How to: Find out if your domain or IP is on a blacklist and what to do next

What to do when your emails stop hitting the inbox

When all of a sudden you're unable to deliver your emails, you'll probably think of a blacklist. You're still receiving emails, so there must be something wrong with outgoing email being blocked. But are you really on a blacklist? And if so, what caused you to end up there? Let's take a look at how you've ended up on blacklists and how to get rid of them.

Written by: Richard van Looijen Published: July 14, 2020 Latest update: March 29, 2021

Find out first: is your email actually blacklisted?

The first thing you need to know for sure is the root cause of all your problems. Are you really on a blacklist?

If you have enabled or have access to bounce notifications, you'll find out quick enough. These notifications will explicitly state if you have been blacklisted, so when you have an overview of these notifications, you could easily tell if your problem is caused by a blacklist.

If that's not the case, you can also check the IP address or domain via the MultiRBL tool.

You found your IP address or domain name on a blacklist? Here is something to comfort your mind first: There are tons of email blacklists and they have a less impact than you might think. Only a few of those are being used so often that listing has an immediate impact. If you're troubled with a blacklist, Flowmailer will help you estimate its impact.

However, even if you're not on a blacklist, delivery problems can still arise. Popular Email Service Providers like Gmail and Outlook use their own reputation system over blacklists. With a system like that, the chances of delivery depend on two factors: Your own behaviour as a sender as well as the way your receivers handle your email. Are you rarely causing bounces and are all your emails read? Or do people mark your messages as spam and do they leave them unopened?

Companies like Return Path provide insight into your reputation using ''Sender Score". Any score below 90 could mean trouble. Find out what your sender score is with this helpful tool!

What to do if you are blacklisted / have a bad reputation?

Once you've figured out what causes your troubles, it's time for some action. Take this from us: all issues are caused by the sender. You might just have caused it by accident. Maybe you've send unsollicited spam since your contact database was not up to date. Or that email marketing campaign you suspected to slightly cross the line backfired. Maybe you've never handled previous bounces or complaints and just kept emailing those addresses.

Whatever caused it the issue, you need to resolve it first. Because if you start by fixing the problem itself, solutions will always be temporary. Fix your delivery issues following these steps:

  • Make sure you know what's wrong. Start with registering on senderscore.org. By doing so, you will get some helpful tips on where to find your problem. With that, the tool also provides a priority list on the impact of these factors. Are you on a blacklist? The named list will help you out with a link to more information on the issue.
  • Check if someone else is causing you problems. It's not unimaginable that you're sharing your IP address. Say you're using a shared service. If the people you share this with misbehave, you will feel the consequences as well. If that happens, please contact your hosting provider. Is your problem still not solved afterwards? Well, there is not much left than to look for another provider.
     

Prevent Blacklisting

When you've found the cause of your issues and fixed it, your reputation will restore in time. This could take you weeks of 'good behaviour', though. Same goes for blacklisting. The possibility to ask for a ‘delisting’  exist, but repetitive blacklisting will get harder to get delisted every time.

It's better to be safe than to be sorry with blacklist. Bad behaviour obviously isn't rewarding. It's why we stick to the law (e.g. GDPR) and the Code Email (DDMA). In the end, though, your recipient's opinion is far more important for inbox placement. Make sure your email isn't seen as unwanted or spam. You may get your domains off a blacklist, but nasty customer experiences stick.

Summarized

There are several blacklists you can end up on, all with various influence on how you're delivering emails. Finding out is easy, just run a check on blacklists and check your senderscore. But the hard part is getting rid off them. If you're a legitimate sender trying to get rid off email blacklists, don't wait another day. Our experts are here to help you gain full control over your email deliverability. Reach out to us at: hello@flowmailer.com