Brooks Brothers: Fine Men’s Clothing for a Spamtrap

Brooks Brothers, the iconic U.S.-based high-end men’s clothing store, is sending bulk email advertisements to a recently-reenabled email address that, if it ever belonged to a real person, closed in 2004. The ESP is ExactTarget.

Unfortunately I have not been watching my logs as closely as I might have, so I cannot say for sure that Brooks Brothers did not send email to this spamtrap previously. ExactTarget’s system (like that of most good ESPs) would normally note and suppress bounced email, however, so I suspect one of the following:

  • Brooks Brothers is a new customer of ExactTarget.
  • The spamtrap was a recent addition to their list, probably via a typo.
  • Brooks Brothers is attempting to resurrect a very old, long-uncontacted list.

A purchased or email appended list are also possible, but nothing particularly points to either of these. If ExactTarget can rule out bounces for the past few months, I would suggest looking at new customers who might have misspelled their email address, or at manually collected email addresses that might have been mistyped into the database. I do not shop at Brooks Brothers, but my experience with many retail stores of all kinds suggests that cashiers frequently ask for an email address which they must then write down or type into a computer system. This type of email address collection results in a lot of bad data unless those email addresses are confirmed by emailing them and asking for the customer to respond.

Most businesses don’t want to confirm because many customers don’t respond to the emails. The cost of their failure to confirm is paid by those who receive the misdirected emails. :/ Although failure to confirm subscriptions and subsequent emails to typoed email addresses is generally considered a lesser offense than deliberate spam to purchased lists, my experience with easily-typoed spamtraps suggests that — where legitimate companies are concerned — typos might be the source of at least as much unsolicited bulk email as purchased or epended lists.

Sending IP:

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from ( [])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Tue, 11 Sep 2012 11:xx:xx -0000 (UT)
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Received: by (PowerMTA(TM) v3.5r16) id <xxx> 
        for <xxx>; Tue, 11 Sep 2012 05:xx:xx -0600 
        (envelope-from <bounce-<xxx>>)
From: "Brooks Brothers" <>
To: <xxx>
Subject: Note Perfect - Fall Sport Shirts
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2012 05:xx:xx -0600
List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:leave-<xxx>>
MIME-Version: 1.0
x-job: <xxx>
Message-ID: <xxx>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Readable Email:

From: Brooks Brothers <>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Note Perfect – Fall Sport Shirts

To ensure future delivery of email, please add to your address book, contacts or safe sender list.



Give your ensemble an ample dose of personality with any of the varied prints, plaids and constructions of our sport shirts.



Update My Email Profile<xxx>

Unsubscribe Me<xxx> | 346 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017 | 1.800.274.1815
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One Response to Brooks Brothers: Fine Men’s Clothing for a Spamtrap

  1. Pingback: Nordstrom: More High-End Clothing for a Spamtrap » MainSleaze

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