Email Blacklist: How to Know if You're on It (And What to Do) (2022)

There’s no such thing as email jail, but landing on an email blacklist is pretty much the same thing.

If you land on this list, you’ll be in deep, deep trouble. Not “prison” trouble, but “my marketing campaign doesn’t work anymore” trouble.

But don’t worry. I’m here to help you understand what email blacklists are, how they function, how to know if you’re on an email blacklist—and how to get yourself removed from an email blacklist if you land on one.

Table of Contents

  • What Is an Email Blacklist?
  • How to Tell If You’re on an Email Blacklist
  • How to Get Removed From an Email Blacklist
    • Step 1. Clean up your act
    • Step 2. Submit a Request to De-list Your Domain
  • What If My De-list request is Denied?
  • How to Prevent Getting on an Email Blacklist (Again)
    • Step 1: Don’t Spam.
    • Step 2: Clean Your List
    • Step 3: Improve Your Email Deliverability
  • Managing Your Email
    • Related posts:

What Is an Email Blacklist?

Okay, let’s start with the basic stuff.

What is an email blacklist?

An email blacklist is a database that attempts to identify and document IP addresses and domains that have a history of sending spam. Blacklists are managed by blacklist operators (often third parties) that collect information on email senders.

They can be used by a wide variety of organizations and companies. These include:

  • Internet service providers (ISPs)
  • Mailbox providers
  • Vendors who specialize in anti-spam

And more.

If you find yourself on an email blacklist, depending on the list, and the organization using it, this could mean refusing to send your emails outright or sending your emails to a spam folder.

Not good if you’re an email marketer or doing cold email outreach.

How to Tell If You’re on an Email Blacklist

So how can you tell if you’re on an email blacklist?

The easiest way is to check the most popular blacklist operators.

These are:

(Video) Email Blacklist Check! Fix Email Deliverability Issues Now

You can check all of them at once using Mail-tester.com. Just visit the site, send a test email from the email address you fear might be on a blacklist, and you’ll get a report within a minute of which blacklists you’re on (if any). It looks like this:

Email Blacklist: How to Know if You're on It (And What to Do) (1)

If for some reason you want to check on each individual blacklist operator website, you can do that too. On each website, you’ll find a lookup option where you can search for your IP address or domain, and see if you’ve been blacklisted directly.

Email Blacklist: How to Know if You're on It (And What to Do) (2)

You can also evaluate your email sending reputation—a score estimated based on your current reputation—using a variety of different tools. Each tool uses a slightly different methodology; for example, some use a scale of 0 to 100, while others simply have a 3-tier ranking system (good, bad, or neutral—there’s no “ugly” option that I’ve seen. Yet).

If you use a few of these tools, you should get a good understanding of where your reputation as a sender currently sits. If you’re in “good” territory on every tool you use, you shouldn’t have to worry about being on a blacklist.

These tools include:

Email Blacklist: How to Know if You're on It (And What to Do) (3)

Okay. So let’s say those tests didn’t turn out great.

What do you do if you’re on an email blacklist?

First, you need to figure out why you’ve been blacklisted. And the answer is, usually, because of spam.

Yep.

Remember, blacklists are specifically designed to index email deviants—aka spammers. If you’re on a list, it’s probably because of spam, in one form or another.

Spam, for the record, is unsolicited email, often sent in bulk. These are messages that are usually worthless, are unwanted by their recipients, and are sent to many, many people.

There are a few triggers that can put you on an email blacklist.

(Video) How to remove your IP or Domain from a blacklist

  • Direct complaints. Sometimes, people flag your emails as spam directly, either because they feel like their privacy has been invaded or because they simply don’t like your tone. A couple of complaints isn’t going to arouse much attention, but if you get lots of complaints, or get them pretty consistently, it’s going to work against you.
  • List issues. You might have a list problem. If you try to send emails to obsolete email addresses, or if you’re sending to the wrong people, it could increase the smell of spam associated with your IP. Buying lists is usually the root cause here. Instead, follow our guide to building a list of targeted prospects to ensure you are only sending to legitimate, quality email addresses.
  • Deliverability issues. Persistent deliverability issues might be beyond your control, or well within your control. Either way, it could look bad to all those email cops who look for email criminals to throw onto the blacklist.
  • Sudden or suspicious changes. Email monitors want to see nice, natural, organic activity. If you go from sending 10 emails a day to sending 10,000 emails a day, that’s bad news. Sudden or suspicious changes in your emailing patterns can put you in blacklistable territory.

