Introducing Disposable Email Detection

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Since started we've aimed to provide ever increasing useful data about IP addresses. At first we could tell you if an IP was a proxy server and later if it was a VPN. Then we added location, network and specific operator data.

All of this has been to empower service providers to restrict their content to real people in real places so they can protect their communities and livelihoods from the negative effects of anonymising services.

Now for the first time we're launching an entirely new type of check, email. And specifically we're going to be detecting disposable email services to let you know whether your user or customer will be contactable long term.

This is a big problem for service operators who need to keep in contact with their users and even for websites like our own where we offer a generous free plan that results in a huge amount of account creation abuse, almost all of which is enabled through the use of disposable email addresses.

And so we feel there is a good synergy here, emails are just another kind of address. We do however want to make a distinction. We're not going to be detecting privacy respecting email services as disposable when the addresses they generate are always attached to the same individual.

Which means services like iCloud which offer users a unique email address for every service they signup for would not be considered disposable and would not show as disposable on our API.

However services that make a unique mailbox available only for a short time period (minutes to days) will be shown on our API as disposable.

We've been working on this feature since last year and we feel the timing is now right to launch. As of this post disposable email detection is live and available through our latest version of the v2 API dated Dec 21. You can check IP addresses and email addresses in the same exact way, by placing them in a GET or POST request. Each email you check uses one query just like IP addresses do.

And you can even check both an IP address and an email address in the same request, just like how you can check two or more IP addresses today.

One important thing to discuss here is privacy. Sending your users email addresses to us is a very sensitive thing. What we'll be doing with them after you send them to us is a very important question.

Firstly you don't need to send us their full email. Just the @domain.tld is needed. For instance you can send the email as [email protected] instead of [email protected].

Secondly any email address we receive that isn't considered a disposable address is instantly discarded once your request to the API is fulfilled, they are not saved anywhere.

And that is because we do not want to save them, it's unnecessary for this feature to function. However any positively detected addresses, meaning we considered them as disposable will be saved just once and only in your positive detection log that is viewable only to you within your account dashboard. We will not be processing them or storing them anywhere else but your account log. And if you don't want this to happen you can even disable all logging by providing the &tag=0 flag with all your requests to us.

So how does this work with your account and daily allowance, well every account whether free or paid has the same per-day query allowance which you can now use to check email addresses in addition to IP addresses. It's just that simple, one query is one query no matter which kind of check you're performing.

And you can now whitelist or blacklist email addresses just how you can with IP addresses, ranges and AS numbers. As of today the custom rule feature isn't enabled for use on email addresses but that will likely change in the future as we expand on our email feature.

We've already shown this feature to a few developers of 3rd party compatible plugins and also customers who we work closely with and we've received great feedback from both communities. In-fact we already have many feature requests including generalised email validation. While we cannot commit to such features today perhaps that is an avenue our email checking will go down in the future.

So that is the new email feature. You'll find the API documentation has been updated including our test console also found on the API page. Feel free to send in some feedback if you have some ideas or a feature request.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week.