Email Marketing - Avoid Being Blacklisted

In this chapter, we will discuss a few points that will help you to avoid being blacklisted −

Single Opt-in − Make the consumer opt-in for your service. Do not waste your time gate crashing, be sure you are invited. Whenever, customer visits your site provide them with the option of 'opt-in' for receiving your promotional newsletter.

Double Opt-in − It serves your purpose much better than a SINGLE OPT-In. Send a confirmation email and make yourself double sure that the customer you are going to lure is a genuine one and they are truly interested in your service. It also sets aside fear of mischief. In case your IP has been blacklisted, double opt-in’ is the most straightforward way to prove that an individual’s spam report was erroneous. If the customer confirms, he/she 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, follow the thumb rule, ‘never send an email’, delete the customer from your database. If you are stubborn and insist on sending emails, there is a high risk of being blacklisted.

Avoiding Blacklisting Example

Opt-out − Always provide the option of opt-out at the footer of every promotional matter you send. It helps customer unsubscribes from your service, if they are no longer interested in your email promotions. Follow the thumb rule, 'never send an email again'. Delete the opted out customer from your database; they no longer exist for you. With the confirmation in your pocket, now concentrate on your email planning. The 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. Subject line should not have bad hellos. It should scream for attention, but at the same time, not make the recipient suspicious of the email.

Sender's Address − If possible, use your company @ address or stick to your personal name with @ address of known email service providers like yahoo, hotmail, AOL etc.

Content − Do not disappoint your valuable customers with your promotional content. Tailor your content according to the expectations of the customers and provide them something substantial in those words.

Accurate Send Path − Do not bluff to the customer on the source of your email. Spammers often play the trick of email spoofing, that is forging an email-header to make it appear that it came from a different source than the actual source.

Don’t Bluff Spam Filters − Play it safe, do not try developing a strategy to break spam filters and sneak in. Spammers have more end-run spam filters knowledge than you, whatever strategy you develop you will always be behind. If you try your strategy, you will be straight away blocked and blacklisted. The strategy is already considered as spamming.

Check if You are Blacklisted?

Blacklists contain lists of IPs or domains that pose a threat to consumer inboxes. Your email service provider may automatically alert you, if you’re added to one, but it’s good to check for yourself. If you are on a blacklist, act quickly. Just a few spam complaints can add a legitimate sender to a blacklist.


Blacklist Resources

There are a lot of blacklists, but a good starting point is checking to see, if your IPs or domains are on any of these popular lists −

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

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

  • MXToolBox − 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.

  • MultiRBL − This free multiple DNS blacklist service cross-references other blacklists by IPV4, IPV6, or by a domain.

  • Spamcop − The SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL) lists IP addresses that had mail reported as spam by SpamCop users.

  • Spamhaus − The Spamhaus Project maintains a number of DNSBLs as part of their effort to identify and track spam sources, and provide anti-spam protection. To be removed from this list, visit their Blocklist Removal Center.

  • SURBL − Unlike most lists, SURBLs are not lists of message senders. SURBLs are lists of websites that have appeared in unsolicited messages.

What to Do if Blacklisted?

If your IP address has been blacklisted and you want to investigate, you'll need to visit the blacklist's website and do a lookup on your IP address. Most blacklist databases will provide general listing reasons, but don't list specific email addresses tied to blacklisted IP addresses. If you want to be removed from any blacklists because databases often share IP addresses that have been listed. If you think you've fixed things on your end, go back to the blacklist's site and follow their instructions for the IP address removal process.

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

Self-Service Removal

There are a few blacklists with a self-service removal feature that lets you take your IP address off the list without much trouble. However, you'll want to make sure you've resolved any issues before doing this. If you don't and your IP address gets listed again, it won't be easy to get it removed that next time.

Time-Based Removal

Most blacklists have a built-in, automatic process that removes lower-level listings (IP addresses that are light offenders) within a week or two. But if the IP address had sent spam more than once or did a high volume, the time period will be longer.

Keep this in mind −

  • Their priority is to reduce the spam on their email platform for their customers − their goal isn't to prevent you from sending emails.

  • Spam is a serious problem. They don't blacklist lightly. It's their way of trying to identify and prevent real problems.

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

  • If you made a mistake and were blacklisted, don't make the same mistake again. Most likely you won't be forgiven a second time.

Disclosure − The author has made considerable efforts to present accurate and reliable information in this book. However, the author does not take any legal responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information herein.

This Tutorial may refer to businesses. Referrals to such entities are provided solely for informational and educational purposes and as a convenience to the user. A referral to a product or service on this website should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation of that product or service.”

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