You can check out our guide on why emails go to spam for even more detailed information.

How to Get Removed From an Email Blacklist

Here’s the scenario.

You know you’re on a blacklist. Maybe you truly believe you were put there by mistake, or maybe you just got caught spamming.

Either way, you need to get yourself removed.

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Step 1. Clean up your act

The first thing you need to do is figure out why you’re on a blacklist, then clean up your act. If you were spamming, stop. You may need to stop sending emails altogether for a while.

Use the email account like a normal person would for a few weeks; that means sending and receiving emails, responding to emails, and making sure other people actually respond to you. You can use the Lemwarm feature from Lemlist to do this for you automatically.

Step 2. Submit a Request to De-list Your Domain

The next step is to submit a de-list request to the blacklist operator that blacklisted you. That means you have to prove that you’re reformed—or that you never committed an email sin to begin with.

The submission process is simple, but the actual removal can be trickier.

Consult the list of the major blacklist operators above. Most of them have a page on their site labeled “delist” or “removal request” or something similar.

When you open up one of these options, you’ll get a form, wherein you can fill in various pieces of information, such as:

  • Your email server IP
  • Your domain
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number

And most importantly, your reasoning for requesting removal.

You’ll have an open-ended area here, where you can document the steps you’ve taken to correct your infringing behavior—or the reason why you think this blacklisting event was uncalled for.

The best approach to get removed here is to be as clear and straightforward as possible. In clear, concise terms, explain your reasoning and why you hope to be removed. Don’t beg. Don’t lie. Don’t try to bribe them. Just be honest.

(Video) How To Check If Your Email Domain Is Blacklisted.🎁📩

Most requests are reviewed within 24 hours, though it may take a few days to get a response. Don’t bombard them with more requests if you don’t hear back—you can’t make a good case that you’re not a spammer by spamming the company that caught you spamming, right?

Be patient and wait to hear back. You’ll get an answer either way.

What If My De-list request is Denied?

So what happens if your de-list request is denied?

That’s tough luck, my friend. You might get a specific piece of advice for what to do next, but you may just have to consider this domain or IP address burned and start over with a new one.

How to Prevent Getting on an Email Blacklist (Again)

For this section, we’re going to go over the steps you need to follow if you want to prevent getting added to an email blacklist.

Step 1: Don’t Spam.

Step one is pretty simple: don’t spam.

Spamming usually happens in one (or more) of several forms:

  • Mass messaging. You’re sending too many messages. Or you’re sending messages too frequently. Either way, you need to change something drastically. For most campaigns, you don’t need to email people more than once or twice a week. You also shouldn’t increase the size of your list suddenly or inorganically (aka via buying a list).
  • Poor targeting. You might also spam by targeting the wrong people. Sending teenagers information on menopause is an example of poor targeting. This doesn’t violate any laws or informal rules, but it’s a good way to get reported as spam.
  • Low-quality content. This is the biggest category of offenses, since there are so many ways to be problematic here. If your emails are low-quality, or—do I have to say it—spammy, they can be considered spam. This could include offers that are too good to be true (You just won $1,000,000!!!!), spammy language (CLICK HERE!!!!!!), content that doesn’t load, links that look suspicious, or even atrocious wording. We have a list of spam trigger words in our post covering why emails go to spam. Make sure your emails don’t contain any of the words on the list!

I also encourage you to review the main tenets of the CAN-SPAM Act. Remember when I said there’s no such thing as email jail? Well, there’s such a thing as an email fine, and it can amount to $43,280, which I find to be oddly specific, but I suppose that’s beside the point.

I’ll simplify these 7 tenets the best I can in an attention-span-friendly way:

  1. Don’t trick people.
  2. Write reasonable subject lines.
  3. Make ads clear that they’re ads.
  4. Include contact information.
  5. Let people unsubscribe easily.
  6. Honor those unsubscribe requests.
  7. Don’t let other people spam on your behalf.

But seriously, read the act and follow it well. There’s a lot of good information in the page I linked.

Step 2: Clean Your List

Next, you have to clean your list. Your list is the heart of your email campaign, and the source of many of your spam woes (assuming you’re writing decent content for your emails).

See this guide for help on building a targeted list of prospects for email outreach. And for cleaning & validating an existing email list, you can use any of these tools:

Or see our full list of the top email address validators!

Step 3: Improve Your Email Deliverability

With best practices in place, your email deliverability will likely be fine.

But you can always be better.

