The Blacklist: An Email Marketer’s Nightmare

07 April 2016 - Sharon Beilis

 You know that dream that you have over and over again? You’re falling, or being chased, or losing your teeth?

 Completely out of control and scared… getting on the email blacklist is like that – only worse. You have no control over it, but it has total control over you, your business, your income, and your very livelihood. The only way to protect yourself is to understand what the blacklist is and the steps to take to avoid getting there.

The email marketing blacklist is a myth

If you think there is one 1940s era Hollywoodesque list of the ten “naughtiest” email marketers, you are very mistaken. In fact, several entities manage their own “Most Wanted List” of email marketing offenders. The top DNS Blacklists include:

  • The Spamhaus Project, based in Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK, which protects over 3 Billion user mailboxes. Spamhaus data is today used by the majority of the Internet's ISPs, email service providers, corporations, universities, governments and military networks.
  • Barracuda Reputation Block List (BRBL), which began in 2008 and is offered as a free service that is open to the public.
  • This list of dozens of blacklists available on Wikipedia.

While there isn’t one list of “naughtiest” whose chimney will not be graced by Santa come Christmastime, there are many email blacklists managed by many entities and the best way to stay off them is to truly never spam.


7 Habits of email saints

Communication models include the sender, the message, the medium, the receiver, and the feedback. Email marketing has been proven to be an effective medium for sending the right message to the right people. Email marketers who use the system and take proactive actions to avoid abusing the system will steer clear of the black lists.

  1. Monitor your sender reputation. Use sites like to track your score
  2. Maintain consistent emailing volume
  3. Ensure regular emailing frequency
  4. Keep a close watch on stats from each campaign and optimize those that go awry
  5. Use a spam tester like
  6. Verify email addresses with a tool like
  7. Choose email marketing vendors carefully and constantly measure their results

From nightmare to millionaire

If you dread the email marketing blacklists, take matters into your own hands and take control of your risk and your reward.


How to avoid blacklists

As the kids on Elm Street would tell you (if they were email marketers):

  • One, two, make sure your list is true.
  • Three, four, know your sender score.
  • Five, six, follow these tips and tricks.
  • Seven, eight, watch you spam report rate.
  • Nine, ten, never spam, phish, or spoof again.

Email marketing is an effective channel that has turned made many millionaires. If your goal is to send high quality content to segmented opted-in users who are interested in your content, you have nothing to fear. In fact, “white list” email marketers view the blacklist as an ally. It keeps the bad guys away so that honest email marketers can succeed and profit.