Not Everyone Looks Good in Black — Especially Your Email Campaigns

Email Blacklist

Black is a classic fashion look that pretty much everyone looks good in.  However, as a marketer, black, as in being blacklisted, isn’t a color you want to find your emails dressed in.

After you’ve put all that time and hard work into an email campaign, the last thing you want to discover is that your emails aren’t reaching the target audience because you’ve been blacklisted.  Let’s take a few minutes to dive into what blacklists are, what to do if you ever find yourself on one, and how to avoid them in the first place.

Blacklist: The Blackhole Syndrom for Emails

An email blacklist is a real-time review of emails by ISPs to determine if an email that is coming through could be considered as spam.  The goal is to minimize the number of spam emails that reach their email users.  Each ISP manages their own list, so you may find yourself on one or multiple at any time.

People, countries, companies and other entities that are deemed to be untrustworthy could find themselves on a blacklist without warning.  ISPs are focused on preventing fraud and protecting their users, so if an email displays any suspicious signs or characteristics, that sender will be added to the ISPs blacklist and all emails from that sender will be dropped immediately.

As with most things, there is an opposite to blacklists and that, not surprisingly, is known as a whitelist.  This is the list you want to stay one as all senders on this list will have their email delivered to their targeted end users.

From Blacklist to Whitelist

Should the worst case scenario occur and you find yourself blacklisted, don’t despair…it will take some effort, but you can rectify the situation.  Typically you’ll receive notification that you have been blacklisted with specific instructions.  However, that’s not always the case.  Since one of the top reasons companies get blacklisted is due to being marked as ‘spam’ by end users, it’s not a bad idea to add an email delivery audit to your end of month reporting processes.

Here is a list of the top six to check:

  1. Spamhaus –The Spamhaus project is one of the most reputable blacklisting companies providing real-time anti-spam protection for internet networks worldwide.
  2. SURBL –SURBL is a second tier filter that works in conjunction with Spamhaus to identify some of the most difficult unsolicited messages to track.
  3. Barracuda Reputation Block List –BRBL is a free DNSBL of IP addresses known to send spam.
  4. Invalument –The Invalument anti-spam DNSBL is a subscription-based service that specializes in blocking elusive types of spam where the sender is sending 100% unsolicited bulk email and escaping traditional detection methods.
  5. Spamcop –The SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL) lists IP addresses that had mail reported as spam by SpamCop users.
  6. MultiRBL –This free multiple DNS Blacklist service that cross-references other blacklists by IPV4, IPV6, or domain.

Reputation Monitoring is Key

Reputation monitoring is a critical component to ensuring that your email deliverability rate stays as high as possible.  By managing your complaint rates and watching for delivery dips in your campaign metrics, you’ll be able to see trends and stop issues before they start.

Working with companies such as MailMonitor that offer a suite of services to help you better manage your reputation will make it easier for you to stay on top of things.  With features such as Inbox Monitoring, Reputation Tracking, and Spam Filter Testing you’ll be able to maximize your deliverability rate and minimize you propensity for landing on the dreaded blacklist.

 

 

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