Nordstrom: More High-End Clothing for a Spamtrap

Seattle-based department store Nordstrom is sending email advertisements to a recently re-enabled email address that closed in 2005. This spamtrap almost certainly never existed at all; the domain never had more than three or four live email addresses. The ESP is Cheetahmail, a subsidiary of Experian.

This is a second case of what I suspect to be a typoed email address recently added to a list. (I just blogged about the first a few minutes ago.) Just think about it. How many retailers ask for email addresses at the checkout stand? How many harried clerks must type that email address into a database while customers wait impatiently? How many written notes are typed in at day’s end? And what sort of results would you expect from this process?

Yeah. Me too. :/

Retailers who ask for and collect email addresses from customers at points-of-sale should ALWAYS confirm those email addresses before adding them to lists. This is especially true for high-volume retailers such as department stores, because they collect enough email addresses at the cash register that — sooner or later — they are bound to hit a few spamtraps. Some of those spamtraps might not belong to a cranky blogger, but a blacklist (Spamhaus, anyone?), or Return Path.

Sending IP:

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from ( [])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Tue, 11 Sep 2012 19:xx:xx -0000 (UT)
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2012 19:xx:xx -0000
Message-ID: <<xxx>>
List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:rm-<xxx>>
From: "NORDSTROM" <>
To: <xxx>
Subject: Sporty Chic: New Jackets from Nike, The North Face & More
MIME-Version: 1.0
Reply-To: "NORDSTROM" <support-<xxx>>
Content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary="<xxx>"

Readable Email:

To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Sporty Chic: New Jackets from Nike, The North Face & More
Reply-To: NORDSTROM <support-<xxx>>

You don’t have to be an athlete to rock the activewear trend.

This is an advertising message from

To view this e-mail online, click here<xxx>

1700 Seventh Avenue, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98101

Nordstrom Privacy Policy<xxx>

To make sure you continue to receive our e-mails optimally and in your in-box (not sent to bulk or junk folders), please add to your address book or safe sender list.

TO OPT-DOWN OR UNSUBSCRIBE: This e-mail was sent to you because you are a valued Nordstrom customer. To receive fewer updates or remove yourself from our e-mail program, please change your e-mail preferences.<xxx>

2 Responses to Nordstrom: More High-End Clothing for a Spamtrap

  1. Thanks so much letting us know about this–we are looking into how this could have happened and will work with the client to take steps to avoid this in the future.

  2. The situation is still ongoing, five and a half years later and on another ESP. The data quality issues arising from handwritten point-of-sale signups are still there.

    (I am a happy subscriber… and I handed them a biz card so even if the manual data entry point is still valid, at least it was from a typeset source. :-D)

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