Category Archives: Tips and Resources

Blacklists: How You End Up On Them & How You Get Off Them

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability, Tips and Resources | No Comments

Email blacklists are real-time , automated databases that use specific criteria in determining if an IP is sending spam emails. Blacklists are also known as DNS-based Blackhole Lists.

There are a number of blacklists in the industry, including SpamCop, Spamhaus, SURBL and Barracuda Reputation Block List.  The criteria each blacklist company uses for accepting inbound mail varies based on their own company determined standards. However, all of them can have a long-term damaging effect on your delivery rate.

 

How Do Blacklists Work?

At a high-level, anyone who sends an excessive amount of emails that are marked as spam, will be added to a list of offenders (a.k.a. blacklisted email senders) and will no longer be able to have their emails delivered to user’s inboxes.

For a more detailed understanding of how blacklists work, take a look at the Spamhaus diagram below. In the event an incoming email fails to meet the Spamhaus’ criteria for legitimate emails, the sender’s IP gets added to the list. There are some ISPs that use this data to make their conclusions on filtering the email messages sent on various IPs.

While Spamhaus doesn’t have any control over the delivery or placement of the messages, it does aide many ISPs in making their decision as to whether or not to deliver your message to your target user’s inbox or to send it directly to their spam folder.

Courtesy: www.Spamhaus.org

Courtesy: www.Spamhaus.org

 

How to Find Out If You’ve Been Blacklisted

Most of the email service providers send out some level of warning when your IP has been added to a blacklist. However, for a more robust audit, you can manually visit the top DNSBL lists periodically to ensure you haven’t been flagged somewhere along the way:

  • Spamhaus – This is one of the top blacklisting companies providing thorough, real-time spam protection for internet networks around the world.
  • Barracuda Reputation Block List (BRBL) – This is a free DNSBL of IP addresses notorious for sending out spam emails.
  • SURBL – This is a second-tier filter which works with Spamhaus in identifying some of the most difficult unsolicited messages.
  • SpamCop – SpamCop Blocking Lists (SCBLs) manage and share IP addresses that contained emails reported as spam by the SpamCop users.

The good news here is that as a Mail Monitor customer, you’re receiving the most robust audit of your domain and IP for any blacklisting automatically. You can learn more about our features here.

 

How to Get Off Email Blacklisting

One of the main reasons for IPs to end up on a blacklist is the high rate of spam complaints from users.  Should you discover that you’re on a list, you’ll want to contact the company immediately.  All of these DNSBL websites listed above have detailed instructions on how to be removed from the blacklist. Being proactive always helps – so show the ISPs that you are trying your best to remedy your delivery challenges.

Once you’re out of the blacklist, you might want to invest more time in the best practices for email list acquisition and staying away from buying email lists.

With deliverability experts like Mail Monitor on your side, you will have professional help navigating the ISP landscape.

An Introductory Guide to Spam Traps

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability, Tips and Resources | No Comments

WHAT IS A SPAM TRAP?

Spam traps are used by blacklist and inbox providers to detect and catch malicious email senders. It is common for legitimate senders to find themselves becoming a victim of spam traps unclean email data, inappropriate subject lines and poor practices for email list acquisition.

Spam traps will look like an authentic email address – the catch is that they don’t belong to any real person and are not used for any communication by the company or inbox provider. The sole purpose of spam trap email addresses is to identify spammers and faulty senders and remove them from the ability to reach their user base with unwanted information.

 

IMPORTANCE FOR EMAIL MARKETERS

As an email marketer, you might already be sending emails to spam traps without knowing it is happening. Having even a single spam trap in your mailing list could mean hazardous dents to your ability to reach your subscribers.

Sending emails to spam traps typically indicates that you’re indulged in bad practices to collect email addresses or haven’t managed to keep your list clean.  Either effort could land you on the wrong side of email providers, greatly impacting you ability to continue to send and reach your target users.

 

TYPES OF SPAM TRAPS

To get an understanding of how spam traps end up in your mailing list, it’s important to understand the different types that are out there:

  • Pristine Traps – These are email addresses published on public websites that are hidden to a normal user. Only people using bad collection processes will find and send to these addresses. So if you collected your email addresses by scrapping from web pages, chances are you may have picked up by a pristine spam trap.
  • Recycled Traps – These email addresses were once used by real people, but became abandoned and got converted into a trap by their inbox provider.

 

IDENTIFYING A SPAM TRAP

It is extremely hard to spot a spam trap email address because they don’t look different from any regular email addresses. However, there are many useful tools designed to help you evaluate the sender’s reputation and identify any emails that may be sending emails to spam traps. One such tool is the Microsoft Smart Data Network Service (SNDS).

 

GET THIS FIXED

Spam traps are structured to identify senders with irresponsible list building behaviors. One sure fire way of getting this fixed is to have a thorough audit of your own email list quality, and then evaluate it on a consistent basis.

Since spam traps do not belong to real people and provide no level of engagement with your emails such as clicks and/or opens. Getting rid of inactive subscribers would help you get rid of such spam traps as well. One quick way to garner engagement of active users and identify inactive users or potential spam emails is to run a campaign reconfirming user interests.

However, this is just one part of the entire picture – the most important part is reevaluating your strategies of email list acquisition to ensure only genuine, healthy email addresses are in your marketing plans. Use double opt in procedures, validate incoming addresses, and do not buy or rent lists.  You also may want to perform a list cleaning process to get rid of these spam traps.

Google Releases Postmaster Tools for Gmail

By | Tips and Resources | No Comments

Gmail has now added additional tools for senders.  Sign up is free to anyone at https://gmail.com/postmaster/ .  Domains need to be verified when the the account is created but Google will display spam rate when they have the data available.

This is a great sign for good acting senders who have traditionally felt Gmail was one of the tougher ISPs to troubleshoot when bulked or blocked due to a lack of data.