A Beginners’ Guide to Email Blacklists
Words to strike fear into the heart of any Email Marketer
“You’ve been blacklisted.”
What Does this Mean?
Basically your sending IP address has been listed by a popular blacklist as likely to send Spam and therefore they have listed your email address on their “blacklist.”
Once this occurs, mail administrators and individuals that use this list as an IP block list will not take receipt of your email, send it to a junk folder, delete it etc.
Who Manages These Blacklists and why do they think I send Spam when we are fully Can Spam Compliant?
Spam like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If an independent group thinks that your message has some spammy characteristics they may or may not add you to their list. A number of the blacklists select with an algorithm that is independent of human selection. Bottom line selection can be arbitrary and every legitimate marketer should be aware of this potential delivery rate pitfall.
What are the main Blacklists?
There are hundreds of blacklists out there, however there are 10 or so that are used the most by mail administrators;
1. Open Relay Database
2. Spam and Open Relay Blocking System
3. Spam Prevention Early Warning System
4. Vipul’s Razor
6. Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse
8. SpamCop Blocking List
Each of these uses a slightly different technology to identify spam; it’s a very useful way for diligent mail administrators to control incoming email.
How do I check if I am Blacklisted?
We recommend testing an independent email delivery service. One that offers a powerful free trial is http://www.emailreach.com
Here you can test your mail server against the most popular blacklists and ensure that currently you are not listed as spam.
What Do I Do If I think I am Blacklisted?
First of all check if you are or not. Use a service like www.emailreach.com. Once confirmed that you have been wrongly assigned as spam there are number of things you can do. We strongly recommend you working to understand what characteristic caused you to be listed, and working to remove this trait from your campaigns. Typical issues are incorrect mail administrator settings, using a non-dedicated deployment machine, sending large volumes of mail in short periods. Once this is corrected reach out to the blacklist and request to be whitelisted. This often is easier if a third party request on your behalf. Whitelisting takes time far better to avoid blacklists in the first place.
How Often Should I check my email reputation with the Blacklists?
We recommend you testing with the primary blacklists at least twice a month.
What other types of delivery issues can my email encounter?
Apart from being listed with Blacklists another key area of issue are ISP level filters and mail administrator software and hardware for email delivery. Consumers also have a myriad of anti spam software installed on their machines that blocks valid email.
For More on Blacklists read
About the Author: Kriss Encarguez is a part of Agents of Value, a webmaster staffing company located in the Philippines.