Expedia: Offering Wedneday Travel Deals to a Spamtrap

Travel portal Expedia just sent a bulk email to an email address that, if it ever belonged to a real person, closed in 2005. The ESP is ExactTarget.

This spamtrap was recently reenabled after I noticed that it was receiving hits from ESP IPs. Prior to that, email to it would have bounced for several years. ExactTarget normally pays attention to bounce rates, so I suspect that this email address was recently added to Expedia’s list. As I have not seen any significant number of spams from Expedia before, I recommend that they check their bounce handling and ensure that any repeat 5xx-level SMTP bounces are suppressed.

Expedia should also keep a close eye on user engagement, and quit sending email to email addresses that do not appear to be reading their emails. They might also want to consider confirmed opt-in for accounts used to send transactional emails such as booking confirmations for airlines or hotels. I’ve blogged repeatedly about security issues caused by careless banks and businesses who ignore bounces for email addresses that are sent transactional email. Expedia doesn’t want to be on that list.

Sending IP:

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from mta1.expediamail.com (mta1.expediamail.com [])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Wed, 29 Aug 2012 14:xx:xx -0000 (UT)
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Received: by mta1.expediamail.com (PowerMTA(TM) v3.5r15) id <xxx> 
        for <xxx>; Wed, 29 Aug 2012 08:xx:xx -0600 
        (envelope-from <bounce-<xxx>@bounce.expediamail.com>)
From: "Expedia" <usmail@expediamail.com>
To: <xxx>
Subject: Huge travel sale! Wednesday only
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 08:xx:xx -0600
List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:leave-<xxx>@leave.global.expediamail.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Reply-To: "Expedia" <reply-<xxx>@expediamail.com>
x-job: <xxx>
Message-ID: <xxx>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Readable Email:

From: Expedia <usmail@expediamail.com>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Huge travel sale! Wednesday only
Reply-To: Expedia <reply-<xxx>@expediamail.com>

Wednesday’s 24-Hour Sale
The Week’s Best Deals

Paradise is just a click away! We’ve cut our prices until midnight and are sharing the savings.


You are receiving this email because you subscribed to receive promotional emails on Expedia.

This is a daily email you qualified for based on your email preferences.

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Or contact us via postal mail at: Expedia, Inc., attn: DBM Team, 333 108th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004. For additional assistance, visit the Expedia Customer Support Center, or call 1-800-EXPEDIA.

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