What is Email Blacklist and How to Avoid it?

An email is a powerful tool for individuals, organizations, and marketers. However, due to a huge number of emails sent every second across the web, there is a possibility of your email getting marked as spam and blacklisted. Email service providers and ISPs are adopting various measures to stop email spamming. This can be one of the worst things that can happen if you are running an email marketing campaign. Imagine spending all your time, effort, and money on an email campaign just to find out none of those emails reached your subscriber’s inbox. 

The best way to avoid getting email blacklisted is to use a trusted Email Service Provider and keep your IP address clean. It’s very critical to avoid the email blacklist to ensure a higher delivery rate of your emails. In this article, we will discuss what an email blacklist is and how you can avoid it!

What is Email Blacklist?

An email blacklist is a real-time list of domains and IP addresses that are marked for sending spam emails. Any email sent through the blacklisted email address will not reach the recipient’s inbox.  These measures are often used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and Email Service Providers (ESPs) to stop email spam attacks. The email blacklist system tries to protect its users from receiving unwanted emails.

There are basically two types of Email Blacklist: 

  1. IP address blacklist: Which blacklists all IP addresses known to send spam emails
  2. Domain blacklist: Which blocks all domains known to send spam emails. 

How to Find Out If Your Email is Blacklisted?

It’s not unusual for your email to get blocked or rejected by an email server. This happens when your mail doesn’t follow the email protocol or is flagged as spam. To find out if your email address is blacklisted or not, you can use the email blacklist checker. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Run Tests

There are various online tools that you can use to test if your email is blacklisted or not. You can just visit the website and enter your email and get the report. Some of these tools are:

  1. IsNotSpam
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You can just enter your email in the box and click on “View Your Report”. You will get your report within the next three minutes.

  1. Mail-Tester
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Just like IsNotSpam, you can use Mail-Tester to enter your email address and check for your spam score. If your spam score is high, you are probably blacklisted.

Step 2: Check Through the Blacklist Database

You can manually check your email through different public blacklist databases in case your email engagement has decreased. There is a high possibility that your email is blacklisted if you are not getting the expected open rates of your mail. There are various websites where you can search for your domain including: 

  • Spamhaus  
  • Spamcop  
  • SURBL  
  • MXToolBox  
  • MultiRBL  
  • Invaluement  

If you are blacklisted in any of the above databases, you will have to confirm that you are not sending spam emails and request removal from the recipient. If they find your claim legit, your email will be released from the blacklist. However, if you can’t prove the authenticity of your emails, you might want to keep trying until your email is removed. It might take up to 24 hours for your email to be removed from the blacklist after it is validated. 

How to Avoid Being Blacklisted?

You should always try to avoid being blacklisted especially when you are running an email marketing campaign. Being blacklisted can affect your campaign’s overall email marketing ROI due to low engagement and open rates. To avoid being blacklisted, you can adapt the following procedures:

Provide an Unsubscribe Link

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You should always include an unsubscribe link for recipients to opt-out from further receiving emails. Failing to do that is a direct violation of anti-spam laws and can get your domain blacklisted. It’s very critical to be familiar with the anti-spam laws if you don’t want your email blacklisted. Adding an unsubscribe link indicates you are following the laws and want to send emails to interested users only. This helps to increase the overall experience of the recipients. Use trusted email outreach tools for any of your outreach campaigns.

Provide Double opt-in for the Subscribers

When users sign in to your website, always ask if they opt-in the receive emails. Send a confirmation email with a subscription link before you add them to your mailing list. This is a standard procedure to make sure real emails from real users are used while signing up and not bots. When users opt-in to receive newsletters and offers, you can add them to your mailing lists. It will help get the most ROI from your email marketing campaign as the emails are being sent to interested subscribers only.

Keep Your Email Lists Clean

You should regularly update your email list with new subscribers and remove non-responsive subscribers to filter out spam traps. This will help increase the email delivery and open rate of your email marketing campaign. Regularly checking the email addresses of users can help keep invalid emails away. You can also use email validation tools to keep a healthy contacts list. 

Optimize Email Content

You should personalize your email content with a design layout that includes images, text, invite links, HTML snippets, and buttons to increase user engagement. Recipients can send complaints against your domain if you send junk emails which might lead to your email getting blacklisted. Send emails that users are interested in. For example, if you serve the music niche, an email from a health niche might not interest your audience. 

Secure Email Server

You should secure the email server from being attacked by malware and bots. Set up proper security measures and verify your IP address. If your email server is under malware attack, clean it as soon as possible. The malware can send hoax emails like online betting, promotions, or spam to your subscribers and lead to your domain and IP getting blacklisted. Check if your IP address is being used by someone else and regularly update your security protocols.

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