A.I. might give an email a high quality score, but it doesn’t guarantee it won’t bounce back (it merely suggests a lower risk). It’s just an educated guess, not a concrete validation which leaves room for uncertainty.

This can be tricky because if you rely solely on this AI scoring, you’ll end up making decisions that could backfire which could be completely devastating for your cold email campaigns. 

While ZeroBounce gives you a hint about the risk level of risky emails, it stops short of giving you the full picture. It doesn’t truly tell you whether it’s safe to send to these emails or not. That’s a big gap, especially when you’re trying to make sure your emails reach their destination.

ZeroBounce A.I opens you up to a ton of risks including: 

  • Misjudging the deliverability of an email address, leading to invalid emails being mistakenly categorized.
  • Inadvertently excluding potentially valuable leads.
  • Increasing the chances of email bounces and harming your email reputation.

The reliance on AI or email scoring underscores the need for more concrete email validation tools and methods in managing catch-all emails effectively.

Scrubby’s approach: a direct solution to ZeroBounce catch all emails

Moving away from the guesswork of AI scoring, Scrubby offers a clear-cut, reliable way to validate your catch-all emails. Here’s how Scrubby stands out:

  • Real testing with burner accounts:

Think of Scrubby as a hands-on email detective and email verifier. It uses what’s called burner accounts to send test emails directly to those tricky catch-all addresses. 

This way, Scrubby talks directly to the mail server and gets the real scoop on whether an email is valid or not. 

This direct testing method allows for actual interaction with the mail server, providing concrete results.

  • Cutting through the guesswork: 

By directly testing catch-all addresses, Scrubby effectively overcomes the uncertainties associated with AI scoring. This method ensures: 

  • Less worry or risk of false positives or negatives.
  • Enhanced accuracy in determining the deliverability of catch-all emails.
  • More confidence in knowing that your catch all emails will reach their destination. 
  • Assurance that the ZeroBounce catch all emails on your list are genuinely usable

Scrubby’s method is all about making sure every email on your list is there for a good reason, following top-notch email list management practices.

It’s truly the only email validation tool that can validate risky and catch-all emails. 

How Scrubby.io makes validating ZeroBounce catch-all emails easy

You can get started with Scrubby.io for free and see how it works in 3 simple steps: 

  1. Submit your list

Got a list of emails with ZeroBounce catch all status? Just upload it to Scrubby’s platform. It’s the go-to tool for those hard-to-validate emails.

  1. The scrubbing magic

Here’s where Scrubby gets busy. It sends out blank emails to your list, testing each address to see if it’s valid.

  1. Get your results fast

Within 48-72 hours, Scrubby gets back to you with the results. This wait time is crucial because some emails might take a couple of days to bounce back.

And the best part? Scrubby is the only tool out there that can really get into the nitty-gritty of validating risky and catch-all emails. You can even try it out with up to 100 emails for free – no catch, no hidden fees.

Scrubby is known as one of the industry-leading resources on all things to do with catch-all emails. 

Key differences between Scrubby.io and ZeroBounce A.I. 

When it comes to making sure your catch-all emails are good to go, there’s a big difference between how ZeroBounce A.I and Scrubby do things: 

  • ZeroBounce’s guessing game

ZeroBounce relies on AI to predict email validity, whereas Scrubby uses actual email interactions for validation.

  • Accuracy and reliability

Scrubby’s method provides a higher degree of accuracy and reliability in validating catch-all emails. It directly tests the email’s deliverability, unlike the AI scoring system, which only offers a probabilistic assessment.

  • Business impact

The direct validation approach of Scrubby ensures that businesses can confidently include or exclude emails from their campaigns, leading to:

  • Lower bounce rates.
  • Improved email campaign effectiveness.
  • Enhanced sender reputation.

In summary, Scrubby’s direct validation method offers a more reliable solution for email marketers looking to effectively manage their catch-all emails, ensuring that every email account on their list contributes positively to their marketing efforts. 

