Email Marketing - Avoid Being Blacklisted

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Avoid Being Blacklisted

This chapter will expose a few points that will help you to avoid being blacklisted:

Single Opt-in − Whenever a customer visits your site, provide them with the option of 'opt-in' for receiving your promotional newsletter, the goal is to make the consumer opt-in for your service. 

Double Opt-in − This involves sending a confirmation email and making sure that the intended customer is the right target who is truly interested in your service. It is regarded as the most efficient way to ascertain that an individual’s spam report was erroneous. If the customer confirms and the person is your right target, you are sure about your welcome and your promotional newsletter or content will be read. But, if they do not confirm, avoid resending another email and delete the customer from the database.

Opt-out − Always provide an opt-out link at the footer of every promotional matter you send. It helps customers unsubscribe from your service if they are no longer interested in your email promotions, and avoid sending another email again. Delete the opted out customer from your database. With the confirmation achieved, concentrate on your email planning, and other areas to concentrate are − Subject line, sender's address, content are all important elements of a promotional email.

Subject Line − Make sure your subject line is accurate and looks trustworthy, be appealing to the customer but not make the recipient suspicious of the email.

Sender's Address − Use the company address, if unavailable use a personal name with @ address of known email service providers like yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.

Content − Content should be tailored according to the needs of the customers and provide them something substantial in those words.

Accurate Send Path − Spammers use the trick of email spoofing, this is often done by forging an email-header to make it appear that it came from a different source than the actual source.

Don’t Bluff Spam Filters − Spammers have more end-run spam filters knowledge than you, whatever strategy you develop you will always be behind. 

Check if You are Blacklisted

Email service providers may alert you if your website is added to a blacklist, you can also monitor this list yourself. Blacklists usually contain lists of domains or IPs that pose a threat to consumer inboxes.  Just a few spam complaints can add a legitimate sender to a blacklist, so if you are on a blacklist, act quickly to get removed.

Blacklist Resources

Lots of blacklists exist, but a good starting point is checking to see if your IPs or domains are on any of these lists:

1. BRBL is a free DNS blacklist (DNSBL) of IP addresses known to send spam. BRBL stands for Barracuda Reputation Block List.

2. The Invaluement anti-spam DNSBL blocks an elusive type of spam, where the sender is sending unsolicited bulk email and escaping traditional detection methods.

3. MXToolbox shows you whether or not your domain or IP address is blacklisted and can perform checks on your DNS to see how it is configured.

4. MultiRBL uses IPV4, IPV6, or a domain across free multiple DNS blacklist service and cross-references other blacklists.

5. SCBL also known as SpamCop Blocking List, lists IP addresses that reported the mail as spam by SpamCop users.

6. SURBL are lists of websites which have contained unsolicited messages.

7. SpamHaus: Spamhaus offers realtime accurate threat intelligence to the Internet's major networks, IP addresses and websites.

What to Do if Blacklisted?

You need to do a look up on your IP address on the blacklist's website such as Spamhaus.org or SURBL. If your IP address has been blacklisted and you want to investigate, go back to the blacklist site and follow their instructions for the IP address removal process.

Here's what you're likely to come across −

Self-Service Removal

Some blacklists site with a self-service removal feature lets you take your IP address off the list without much hassle. However, you'll want to make sure you've resolved any issues before doing this, so your IP address won't get listed again because it won't be easy to get it removed next time.

Time-Based Removal

IP addresses that are light offenders are removed within a week or two, some blacklist systems automatically remove lower level listings from there sites, if the IP address had sent more spam messages more than once or at a high volume, the time period to remove the IP address would be longer.

Why Blacklist

Here are few important reasons: 

1. To reduce the spam on email platforms for their customers is the main priority− their goal isn't to prevent you from sending emails.

2. Blacklists are legal because they are designed to prevent fraud or other activity that disrupts normal business. We all need to accept that fact.

3. Spam is a serious problem. They don't blacklist lightly, it's just a way to identify and prevent real problems.

4. If you made a mistake and were blacklisted, avoid repeating the same mistake again, since there might not be a second time.


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