How to Check, Remove and Avoid Email Blacklists?

How to Check, Remove and Avoid Email Blacklists?

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Some emails are never received by recipients. Most of the time, it is due to the hard bounce triggered by the invalid email address. Also, if the sender’s IP address or domain is blacklisted, emails will never reach the inbox. 

That is why in this article you will be able to know how to check, avoid, and remove email blacklists.

What is an Email Blacklist?

An email blacklist or blocklist is a collection of IP addresses or domains blocked from sending emails to email recipients due to spam activities. There are three types of blacklists-

Internal Blacklist- Run by webmail providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.

External Blacklists- Run by security companies such as Cloudmark, Barracuda, Proofpoint, etc.

Other Blacklists- Run by non-profit organizations such as  Spamhaus, SURBL, etc.

How Does Your IP/Domain Gets Blacklisted?

Internet Service Providers such as Gmail and Yahoo use spam filters to identify if an email is delivered, flagged as suspicious, or rejected.

Passing your emails from spam filters is important in email marketing. Otherwise, your emails will land in the junk folder resulting in the blacklist.

Let’s go through some important reasons for getting blacklisted-

  • Caught by spam traps.
  • Recipient’s complaints.
  • Email is used for fraudulent activities such as phishing and hacking etc.
  • An IP address is involved in spam activities such as bulletproof hosting and scrapers.
  • Buying email lists.
  • Using ISPs like Gmail or Yahoo for sending mass emails.
  • Any other suspicious activities such as a large number of hard bounces and technical standards not being met. 

How will Email Blacklist affect your business?

Email deliverability is most affected and you won’t be able to land emails into the recipient inbox. Email deliverability depends on the size and notoriety of the blacklist.

For example, if your domain ends up on a relatively small and unknown blacklist then there are chances that the impact will be so minimal you won’t even notice it.

But you are in trouble if you’re on a blacklist used by a major email provider. So, your emails will be rejected even before reaching the recipients. This will affect your email marketing campaigns.

How To Check If Your Email is blacklisted?

If your emails are blacklisted then you will always get an undelivered email showing an error message. 

But if you don’t receive any such message then you can monitor and notice a sudden drop in your delivery rates. One of the easiest ways to check an email blacklist is to go to the websites of the most common blacklist vendors and check directly. These vendor websites have lookup tools with which you can enter the domain name or IP address and run a search.

Some of the email blacklist providers are Microsoft, Proofpoint, Spamhaus, Barracuda, Invaluement, and SURBL.

What You Can Do if Your Domain Name/IP is on Email Blacklist?

Follow these three things when you find out you’re on an email blacklist:

  • Firstly know why this happened-Did you make any changes in the email content? Did you email a new set of content? Is this a part of a new email campaign?
  • Request blacklist removal to email providers.
  • Make changes in the email marketing strategy to prevent it from happening again.

So, always review your email practices and make changes accordingly. 

How will you remove your IP/Domain From Email Blacklist?

Blacklist vendors or ESP always have information available on their websites regarding blacklist removal.

Blacklist removal or delisting can be requested via a form or a link. After that follow the necessary steps and put in place the recommended actions to improve your email practices. 

It is important to adopt new practices and rules for yourself so that you don’t appear on any ISP blacklists.

Avoid Getting Email Blacklist at the First Place

It is always better to avoid getting your email blacklisted for your email marketing performance and brand reputation. 

Let’s go through some email marketing best practices that will prevent your emails from getting blacklisted.

Take Consent

Always get consent and then only send emails to those who have expressed their permission to you. Always implement a double opt-in process to confirm the subscriber’s intent for sign-up forms. 

Double opt-in will protect you from spam traps. In the double opt-in, a potential subscriber fills out and submits a signup form online. Then they’ll receive a confirmation email and click on a link to verify their email.

Update Your Contact List

User engagement has a direct impact on the deliverability of emails. If a recipient has not opened an email for six months then it’s time to remove it from your contact list. 

Unengaged contacts can mark you as spam. So, it is always better to remove them along with any unsubscribes and inactive addresses.

Avoid Sending Mass Emails

Webmail providers such as Gmail and Yahoo are mostly used for sending personal emails. So, if you send mass emails then these ISPs will mark it as suspicious. 

The best way to send and manage mass email campaigns is by using a dedicated email marketing service and knowing about their email limits

Monitor Campaign Analytics

If you notice a sudden drop in your email open rates then it’s better to track campaign analytics closely. This will help you to implement a solution quickly in the event of a deliverability issue or blacklisting.

Check Sender’s reputation

A sender’s reputation is one of the main criteria used by ISPs to check if you’re a bad sender or not. Your email-sending reputation depends on how your emails have performed in the past. Also, whether or not your domain has been flagged for suspicious activity. 

You should check up on it using tools like Senderscore.

Never use spam words in subject lines or email copy.

Spam filters are triggered by certain phrases and words. So, always avoid spam words to run your email campaign smoothly.

Never buy Email Lists

Buying a list from some random source will have contacts of people who might not be interested in your offerings. So, if you send them repetitive emails or follow-ups, they can mark you as spam. 

Also, contact lists are full of spam traps. Spam traps are inactive email address that has been purposely left out in the open by ISPs and blacklist vendors. 

As the email address is inactive so the ISP knows that any email received will be unsolicited. So, this identifies the sender as a spammer.

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