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How to Find If Your Email Is Blacklisted

Julia McCoy
Thursday, 6th Apr 2023
how to find if your email is blacklisted

As seasoned email marketers, we all know the importance of safeguarding our email addresses and domains from being blacklisted.

Imagine all the hard work you’ve done — hours you spent writing copy, editing images, and formatting your email — going down the drain because you’re not even reaching inboxes…

All because you’ve been blacklisted.

But the truth is, a whopping 85% of emails sent every day are considered spam, which makes blacklists useful in cleaning up email recipients’ inboxes. Some ISPs even have their own internal blacklists in addition to specialized services that are available to the public.

So how do you avoid the blacklist? And how to find if your email is blacklisted?

In this blog post, we will explore:

  • What it means to be blacklisted.
  • How to check if your email address or domain is on a blacklist.
  • How to get out of a blacklisted status.

If you’ve been having difficulty sending emails or have been getting plenty of spam notifications in your company inbox, then let’s discuss strategies to get you out of a blacklist or spam folder to ensure successful delivery rates for all future mailings.

Table of Contents

What is Email Blacklisting?

Email blacklisting is a process used by email providers to protect their users from unwanted emails, or spam. Blacklisting works by preventing certain IP addresses and domains from sending messages to recipients. When an address is in blacklist status, all mail sent from that address will be blocked and never reach the recipient’s inbox.

Why are spam blacklists important?

More than 80% of B2B marketers send out email newsletters as part of their content marketing strategy, which makes email marketing a major source of communication for companies. An email address that goes to public or private blacklists could lead to a significant loss of customers and revenue due to the lack of communication with potential buyers.

A blacklist status is a grave matter that you shouldn’t disregard. If your domain has been put on internal blacklists, it’s crucial to know how to find if your email is blacklisted.

How do you end up on a blacklist? Here’s a graphic from Spamhaus to demonstrate.

email blacklisted

Why is a Domain Blacklisted?

Email blacklisting is a major problem for marketers as it can significantly reduce the effectiveness of email campaigns. To ensure successful delivery, it’s important to understand the common causes of being blacklisted.

Recycled Spam Traps

Inactive email accounts which have been repurposed by ISPs as spam-catching devices are known as recycled spam traps. If you send emails to these addresses, your domain may be flagged and added to an ISP’s blacklist.

Trigger Words Associated with Spam

Certain words in subject lines or body content can trigger spam filters and result in your messages getting blocked or sent directly to a recipient’s spam folder. Common examples include “free”, “guarantee”, and “100% satisfied.” Avoid using such terms when crafting subject lines for email marketing campaigns.

High Bounce Rates

A high bounce rate occurs when too many recipients don’t receive an email due to invalid or non-existent addresses on contact lists. This could be caused by typos in address entries or outdated information from previous campaigns that haven’t been updated.

ISPs track bounced emails and if they reach a certain threshold, they will add your domain name to their internal blacklist as a precautionary measure against potential spam activity from your account.

Outdated Contact Lists

When you buy email lists, double-check their accuracy first as most of these lists are filled with outdated information or typo errors — eventually landing your email domain on a blacklist.

Getting blacklisted can be scary, so let’s get into how to find out if your email is blacklisted.

Email Blacklist Check: How to Find If Your Email is Blacklisted

It is essential for marketers to regularly check whether their email domain name has been added to any blacklist database due to suspected malicious activity. These lists change frequently based on new reports received by various organizations such as Spamhaus, URIBL, and SURBL which gather information found in unsolicited messages.

There are a number of tools available online that allow you to check if your domain is on any blacklist database.

Let’s learn how to find if your email is blacklisted.

MXToolbox Blacklist Checker

One such tool is MXToolbox Blacklist Checker. This free service allows users to enter the IP address or hostname they want to test against more than 100 different DNS-based blacklists (DNSBLs).

The results will indicate whether the IP address or hostname tested appears on one or more of these lists and provide detailed information about each list where it was found including contact details for removal requests.

is my email blacklisted

Screenshot from MXToolbox

MXToolBox Domain Health Report

Another useful tool is MXToolBox Domain Health Report, which provides an overall health score for domains based on several factors including spam score, email server configuration issues, and open relay checks among other tests.

It also includes links with additional information about each factor that contributes towards the health score so users can easily identify potential problems and take corrective action if necessary.

blacklisted email domain health report

Screenshot from MXToolbox

MultiRBL

If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution, MultiRBL offers the perfect package by checking multiple blacklists simultaneously with its own algorithms and data from external sources such as Spamhaus DBL and URIBL.

This top-notch service provides users with an array of features including reputation monitoring, automated notification emails when changes occur, and API access to integrate into existing systems – making it ideal for larger organizations that need a dependable way to keep track of their domain’s reputations across various networks.

Screenshot from MultiRBL

How to Get Out of a Blacklist Database

Once you’ve identified which databases contain your information, then it’s time to figure out why you were added to them.

Was it because of something malicious? Or simply because someone mistyped something when entering your data into their system? Determining the source of your data’s inclusion in a blacklist database is essential to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

If you find out that your domain is indeed included in a blacklist, the next step would be to request removal from whoever added your domain to their blacklist. You’ll need evidence to prove that whatever issue caused them to add you has been resolved before submitting an appeal. 

Best Practices for Avoiding Email Blacklists

Is your email blacklisted? How do you prevent this from happening?

Here are some of the best practices when sending out bulk emails to make sure you don’t get flagged as spam or added to a blacklist.

First, verify all email addresses in your subscriber list before sending out mass emails. You can do this with an email marketing automation tool like Benchmark Email or Sendinblue. This prevents messages from being sent to invalid contacts, which could result in potential spam flags.

Next, implement routine email list management procedures such as:

  • Double opt-in for new subscribers.
  • Regularly clean up old contacts.
  • Provide clear unsubscribe instructions.
  • Adhere to anti-spam laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. and GDPR in the EU.

Following these steps can help reduce your risk of being blacklisted while ensuring that your messages reach their intended recipients.

FAQs – How to Find If Your Email is Blacklisted

How do you find out if your email is blacklisted?

A blacklist checker tool can help you find out if your email address has been blacklisted. These tools will scan various databases to see if your IP or domain name appears on any of the known lists of spammers and malicious senders.

You should also review any bounce messages from emails sent out as these may indicate that your address has been blocked by an ISP or recipient server.

Additionally, contact forms may provide feedback about whether a message was successfully delivered or not.

Lastly, be sure to keep up with regular maintenance such as monitoring spam traps and keeping track of open rates for campaigns in order to identify potential issues early on before they become too damaging.

How do I get my email off the blacklist?

To get your email off a blacklist, you must first determine why it was blacklisted. Common reasons include:

  • Sending spam or malicious emails.
  • Using an IP address that has been associated with spamming activities in the past.
  • Having a poor email list that includes inactive subscribers.

Once you have identified the cause of the blacklisting, take corrective action to resolve it. This may involve:

  • Implementing better security measures for your email server.
  • Improving list management practices such as segmentation and unsubscribe options.
  • Retting up authentication protocols like SPF/DKIM records to verify sender identity.
  • Requesting removal from the blacklist provider directly.

Conclusion

For any marketer, it’s important to realize the potential dangers of being blacklisted and how to find if your email is blacklisted to minimize these risks.

Being proactive in monitoring for any suspicious activity or changes to your domain name, IP address, or other elements related to sending emails will help you avoid being blacklisted.

If you’ve been blacklisted, act quickly to resolve the issue so that you can continue providing value to your customers.

Written by Julia McCoy

See more from Julia McCoy
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