A real life example of Scrubby on ZeroBounce catch all emails 

We’ve been in the lead generation space for over 20 years and have thousands of customers trust our software. The image below shows all of the data from our 5 biggest customers who compiled lists using traditional tools such as ZeroBounce. 

Now, let’s talk numbers. These customers had a total of 101,224 emails on their lists. When they ran these through ZeroBounce, they found that only 41% of the emails were good to go, 17% were no good, and a big chunk – 42% – were in the risky or catch-all category.

Now in most scenarios, you would go after just the 41% emails that were valid and disregard the invalid and catch-all emails. That’s until Scrubby.

Usually, you’d focus on the 41% of valid email addresses and forget about the rest, right? But here’s where Scrubby.io changes the game.

With Scrubby, we managed to turn 32,549 of those risky or ZeroBounce catch-all emails into valid ones. That’s a huge 32% of the list that was almost overlooked! 

By using Scrubby, not only do you save money by salvaging more of your email list, but you also get to reach out to people who aren’t bombarded with cold emails all the time. 

That’s the magic of Scrubby.io for you.

Wrapping things up

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve seen the dilemma with ZeroBounce catch all emails. 

On one side, there’s the risk of damaging your sender reputation with high bounce rates if you include them without validation. 

On the other, you could be missing out on a goldmine of opportunities by discarding them.

Using a true catch all email verification tool like Scrubby can give you the confidence you need to make informed decisions about your email campaigns. 

The end result? More booked meetings, more pipeline, and more revenue. 

Frequently asked questions about ZeroBounce catch all emails

1. What does it mean when an email is catch all?

An email being catch-all indicates that the server for that domain is programmed to receive all emails sent to it, regardless of the local part of the address (the part before the ‘@’). This is often a feature used by businesses to prevent missing emails due to errors in the address. However, it also means that the specific recipient of the email cannot be guaranteed.

2. Should you send emails to catch-all emails? 

Sending emails to catch-all addresses requires caution. While these addresses will accept emails, there’s a higher risk of low engagement and potential harm to your sender reputation due to bounces or being marked as spam. It’s recommended to validate these emails first to assess the risk and improve the chances of your emails reaching the intended recipients.

3. Is it okay to email catch-all addresses?

Emailing catch-all addresses is okay, but it’s important to be aware of the risks. These addresses are more prone to result in bounces and can affect your email campaign’s performance. Using a validation tool to assess the risk and clean your list can help in making more informed decisions about including catch-all addresses in your campaigns. 

4. Will catch-all emails bounce?

While catch-all emails are designed to accept all emails sent to a domain, they can still bounce under certain conditions, such as if the server rejects emails due to issues like a full mailbox. It’s important to remember that a catch-all setup doesn’t guarantee successful delivery to a specific recipient.

5. What is an example of a catch-all email?

An example of a catch-all email setup is if a company has the domain “mycompany.com” and configures its email server to receive all emails sent to this domain. So, emails sent to addresses like support@mycompany.com, info@mycompany.com, or any other address at this domain will all be received, even if some of those addresses are not individually set up.

6. What should an email never do?

An email should never compromise privacy or professionalism. It should avoid sharing sensitive personal data, using inappropriate or offensive language, and being overly casual in a professional context. Emails should also not be too lengthy without clear purpose, as this can lead to miscommunication and disengagement.

7. When should emails be avoided?

Emails should be avoided in situations requiring immediate response or personal interaction, such as emergencies or sensitive discussions. They are also not ideal for complex or nuanced topics that are better suited for face-to-face or phone conversations to avoid misunderstandings.

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Kristel Kongas

Kristel Kongas is a lead generation and fintech growth strategist, serving as the Chief Marketing Officer for Vendisys, Scrubby, Golden Leads, Inboxy, and other Vendisys entities. She is also the Founder and CEO of The New Cup Agency, a boutique marketing firm, and an active member of the Estonian Business Angels. Alongside her professional roles, Kristel is a dedicated life and fitness coach, blending her business acumen with a commitment to personal well-being.