(Video) How your DOMAIN could end up on a BLACKLIST (and what to do next)

  • Use a different domain for cold outreach. Don’t conduct email outreach using your main business domain. Use a separate but similar one. For example, we use emailanalytics.co (not .com) for sending cold email outreach.
  • Set up a paid Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) account. We love G Suite. Investing in a paid G Suite account will help to improve your reputation—and therefore your deliverability rates.
  • Get some incoming mail. Email addresses that receive messages—rather than just sending them—are seen as more reputable than their counterparts. You can use Lemlist’s “lemwarm” feature to automatically “warm” your email account with natural-looking send/receive activity. And sign up for some newsletters, too – that’ll help make it look more natural.
  • Avoid spam triggers. I’m going to go ahead and link our guide on email spam once again. There are dozens of little issues that could get your email flagged as spam, either by automated tools or by people identifying your messages as spam. Know and avoid them.
  • Gradually start sending emails. This isn’t a race. If you want to stay as clean as possible as long as possible, you need to start sending emails gradually. Send only a few, and send them sparingly. Ramp up slowly over time. You’ll thank yourself later.

If you want to conduct cold email outreach the right way, without worrying about getting blacklisted, be sure to see our guide on cold emailing.

Managing Your Email

Email can be difficult to manage, even if you’re just emailing coworkers and clients.

But there’s a tool that can make it easier: EmailAnalytics.

EmailAnalytics connects directly with your Gmail account, drawing data on your email account usage, including how many emails you send and receive, your busiest times and days of the week, and tons of more useful metrics.

In a few days, you can guide yourself to better email habits—and save hours a week.

Sign up for a free trial today, and see how it works for yourself!

51 Sales Email Subject Lines That Actually Work10 Best Email Address Validator Tools15 Sales Email Templates That Actually Work

Email Blacklist: How to Know if You're on It (And What to Do) (4)

Jayson DeMers

Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.

(Video) Email Help - Blacklisting / Safelisting With Rackspace Email

FAQs

How do you check if you are on a blacklist? ›

DNSBL.info

DNSBL.info is a single place where you can check the blacklist status of your mail server's IP address on more than 100 DNS based blacklists. The service is owned and operated by CGP Holdings, a US-based company with 15+ years' experience in developing dynamic content websites.

What happens when your email is blacklisted? ›

If the IP happens to appear on a blacklist, the email is rejected and never gets delivered to the recipient's inbox. Then, the email goes through a spam filter. If everything is ok, a spam filter gives the email a green light to reach its destination, namely the recipient's inbox.

What do you do if you are blacklisted? ›

What to do if you've been blacklisted:
  1. Reach out to the company and request an in-person conversation.
  2. Ask for constructive feedback about what went wrong and what could be done to correct the mistake.
  3. Be willing to accept the advice of the person who's blacklisted you.
  4. Follow through.
Apr 20, 2012

How do I unlist my IP address from blacklisted in Gmail? ›

Once you are certain the spamming behavior has stopped, you can then prepare to submit a request to remove your IP from Gmail's blacklist.
  1. Authenticate Your Email.
  2. Follow Gmail's Best Practices.
  3. Submit Gmail Blacklist Removal Form.
Aug 19, 2019

How long does blacklisting last? ›

Once you have been blacklisted you will have a bad credit record for anything from 2 – 10 years, depending on the type of listing that you have against you, but even after this period of time a judgment can be issued against you if you have not paid the money that you owe.

How can I clear my name from being blacklisted? ›

Pay the debt

Often, you can negotiate a settlement with them. Afterward, you can ask your creditor to write a letter to the credit bureaus exonerating you of the debt because you've paid it. The credit bureau will then delete the blacklisting.

Is my email blacklisted by Gmail? ›

Run a Free Blacklist Check

If you are being blocked by Gmail, your email will be rejected with a “421” or a “550” SMTP error. “421” errors indicate temporary blocks and mail servers attempting to resend the emails.

How many emails can I send before I get blacklisted? ›

If you send 10,000 emails at once and there's a high bounce rate, you'll get blacklisted when the rate goes above 10%. Sending fewer emails as you warm up the IPs will help prevent that situation. Remember, more is not always better when it comes to sales leads.

How does someone get blacklisted? ›

A blacklist is any understanding or agreement that communicates a name, or list of names, or descriptions between two or more employers, supervisors, or managers in order to prevent an employee from engaging in a useful occupation. A blacklist can be spoken, written, printed, or implied.

