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) Can I Tell If Someone Blocked My Number or Email?

  • 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!

27 Best Email Testing Tools10 Best Email Address Validator Tools18 Best Bulk Email Services

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) How to remove Domain from Blacklist? SpamRATS and UCEPROTECTL1

FAQs

How do you tell if your email is blacklisted? ›

Many blacklists are openly available, such as net. If you want to see whether your domain is being blocked by a specific site, you can search by that site either the IP address or domain. Use a dedicated blacklist tool. You can perform a blacklist check on the MXToolbox.

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.
20 Apr 2012

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.

Can you be removed from blacklist? ›

The National Credit Act (Act 34 of 2005) stipulates that if you were blacklisted and have paid the debt for which you were listed, you may apply to the credit bureau where you were listed to have your name removed from that list. This can be done by applying for the cancellation of that blacklisting.

What does temporarily blacklisted mean? ›

It means we've detected some suspicious activity that might indicate a security breach, so we've blocked the responsible IP address to protect your account. Unfortunately, sometimes we unintentionally block legitimate activity.

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 do I find the IP address of an email sender? ›

Getting an IP address from email in 3 steps (in Gmail)
  1. Open the email and click on the three dots icon.
  2. Select “Show original”
  3. Search the plain text for “Received” to find the IP address.
13 May 2022

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 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.

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.

How does a person get blacklisted? ›

It refers to a time when credit bureaus kept only negative or default data about consumers' credit behaviour. Blacklisting was, in essence, an informal term used to indicate negative information on someone's credit report. It was widely used during a time when only negative data would be collected by bureaus.

Why am I getting so much spam email all of a sudden? ›

If you start receiving an increased amount of spam, with junk mail filters enabled, then there might be a problem with the mailbox that your spam emails are usually moved to. You should check that the target mailbox or mail folder isn't full or disabled.

How do you test email deliverability? ›

How it works: Step 1: Send an email to ping@tools.mxtoolbox.com. Step 2: Once you have sent that message it will reply. Click the link: "View your full Deliverability Report"

Why is my email getting spammed? ›

Spam messages often come from illegitimate email addresses, and may contain explicit or illegal content. These emails often use scare tactics, contain typos and misleading information, and are sent in bulk from an anonymous sender.

How can I clear my name on ITC? ›

All you have to do is to contact the credit bureau that is showing a listing and inform them that the creditor did not notify you before they placed the listing on your credit record.

Why is IP blocked? ›

There are many reasons why an IP address can be blocked in the firewall, but the two most common are: The use of an incorrect username or password combination when connecting to the server or a service such as email, ftp, ssh, or cPanel/WHM. A mod_security rule violation.

Why is IP blacklisted? ›

A website may be IP blacklisted if its content is deemed inappropriate. This could be pornographic material, black market trade, or sensitive subjects such as weapons and arms deals. Internet Service Providers or even government agencies could actively block websites such as these and prevent users from accessing them.

How do u change ur IP address? ›

How to Change Your IP Address on Android Manually
  1. Go to your Android Settings.
  2. Navigate to Wireless & Networks.
  3. Click on your Wi-Fi network.
  4. Click Modify Network.
  5. Select Advanced Options.
  6. Change the IP address.
11 Aug 2022

What does it mean if my IP address is flagged? ›

What does 'blacklisted' mean? Blacklists are most commonly a collection of email or IP addresses which have been flagged for sending spam. Many email hosting providers will use these public blacklists as part of their overall efforts to limit the spam they receive to their network.

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.

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.

How do you know if your IP address is blocked? ›

How Do I Know If My IP Is Being Blocked? To confirm you are blocked from accessing your server, you should try to log in to your web server, as usual, to see what kind of connection error message you're getting. This error will often provide a specific reason that your IP has been blocked.

How can I trace the origin of an email? ›

Tracing the Original Sender of an Email

To trace the IP address of the original email sender, head to the first Received in the full email header. Alongside the first Received line is the IP address of the server that sent the email. Sometimes, this appears as X-Originating-IP or Original-IP.

Can a fake email address be traced? ›

An anonymous email address done right hides your true identity. From sender name to the IP address and metadata, an anonymous email can't be traced back to the sender.

Can I track someone by their email? ›

How to Find Someone by Email Address - YouTube

How do email blacklists work? ›

In short, you send your email (Sender) and it's received by an ISP (Receiver) who then decides if your email looks legitimate. If the ISP is using a blacklist, the email IP address is checked against the list. It then goes through the spam filters of the ISP to check for anything they don't allow.

How do I get my name off the blacklist? ›

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.

Do companies have hiring blacklists? ›

Some companies have maintained an actual list of names — a blacklist — of people they never, ever want to hire. This is an illegal practice in nearly every state.

What is a blacklisted employee? ›

In employment, a blacklist or blacklisting refers to denying people employment for either political reasons (due to actual or suspected political affiliation), due to a history of trade union activity, or due to a history of whistleblowing, for example on safety or corruption issues.

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 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.

Why am I not getting my emails? ›

Insufficient storage space is among the main reasons for Gmail not receiving emails on iPhone, Android, desktop, and web. If you're wondering what to do when you are not getting emails because there's no storage space left for them, then you should know that manually deleting old messages isn't your only option.

What does it mean when your email address is on the dark web? ›

If your personal information such as your email address is spotted on the dark web, it likely means that you have been affected by a data breach.

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.

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.

How do you know if your IP address is blocked? ›

How Do I Know If My IP Is Being Blocked? To confirm you are blocked from accessing your server, you should try to log in to your web server, as usual, to see what kind of connection error message you're getting. This error will often provide a specific reason that your IP has been blocked.

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 view blocked emails in Gmail? ›

Let us show you the steps.
  1. Visit mail.google.com on your computer or iPad. You cannot follow these steps on the mobile version of Gmail or the app.
  2. Click the settings gear icon > See all settings. Or, click this direct link.
  3. Click Filters and Blocked Addresses.
  4. Click unblock next to an email.
31 Jan 2022

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.

How do I chat with Gmail support? ›

Again, visit the Google support web page via any web browser. Now, choose Gmail product from the list. After then, tap on the 'Chat' option. Wait for a minute and talk to the Gmail support executive over the chat.

Why was my email blocked on Gmail? ›

Generally, Gmail blocks your email for one of several reasons. You are sending large volumes of email. There are sudden changes in email volume. You are sending emails to “spam trap” addresses.

Why are emails sent but not received by recipient? ›

The recipient never got the email you sent

Check your Sent Mail and Drafts. If the email isn't there, you might have deleted it before you sent it. Ask the recipient to check their Junk or Spam. If it's there, have them add you to their contacts so the next email goes through.

What happens if your info is on the dark web? ›

Sites on the dark web use encryption software to hide their locations. A good chunk of the dark web is devoted to the buying and selling of stolen financial and personal information. And if your information ends up on dark web sites — for instance, after a data breach — an identity thief could gain access to it.

Can you remove your information from the dark web? ›

While you can't remove your info from the dark web once it's there, you can take steps to prevent anyone from leaking your identity or personal data in the first place: Use a password manager. Avoid public WiFi. Set up two-factor authentication.

What should I do if I found my SSN on the dark web? ›

What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is on the Dark Web
  1. Place a Freeze on Your Credit Report. ...
  2. Monitor Your Credit Cards Religiously. ...
  3. Set Up Alerts on All of Your Credit Accounts. ...
  4. Get Your Free Credit Reports Regularly. ...
  5. Keep an Eye on Your 'my Social Security' Account. ...
  6. Report Any Fraudulent Activity.
27 Apr 2022

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