Getting blacklisted can be a disheartening experience. For many, an honest mistake. It means your carefully crafted messages are being flagged as spam and sent straight to recipients’ junk folders, hindering your efforts to reach your target audience. While this can be frustrating, it’s important to remember that there are ways to rectify the situation and get your email reputation back on track.
How Did This Happen?
Before we dive into reversing this situation, let’s look at how you potentially wound up in this position. For most businesses, these are the three main reasons:
1. High Bounce Rate: When a significant portion of your emails bounce back due to invalid or non-existent addresses, it indicates poor list hygiene and can trigger blacklisting.
2. Undesired Content: Sending emails to recipients who haven’t explicitly opted in to receive your communications can lead to spam complaints, which can land you on a blacklist.
3. Excessive Email Volume: Bombarding recipients with multiple emails per day can overwhelm their inboxes and increase the likelihood of spam reports.
4. Account Compromise: If your email account is hacked, malicious actors can use it to send spam, tarnishing your reputation and leading to blacklisting.
5. Email Spoofing: When someone impersonates your email address to send spam, it can damage your credibility and potentially place your domain on a blacklist.
6. Phishing Attacks: Sending emails that trick recipients into revealing sensitive information can result in blacklisting.
7. Malicious Content: Including malicious links or attachments in your emails can trigger blacklisting.
Identifying the Blacklist Culprit
To determine which blacklists have flagged your domain, you can utilize tools like MXToolbox. Simply enter your domain name and click “MX Lookup.” This will provide a list of IP addresses associated with your domain. Click on an IP address to check if it’s blacklisted by any major servers.
And when you click into one you can see if you are blacklisted by any of the top servers:
Embarking on the Blacklist Removal Journey
Once you’ve identified the blacklists responsible, it’s time to initiate the removal process. This typically involves the following steps:
- Rectify the Underlying Issue: Address the reason for blacklisting, whether it’s improving list hygiene, reducing email volume, or implementing double opt-in for new subscribers.
- Don’t have any issues yet? Read this checklist to get started on Campaigns.
- Submit Removal Requests: Visit the websites of each blacklist and locate their removal request forms. Fill out the forms with a detailed explanation of the issue, the steps you’ve taken to resolve it, and a request for removal. See the links at the bottom of the article.
- Practice Patience: The removal process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. During this time, continue to follow proper email practices and avoid sending excessive emails to ensure your efforts are not in vain.
Preventive Measures to Stay Blacklist-Free
To minimize the risk of future blacklisting, adopt these best practices:
- Maintain Clean Email Lists: Regularly verify your email lists and remove invalid or inactive addresses. Tools like clearout.io are excellent.
- Obtain Opt-In Consent: Always obtain explicit consent from recipients before adding them to your email lists.
- Moderate Email Frequency: Avoid sending excessive emails that could overwhelm recipients and prompt spam complaints.
- Ensure Easy Unsubscribing: Provide clear and easily accessible unsubscribe options in your emails.
- Monitor Email Reputation: Utilize online reputation monitoring tools to track your email reputation and identify potential issues promptly.
- Educate Your Subscribers: Encourage your subscribers to whitelist your emails by adding your sender address to their contacts or safe sender lists. This will help ensure that your emails are delivered to their inboxes, even if they receive a lot of spam.
- Avoid Buying or Renting Email Lists: Buying or renting email lists can lead to blacklisting, as you may have no way of knowing if the addresses are valid or if the recipients have opted in to receive your emails.
- Use a Strong Sender Authentication Protocol: Sender authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC help to validate your sender identity and reduce the likelihood of being flagged as spam.
- Monitor Email Deliverability: Use tools to monitor your email deliverability and identify any issues that may be affecting your reputation.
Email blacklisting can be a temporary setback, but by understanding the causes, identifying the responsible blacklists, and following the outlined removal process, you can get your email reputation back on track and ensure your messages reach their intended recipients. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so prioritize email best practices to minimize the risk of blacklisting in the first place.
Additional Resources for Blacklist Removal:
- Barracuda Removal Request Form: https://www.barracudacentral.org/rbl/removal-request
- SpamHaus Removal Request Form: https://www.spamhaus.org/pbl/removal/verify/
- Sorbs Removal Request Form: https://www.sorbs.net/cgi-bin/support
- CBL Removal Request Form: https://www.spamcop.net/
- ZenSpamRemoval Request Form: https://www.spamhaus.org/zen/
For Google follow these steps:
- Sign in to your Google Search Console.
- Click on the Security Issues section.
- Click on the Request Review button.
- You will be prompted to describe what you did to fix the issue.
- Click on the Submit button.
Google will then review your request and decide whether or not to remove your website from the blacklist.