What blacklist does Gmail use? ›

Composite Blocking List (cbl.abuseat.org) – The Composite Blocking List (CBL) is an IP-based blacklist that appears to be utilized by Gmail.

Is being blacklisted permanent? ›

Email blacklists are not permanent, though, and there are several actions you can take to prevent it from happening.

What is blacklist status? ›

A blacklisted iPhone is a phone reported lost or stolen by the prior or current owner. Another way a phone can be blacklisted is from an outstanding balance or unpaid contract bills. When there are outstanding or unpaid balances and bills, the phone carrier reports it as a blacklisted phone.

Is blacklisting illegal? ›

The Government has brought into force Regulations that make it unlawful to blacklist workers from employment as a result of their union membership or activities.

Can companies blacklist you? ›

Blacklisting is illegal in California, but some employers are vindicative. These businesses may resort to defamation, where a past employer simply lies about the employee's character or performance to ruin their future prospects.

Can a former employer blacklist you? ›

Your previous employer is legally prohibited from saying anything about you that is untrue or that which cannot be substantiated in some manner. Employers are prohibited under the law from intentionally blacklisting their former employees to potential employers.

What happens if your IP address is blacklisted? ›

If your host's IP address gets blacklisted, any email that you or your company sends will get bounced back by the recipient's email provider if they're using the same blacklist.

Do emails bounce back if blocked? ›

Blocked email address

If an email account is in the blocked list, then the emails from the particular sender will not be delivered into the receiver's inbox, so that a bounce back will be generated.

How do I know if I am under debt review? ›

To check your debt review status, you have to request your credit report from a credit bureau like TransUnion or Experian. You can do this for free once every year; otherwise, the credit report could cost a few Rand – we recommend checking with your chosen service provider before requesting your report.

Can a blacklisted person get a job? ›

Being blacklisted will decrease your chances to get a new job. Especially when you work through traditional recruitment agencies. They check your credit report before they recommend you to possible employers. Some agencies have denied job applications when people are blacklisted.

Is it true that after 7 years your credit is clear? ›

Highlights: Most negative information generally stays on credit reports for 7 years. Bankruptcy stays on your Equifax credit report for 7 to 10 years, depending on the bankruptcy type. Closed accounts paid as agreed stay on your Equifax credit report for up to 10 years.

How long does it take for a blacklist to clear? ›

It tracks all your accounts and indicates where, over a period of two years, you have missed payments or gone into arrears on an account. Then after two years, this adverse information simply disappears.

How long does a Judgement stay on your name? ›

A judgment remains on your credit record for 5 years or until it is paid in full or a rescission is granted by the courts. Although not always the case, in general a consumer is listed as defaulting before a credit provider applies for a judgment.

How long does it take to remove your name from ITC? ›

The credit bureau will remove the judgment listing within 20 days. Note that the only way to remove a default listing is to challenge its legal validity in terms of how it was placed.

How do I remove my IP address from Google? ›

How to exclude IP addresses
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the page menu on the left, click Settings.
  3. Select the campaign you'd like to exclude IP addresses from.
  4. Click to expand the "IP exclusions" section. ...
  5. Enter the IP addresses you want to exclude from seeing your ads.
  6. Click Save.

Why did Gmail block my email? ›

One top reason why your emails are being filtered on Gmail is that it has spammy-looking content. Gmail recognizes spam at first sight through contextual and stylistic filtering.

How many email blacklists are there? ›

There are over 300 publicly available spam blacklists that range from the well known and more widely used lists created by credible companies to independent blacklists.

What does blacklist blocked mean? ›

A blacklist, in IT, is a collection of entities that are blocked from communicating with or logging into a computer, site or network.

How do I delist my IP address? ›

In a web browser, go to https://sender.office.com.
  1. Follow the instructions on the page. ...
  2. Click Submit. ...
  3. Click the confirmation link in the email sent to you by the delisting portal. ...
  4. In the delist portal, click Delist IP.
Sep 2, 2022

What does it mean to blacklist a person? ›

1 : a list of persons who are disapproved of or are to be punished or boycotted. 2 : a list of banned or excluded things of disreputable character a domain-name blacklist … helped the government keep marijuana on the blacklist.— Cynthia Cotts.

Is there an HR blacklist? ›

Being on a recruiter's blacklist means that he or she won't forward your résumé to a hiring manager. You may be highly qualified for a position, passionate about your job, and ready to make a difference at a company. None of that matters, if you're labeled as unpresentable or unemployable.

