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Catch-All: Should you include them in your Cold Emails campaigns?

Everything you need to know and understand about Catch-All emails

Catch-All emails 🀨 This term sometimes sounds a bit brutal to you. They should not.

A domain configured in Catch-All resides in the fact that email addresses from that domain are not verifiable.

No email verification solution can validate the existence of an email address on a domain in Catch-All.

An email verification test is different from a test of the actual sending of the email.

If you send emails to a domain in Catch-All, you will sometimes get non-existent email returns. That is called a bounce.

πŸ’‘ A bounce is the return of an email that you have sent and has not been temporarily or permanently delivered to its recipient. You then receive an error message informing you of this. We explain in the article dedicated to bounces.

Domain configuration

Beyond the "technical" settings detailed in this article, we can configure a mailbox to specify how to receive the intended emails.

πŸ‘‡πŸ» In the examples, a person wants to send an email to denis@dropcontact.io, but makes a mistake and send it to deni@dropcontact.io - without the "s".

Illustration of a default configured domain

Generally, an email domain can only receive emails addressed to an existing address. πŸ’‘ In this case, the verification solutions can validate an email address on average 90% of the time (98% for Dropcontact).

If you send an email to prenom.nom@dropcontact.io when the address is prenom@dropcontact.io, your email will bounce, so it will never reach its recipient.
configuring the default email domain name
Default Domain Configuration

Domain configured in Catch-All

Conversely, a domain configured in Catch-All does not return any information during a validity check. It becomes impossible to check whether the address currently exists or not.

Most of the time, large companies configure their domain in Catch-All.

Suppose the @example.com domain is configured to capture all email addresses of the example.com domain. All emails sent to undefined addresses of this domain will be redirected to a "catch-all" address.


Illustration of a domain configured in Catch-All

Generally, a domain in Catch-All accepts all emails. πŸ’‘Le domain does not send any bounce messages if the email address does not exist. The email is sent, but without certainty that it reaches the target person => undetectable in tests

Setting up the catch-all email domain - bounce-free
Catch-All configuration without bounces of an email domain


There's something even more subtle...

Domain configured as Catch-All with bounce

Since Catch-Alls are not identifiable, email sales and enrichment companies market invalid or obsolete email addresses... πŸ‘€ without being aware that no one will receive the email.

A new domain configuration has appeared in the last 4-5 years: the Catch-All that bounces.

Illustration of a domain configured in Catch-All with bounce

πŸ’‘ The particularity of the Catch-All is that these addresses are not verifiable during testing and will not return an error message. But in the configuration of a domain in Catch-All, when an email is sent if the recipient's email address doesn't exist, there is a bounce-back => undetectable during the sending test.

Setting up the catch-all email domain - with bounce
Catch-All configuration of an email domain, with bounce
In any case, it is impossible today to verify the existence of an email address whose domain is configured in Catch-All.

There are, therefore 3 domain configurations

  • Domain configured as standard: testable and verifiable
  • Bounce-free Catch-All configured domain: undetectable
  • Domain configured as Catch-All with bounce: undetectable in upload tests

Adapt your strategy for Catch-All domains

Approximately 30% of B2B email servers are configured with Catch-All, so it's essential to understand the impact Catch-All can have on your cold email strategy.

If you are on the sender's side, there are also advantages (for real!) and disadvantages.

πŸ‘ŽπŸ» The disadvantages of Catch-All

  • Before actually sending the email, you can't know (and no one can now) whether the Catch-All email address will bounce or not.
  • Even if the email has been sent, you can't be 100% sure that it was received by the right service, the right person.

Catch-All emails are therefore uncertain but without any real risk.

You can expect less efficient results than personal emails, but don't focus too much on KPIs, analyze the final result πŸ€“

πŸ‘πŸ» The benefits of Catch-All

  • Who doesn't try anything has nothing: even if a domain is set up in Catch-All, sending an email to one of these addresses opens a door, a chance to reach a person interested in your message.
  • If you are addressing someone who has left the company, your email will not be lost and will be adequately delivered; and possibly opened by the new person in the position.

Catch-Alls are not the enemies of your Cold Email campaigns!

Even if they bounce, they won't affect your sender domain reputation as long as you do real Cold Emails (less than 100/200 emails per day).

It'd be a shame to miss it. We explain everything: "Cold Email, emails are bouncing... is it serious doctor πŸš‘?"

Detecting email addresses in Catch-All

When you integrate Catch-All into your strategy and live well with it, it is vital to check all your email addresses before sending cold email campaigns.

Here are a few tools that allow you to check the email addresses of your contacts:

  • NeverBounce
  • ZeroBounce
  • Debounce
  • BriteVerify
  • Bouncer
  • DataValidation
  • Dropcontact (although the tool does much more than just check emails)
  • ...

To go further, see the comparison of the effectiveness of each of these solutions.

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Our recommendation: Shoot the Catch-All!‍

Don't remove entire companies from your prospecting target for a pseudo risk of bad domain reputation, open doors to clients who are often high-potential.


The bounce rate should not be a performance indicator: We advise you to analyze the final result of your campaign, namely the conversion rate.

Wrestling no longer holds any secrets for you.
There you go, Catch-Alls have no more secrets for you.


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