Help, I’m Blacklisted

Over the last two weeks I’ve seen several people ask similar questions along the line of… “Help, I’m blacklisted! What do I do?”

First off start working with a Reputation/Delivery consultant most of the time a professional delivery person will be able to find an issue in a short period of time and offer suggestions on how to fix things.

However if you choose to work on this issue by yourself here are some suggestions;

  • Start by reviewing and adopting these industry best practices, published by MAAWG, that have been agreed upon by both major email senders and the major ISPs as a group.
  • Find out who is blocking the mail, there are many services but only a handful that will cause you significant issues.
    In many cases the listing criteria from Each service might point you in the right direction; too many complaints, spamtraps, bounces, etc…
  • Consider how your sending message to your subscribers, are they opt-in (not bought/rented/appended) and relevant to subscribers.
    Look for a change in your program. Did you run an email append/list rental/co-reg campaign? Did you add a lot (more then usual) of new names in the week(s) before the problem started…Try suppressing the new addresses and see if it goes away? Did it work? No add another week… repeat.
  • Long inactive/unresponsive subscribers should be sunset from your list, these accounts tend to complain about spam more then normal users and can become spamtraps on your file.
    Try segmenting responsive vs. non-responsive users and identify the segment causing the issue. Or try segmenting by length of time on file (1-3 months, 4-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12+) to try and find the bad spots and remove or re-confirm these members to your list.
  • Did everything else fail… re-confirm all non-clickers/openers or your total file to resolve the issue.

Do you have any other suggestions? Please share them with us.

Good luck and happy mailing.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

Matthew Vernhout is a digital messaging industry veteran and Certified International Privacy Professional (Canada) (CIPP/C) with nearly two decades of experience in email marketing. Matthew is 250ok’s Director of Privacy, and he is currently the Vice Chair of the eec, after serving for several years as the Chair of their Advocacy Subcommittee. Matthew was recognized as the 2019 eec thought-leader of the year.

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  1. There are thousands of blacklists that are out there in some capacity, but only a handful that will devastate your email program. It is important to understand which of the blacklists play in your space, and could have an impact on your recipients. There are some blacklists that is you send mail, you will be listed. A few of the blacklists demand payment for removal. Working with someone experienced in these areas can help you proactively understand which lists you should be monitoring.

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