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RATS Spam Blacklist : Definition & How to remove yourself (2024)

damien ceo mailreach
David Chastanet
Email Deliverability Expert

The RATS Spam Blacklist is a list of IP addresses that have triggered the spam filters. Our tips to understand it and remove yourself from this list !

RATS Spam Blacklist

The RATS Spam Blacklist is a list of the IP addresses that have a history for triggering spam filters for various reasons. Understanding this blacklist and its implications is crucial for anyone aiming to maintain a clean email reputation, keep a good email deliverability and ensure their messages reach the right inboxes.

What is exactly a RATS Spam Blacklist ? How does it work ? Does this blacklist necessarily involve a bad email deliverability ? How to remove yourself from it ? More details coming !

What is a RATS Spam Blacklist ?

The RATS Spam Blacklist, or Real-time Blacklist of Abuse and Spam Trackers, is a useful tool against unwanted emails and spam. It can be described as a comprehensive database that tracks IP addresses known for sending out spam emails or engaging in abusive online behavior. Think of it as a watchful guardian patrolling the digital realm, flagging and blocking malicious actors to safeguard users from unsolicited and potentially harmful content.

RATS is a blacklist external to Google and Microsoft, the two primary email providers worldwide, so this blacklist has a minimal impact.

Operating in real-time, the RATS Spam system continuously monitors incoming emails and compares the sending IP addresses against its extensive database of known offenders. If an IP address matches one on the blacklist, it will be promptly flagged, and measures will be taken to prevent further delivery of emails from that source. 

For example, the "550 High Probability of Spam" email error is usually returned by the recipient's email server or inbox provider when it determines that the message you are sending is more likely to be spam.

The RATS Spam Blacklist serves as a frontline defense mechanism, swiftly identifying and neutralizing spam threats before they infiltrate users' inboxes. In this way, it maintains a clean and secure email environment, ensuring that legitimate messages reach their intended recipients while filtering out malicious and unwanted content.

What are the consequences of being listed on the RATS Spam Blacklist ?

Being listed on the RATS Spam Blacklist can have significant repercussions for both individuals and organizations relying on email communication. 

Firstly, having your IP address flagged on this blacklist can result in a substantial decrease in your email deliverability. This means that your messages are more likely to be diverted to recipients' spam folders or outright blocked by email service providers, which is reducing the effectiveness of your email campaigns or important communications.

A tarnished reputation on the RATS Spam Blacklist can damage your email credibility and trustworthiness. Recipients may become wary of engaging with your emails or even blacklist your domain altogether, hindering future communication efforts

Maintaining a clean IP reputation is paramount for ensuring consistent email deliverability and fostering positive interactions with your audience. By avoiding blacklisting on platforms like RATS Spam, you uphold your credibility as a sender and demonstrate a commitment to delivering valuable, legitimate content to recipients' inboxes. 

How to check if you're listed on RATS Spam ?

Here are the steps to check if your IP address is listed on the RATS Spam Blacklist : 

Go to the RATS Spam Blacklist website : Look for the « Check » option on the website ;

Enter your IP Address or your Domain : Input your IP address or domain name into the provided search field in order to ensure accurate scanning and identification of any blacklist entries related to your email infrastructure ; 

Initiate Scan : Activate the scanning process by initiating the search function within the online tool. This action prompts the tool to query multiple blacklists, including RATS Spam, in real-time, ensuring comprehensive coverage and timely results ;

Review Results : Once the scan is complete, carefully review the generated results to ascertain the status of your IP address or domain on the RATS Spam blacklist. Pay close attention to any listings detected, noting the date of listing and any details provided by the tool ;

Take Action if Listed : In the event that your IP address or domain is found on the RATS Spam blacklist, take immediate action to address the issue. Follow the guidance provided by the online tool to initiate the delisting process and rectify any underlying issues contributing to the listing ; 

Accomplish a Manual Verification : Alternatively, conduct a manual verification by visiting the official RATS website or using command-line tools. This method offers direct access to the RATS Spam blacklist database, allowing for thorough verification of your blacklist status ;

Don’t forget a Regular Monitoring : Make it a habit to regularly monitor the blacklist status of your IP address or domain to proactively identify and resolve any blacklisting issues. Implementing routine checks helps safeguard your email deliverability and maintains the integrity of your sender reputation over time ; 

Use online tools : Our Email Spam Test API is made to connect our email spam test directly to your system.

Blacklisted on RATS Spam : does it lead to a bad deliverability ? 

If you target professional email addresses (business to business), then you will mostly send emails to Google Workspace (professional Gmail) and Office 365 (professional Outlook) addresses. These providers completely disregard the RATS spam blacklist !

While being blacklisted on RATS Spam or similar platforms may raise concerns about email deliverability, it's important to understand that major inbox providers like Google and Microsoft have their own criteria for sorting emails. 

Google primarily relies on internal rules and blacklists, often disregarding external lists like RATS Spam. Instead, they prioritize user engagement metrics to determine email placement. Microsoft, on the other hand, considers both internal rules and external blacklists, making deliverability towards their inboxes trickier. 

However, a blacklisted domain may not necessarily result in poor deliverability, as other factors such as sending reputation and user engagement also play significant roles. 

We recommend you to filter your MailReach dashboard by provider to find out if the spam is focused on Google, Microsoft, or both.

To do that :

✅  In MailReach > Email Warmer > Find the email account and click on Show.

✅  On the right, there's a dropdown menu : Provider: All

✅  Select Gmail / G Workspace and check where your warming emails land.

✅  Select Outlook / Office 365 / Hotmail and check where your warming emails land.