How can a company blacklist an employee? ›

The human resource department will never share inappropriate criteria to the candidate, the HR will keep of list people disqualified for subjective reasons. To createemployee blacklist first company needs to establish a database of all applications received, they should assign a unique account for each candidate.

How can you tell if someone has blocked you on outlook? ›

How to Tell If Your Email Address Is Blocked
  1. Send an email to the person, group server or site that you believe has blocked you. ...
  2. Wait to see if the email bounces. ...
  3. Attempt to send an email to another address, just to be sure that your email account is functioning and allowing you to send messages.

How do I know if my IP is blacklisted by Microsoft? ›

From a web browser go to the Office 365 Anti-Spam IP Delist Portal (https://sender.office.com). Step 1: Enter a valid email address to receive a verification email to complete the check, and enter the public IP address of the messaging server you want to check.

Can email addresses be blacklisted? ›

A bad email address or full inbox can cause it to bounce, a typo could send it to the wrong person, or a blacklist can prevent it from ever reaching an inbox at all. The occasional typo or bad email address can happen to anyone and is easily fixed. However, being listed on a blacklist is serious.

How do you check if a domain is blacklisted by Google? ›

You can check Google's Transparency Report to see if a website is blacklisted due to a Copyright or DMCA claim. You can also use Google's Safe Browsing Site Status tool.

How do I know if my email is blacklisted in Outlook? ›

You can check this by going back to the Junk menu in the Home tab, and then click Junk Email Options. In the newly opened window, go to the Blocked Senders tab to find all the emails that are blocked there.

Is my email blacklisted by Gmail? ›

Run a Free Blacklist Check

If you are being blocked by Gmail, your email will be rejected with a “421” or a “550” SMTP error. “421” errors indicate temporary blocks and mail servers attempting to resend the emails.

How many emails does it take to get blacklisted? ›

Start with a much lower number of recipients—150 to 400 leads, so you can warm up your IP addresses. If you send 10,000 emails at once and there's a high bounce rate, you'll get blacklisted when the rate goes above 10%. Sending fewer emails as you warm up the IPs will help prevent that situation.

Is being blacklisted permanent? ›

Email blacklists are not permanent, though, and there are several actions you can take to prevent it from happening.

How do you check if my email is flagged as spam? ›

Do a spam test
  1. Head to www.mail-tester.com and copy the email address in the white box.
  2. Go back to your mailing draft and send a test mailing to this email address.
  3. Navigate back to Mail Tester and click “Then check your score”
  4. The number you get is your score.

How do I get off Google blacklist? ›

Navigate to Security & Manual Actions > Security Issues, and select the Request Review button. Google will then review your website and (hopefully) remove it from the blacklist.

Does Google have a black list? ›

The Google black list is a database maintained by Google that contains websites flagged as unsafe for users by Google, other search engines, or security companies. These websites may host malware, Phishing attacks, spam ware, etc, and Google blacklist protects the users from these.

What websites are blacklisted? ›

A Look at the Top Blocked Websites
RankDomainThreat
6,239subtitleseeker.comMalicious JavaScript
18,784financereports.coScam
35,610tryteens.comPDF malware
41,560iranact.coMalicious JavaScript
10 more rows
May 14, 2012

How do I remove my IP address from blacklist in Outlook? ›

To remove your server's IP from Hotmail's blacklist, you need to complete their Hotmail Blacklist Removal Form. Be sure to copy and paste the entire headers from a bounced email. The headers allow Microsoft to confirm the error messages and IP addresses.

Where do blocked emails go in outlook? ›

Outlook moves any incoming message from senders in the Blocked Senders List to the Junk E-mail folder, regardless of the content of the message.

How do I know if my IP is blocked by Microsoft? ›

From a web browser go to the Office 365 Anti-Spam IP Delist Portal (https://sender.office.com). Step 1: Enter a valid email address to receive a verification email to complete the check, and enter the public IP address of the messaging server you want to check.

Do emails bounce back if blocked? ›

Blocked email address

If an email account is in the blocked list, then the emails from the particular sender will not be delivered into the receiver's inbox, so that a bounce back will be generated.

What causes an email to be blocked? ›

There can be some technical issues that might affect your email sending process for example, mistakenly formatted message headers, absence of reverse DNS, PTR records set-up, or error in authentication that can lead to email delivery challenges and eventually your email getting blocked.

Which blacklist does Gmail use? ›

Composite Blocking List (cbl.abuseat.org) – The Composite Blocking List (CBL) is an IP-based blacklist that appears to be utilized by Gmail.

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