First, being blacklisted doesn’t always lead to bad deliverability and landing in the spam folder.
The good news is that, you can be listed in an email blacklist and/or an IP blacklist and still have a perfect deliverability.
Let me explain you why.
The most important inbox providers are Google (Gmail and Google Workspace) and Microsoft (Outlook / Exchange / Office 365).
These major inbox providers use their own proprietary algorithms to decide whether your emails will land in spam or inbox in their users' mailboxes. They have their own way of scoring your sender reputation.
Most email blacklists like UCEPROTECTL2, UCEPROTECT3, Spamhaus ZEN, SORBS and many others are organizations that are external to Google and Microsoft. In most cases, Google and Microsoft don't take them into account.
Gmail and Outlook have a much better way than external IP blacklists or domain blacklists to know if you’re a spammer or not.
How? By checking how their users react to your emails.
Basically, if you send emails to Gmail and Outlook inboxes and an important part of your emails are opened, replied positively, marked as important, removed from spam, it tells Google and Microsoft that you’re an interesting sender and you deserve to land in inbox, not in spam.
However, if your emails don’t get enough openings, replies, stars and worse, are marked as spam, it tells the inbox providers that you send irrelevant emails and deserve to land in spam.
This is how Google and Microsoft score your sender reputation.
This is why, if you're sending B2B cold emails, using an email warm up tool is a great boost to land more often in the inbox of your recipients.
At MailReach, we regularly check our data to see the impact of blacklists on deliverability.
Keep in mind, though, that smaller inbox providers do take into account email blacklists so that might impact your rate of email delivery negatively.
Reasons why an IP address or domain gets blacklisted
There are several reasons why your emails have been considered spam and your IP address was thrown into a blacklist.
Blacklisting because of your host or inbox provider
Some blacklisting organizations (like UCEPROTECTL2, UCEPROTECTL3) put whole ranges of IP addresses in their email blacklists based on entire hosts / domain registrars. That means that for those blocklists, it’s not your particular IP address as a person or a company, it’s your whole host and all its customers.
Also, most Gmail IPs are blacklisted. That means that if you send emails from Gmail, the Gmail IP that is allocated to you to send your email has a very high chance of being blacklisted.
But as Google IPs have a very high reputation, it doesn't have any negative impact on your ability to land in inbox.
A spam trap is an email address created and maintained to catch spammers. If an email marketer sends an email to such spam trap addresses, it indicates that they may have acquired the email address through illegal or unethical means, such as scraping websites, purchasing email lists, or sending emails to people who have not permitted to receive them.
Inactive email list
If you have created an email list for marketing purposes, you need to ensure that all the email addresses are active and engaged. Sending emails to expired or incorrect email addresses increases your bounce rate and can decrease your email sender reputation. It also sends a message that you have a bad delivery rate.
High email volume
If you have a habit of sending only a few emails per week and suddenly decide to send hundreds of emails in one day, then this activity may be considered suspicious by your email service provider. After all, this is exactly what spammers do.
This means there is a chance that your email address could get blocked, so make sure you are careful about the frequency and volume of your email. Also, always perform an email warmup before using a new email address for marketing purposes.
High spam complaint rate
Depending on your email provider, you can end up in a domain blacklist or an IP blacklist because the emails you send get too often marked as spam. That is why you absolutely need to follow the best practices to please your recipients, avoid pissing them off to minimize your number of spam complaints. We talk about this in our Ultimate Deliverability Guide.
Hijacked email account
One of the most common reasons to end up in an email blacklist is because their account get hacked by spammers who use them for sending spam messages.
Email spoofing is a type of cyberattack in which spammers create emails with forged sender addresses. Such messages appear to have originated from a legitimate source so it can be difficult for the recipient to realize it is a spam message and they might engage with it to their detriment.
How to check if you have landed on a blacklist ?
If you think your IP address or domain ended up on an email blacklist, your first line of action is to find out the status of your email by performing a spam test on MailReach.
This free tool allows you to easily check your email deliverability with a few clicks and see if your mail server IP address ended up in an email blacklist or not.
As seen above, most external email blacklists have little to no impact on deliverability towards Google and Microsoft inboxes (both represent most of the inbox market).
And, in all cases, whether you're listed in an email blacklist or not, the ONLY thing that matters is where your emails land on the type of inboxes you target. Everything else is noise.
You need to check how your deliverability is doing and take action if needed.
To get your deliverability score and find out where your emails land on the major providers, you can use MailReach’s Free email spam test.
Basically, you simply have to send your email to a list of 31 inboxes given by MailReach and we’ll give you a detailed report on your deliverability including all the things you can improve to land more in inbox.
You get a score out of 10 and a list of checks (content, spam words, links, tracking including a blacklist checker and many more)
MailReach's Email Spam Test to check if IP or domain blacklists have an impact or not on your ability to land in inbox.
How to remove yourself from an email blacklist ?
Once you've done the free deliverability test with the blacklist check, if you've found out your IP address and/or domain is listed in a blacklist, then you have several scenarios now.
You don't need to remove yourself from the blacklist if it has no impact on your deliverability.
First, you can't always be removed from blacklists. Since sometimes it's not you directly but your host, it can be out of your control.
In all cases, it all depends the result of your deliverability test with MailReach. Keep reading.
First scenario: You managed to land fully in inbox when doing your spam test
In other words, even if you have a blacklisted ip address or domain, you manage to have a perfect deliverability (at least towards the inbox provider of our spam test). That's great!
That means that this blacklist doesn't prevent you from landing in inbox in Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail and so on.
If your recipients mostly use these inbox providers, then you can stop now and save your energy, you won't need to ask to be removed from a blacklist that doesn't impact you
Of course, if you target smaller mailboxes or internet service providers, like local ones from your country, we recommend you to run further tests towards these mail servers to check where you land for those.
Second scenario: You landed in spam on the mailbox providers you actually target with your campaigns.
In that case, you may land in spam because of several factors, not necessarily or only because of the blacklisted IP address or domain.
It can also be because of your content, your sending setup or your sender reputation.
By following the recommendations of your spam test report, you can make changes to your content, your sending setup and see if you manage to get a higher score.
If you followed every of our recommendations and still land in spam, it can be because of a sender reputation problem. In that case, MailReach's email warm up tool can help you.
On top of that, depending of the blacklist, if that's possible, you can ask to be removed by going on the blacklist official website.
Notify them that the issue has now been fixed and to remove you from the list.
Some blacklist administrators are reasonable people and will quickly respond to your blacklist removal request. If they don't reply, try following up.
If you never manage to get removed and you're having a bad deliverability, consider doing email warm up to restore your sender reputation.
Finding out whether your email address has been blacklisted is an easy task with MailReach spam test that will give you an instant response about the status of your email.
The main thing to look at is whether your ability to land in the inbox of your recipient is damaged or not.
If it's not, well you're fine. But if it's damaged, you need to take action.
To monitor your deliverability and make sure your emails reach the inbox of your recipients, visit MailReach at https://www.mailreach.co/