Common Triggers for RATS Spam Listing

Understanding the common triggers for RATS Spam listing is essential for safeguarding your email reputation and avoiding potential blacklisting. 

One of the primary reasons for IP addresses being added to the blacklist is engaging in spammy behavior, such as sending unsolicited bulk emails or using deceptive tactics in email marketing campaigns. 

Additionally, compromised servers or insecure email configurations can make your IP vulnerable to exploitation by spammers, leading to blacklisting. T

To prevent your IP from being blacklisted by RATS Spam, you need to apply the best practices for good email hygiene and security. This includes : 

  • regularly monitoring your email sending patterns, 
  • maintaining up-to-date security measures
  • and implementing authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to verify your sender identity and protect against spoofing. 

How to remove your IP address from the RATS Spam Blacklist ?

Steps to delist from the RATS Spam Blacklist

At first, you must know that you can potentially disregard the need to request delisting, especially when targeting B2B.

To remove your IP address from the RATS Spam Blacklist, follow these detailed steps :

1️. Identify the reason of the blacklisting : Begin by determining why your IP address was blacklisted. Review any notification or information provided by RATS Spam regarding the listing, as it may include details about the specific issues that led to the blacklisting ;

2️. Address the root cause: Once you've identified the reason for the blacklisting, take proactive measures to address the underlying issues. This may involve resolving security vulnerabilities, mitigating spamming activities, or implementing email authentication protocols to enhance sender legitimacy ;

3️. Submit a delisting request: Visit the official RATS Spam website and navigate to the section dedicated to delisting requests. Follow the instructions provided to submit a formal request for removal from the blacklist. Be sure to include relevant details about your IP address and the actions you've taken to rectify the issues ;

4️. Provide supporting evidence: When submitting your delisting request, it's helpful to provide supporting evidence or documentation demonstrating your efforts to resolve the issues identified by RATS Spam. This may include server logs, email headers, or evidence of security enhancements implemented to prevent future occurrences ;

5️. Monitor the progress: After submitting your delisting request, monitor the progress of your request through regular follow-ups with RATS Spam. Be prepared to respond promptly to any additional inquiries or requests for information from the delisting team ;

6️. Maintain compliance: Throughout the delisting process, continue to adhere to best practices for email hygiene and security to prevent recurrence of blacklisting issues. Regularly monitor your email infrastructure for any signs of suspicious activity and promptly address any anomalies to maintain a clean sender reputation.

Preventive measures to avoid the RATS Spam Blacklist

You can also implement preventive measures and adopt some proactive strategies to avoid being listed on the RATS Spam Blacklist. Here are some key steps to consider :

✅  Follow Email Best Practices: Apply the best practices for email marketing and communication, which includes obtaining explicit consent from recipients before sending emails, providing clear opt-out mechanisms, and avoiding deceptive or misleading content in your messages ;

✅  Monitor Email Sending Patterns: Regularly monitor your email sending patterns and volumes to detect any anomalies or signs of spam-like behavior. Keep a close eye on bounce rates, complaint rates, and engagement metrics to identify and address potential issues promptly ;

✅  Maintain Secure Email Infrastructure: Ensure that your email servers and infrastructure are secure and up-to-date with the latest security patches and protocols. Implement robust authentication mechanisms such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to verify sender identity and prevent email spoofing ;

✅  Monitor Blacklist Status: Regularly monitor the blacklist status of your IP address across various blacklist databases, including RATS Spam. Use reputable blacklist monitoring tools or services to stay informed about any listings and take immediate action if blacklisting occurs ; 

✅  Address Complaints Promptly: Act promptly to address any complaints or reports of unsolicited emails or spam from recipients. Investigate the source of complaints, take corrective action to prevent recurrence, and communicate transparently with affected parties to resolve issues ;

✅  Engage in Responsible Email Marketing: Practice responsible email marketing by segmenting your audience, personalizing your messages, and delivering relevant content that adds value to recipients. Avoid purchasing email lists or engaging in aggressive marketing tactics that can lead to spam complaints and blacklisting ;

✅  Educate Email Users: Educate your organization's email users about the importance of email etiquette, security awareness, and compliance with anti-spam regulations. Provide training and resources to help employees recognize and avoid behaviors that could potentially trigger blacklisting.

Leveraging RATS Spam for Email Marketing

Navigating RATS Spam for Marketers

Navigating RATS Spam for marketers requires a great understanding of its significance in email marketing strategies. While RATS Spam serves as a crucial tool for maintaining email integrity and reducing spam, marketers need to ensure that their email campaigns comply with its standards to avoid being flagged. 

This involves adopting transparent and ethical practices in email marketing, such as obtaining explicit consent from recipients, providing clear opt-out options, and delivering relevant and valuable content. 

Marketers should also regularly monitor their email sending practices and blacklist status, taking proactive measures to address any potential issues and maintain a clean sender reputation. 

RATS Spam and Email Deliverability

Being listed on RATS Spam can negatively impact deliverability by increasing the likelihood of emails going to spam folders or begging blocked outright, but there are techniques to reduce these effects and improve the overall deliverability.

One effective strategy is to focus on maintaining a positive sender reputation. For example, this involves sending relevant and engaging content, managing subscriber lists to ensure recipients are actively engaged, and promptly addressing any complaints or issues raised by recipients. By prioritizing sender reputation, marketers can enhance their credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of inbox providers.

Other solution : you can implement protocols such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC that can help verify sender identity and prevent spoofing or phishing attempts, which are common triggers for RATS Spam listings. These protocols signal to inbox providers that emails are legitimate and trustworthy, which can ameliorate your deliverability rates.

Finally, a regular monitoring of your email sending practices is also essential to identify and address potential issues promptly.

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