Email Spam & Blacklisting - Does Getting Blacklisted Really Matter?

Posted by Netmatters
12th July 2015

What does it mean to be “Blacklisted”?

Being blacklisted means that the server your emails send from has been red flagged, and emails from a blacklisted server will not get through an email providers spam guard system. If you send an email from a blacklisted server then it will not go through, instead it will bounce back and you will receive a message explaining why this has happened. If you get your server blacklisted then it is hard to rectify the problem. It also has a huge effect on the reach of your emails, and if you get blacklisted then you can essentially wipe any effective email campaigns off of your list of marketing methods.

I have been Blacklisted, why?

There are many, many potential reasons as to why you have been blacklisted, and sometimes those who have had their domain or servers blacklisted never actually come to a conclusion as to why it has happened. Below are a few of the more likely reasons for a blacklisting:

  • Monthly Newsletters – monthly newsletters get more servers blacklisted than you could have ever imagined, however it is usually not the actual newsletter itself that gets the users blacklisted, instead it is the people you are sending it to. If recipients are receiving this monthly newsletter and want to unsubscribe, but there is no option to unsubscribe then people may start complaining. This could well get you banned very quickly. You could also have an option to unsubscribe in your email but if you are not removing those from your email list that have requested it then it makes no difference, you are essentially doing the same thing.
  • Account Security – if you, or one of your colleagues passwords have been compromised then it is more than likely that could be using that email address to send large volumes of spammy mail.
  • Viruses – if your computer has been infected with a Trojan or a rootkit then it is possible it has turned your pc into a spam zombie. Scanning with anti-virus software and the such should detect this, and this is unlikely but still possible.
  • Spoofing – if someone is spoofing your email address then you should notice this fairly quickly. You will receive a bounce message for an email you didn't even send, this normally happens if your account security has been compromised, but can also happen if your email server has been poorly maintained and someone is sending emails through your email address on another server.

Those are a few of the ways that you can become blacklisted, there are more but these are the issues that appear most commonly.

How can I get my server removed from the blacklist?

The first step in getting yourself removed from a blacklist is to discover who has actually has blacklisted you. You can do this using a tool online, of which there are many, just Google something like “who has blacklisted my server?” and input your servers IP address into one of the results. It should tell you exactly who has blacklisted you. After this you've got a few options, you can go to the de-listing page on the service that has blacklisted you and request a de-listing. This normally involves filling in some details and then just waiting. Alternatively you could go straight to your ISP and request they get you de-listed from those who have blacklisted you; they should do it for you. You could also ask for a new IP address, which will solve your issues but takes about half an hour and require you to unplug your internet router for a few minutes.

If your problems relate instead to your business email domain then the steps are different, and you should contact your hosting provider. In most cases like this there will be a valid reason that you are blacklisted, and you will need to rectify this before being taken off of the blacklist.

Does a Blacklisting Really Matter?

The answer is almost certainly yes, at least from a marketing stand point. If you have been blacklisted then up to 60% of all email addresses will bounce when you try to send them mail (depending who you have been blacklisted by, or if you have been blacklisted by more than one service). If this is the case then an email campaign will be useless, and have a very limited reach. This can be disastrous for some businesses, whose overall revenue is affected strongly by email marketing. With more email marketing tools available now than ever before, now is not the time to be blacklisted!

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