How to Avoid a Bloody Blacklist Removal Battle
You're listed on a major blacklist site like Spamhaus and a majority of your emails aren’t getting delivered. The natural knee-jerk reaction to being blocked is to contact the blacklist owner and demand an immediate resolution, only to be told to repermission your list and come back later.
Does this scenario sound familiar? Resolving a blacklist issue can be frustrating and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Stay calm and follow these steps to find that mediating a block doesn’t have to be a hair-pulling experience:
1. Research. Look up the bounce code that you’re receiving from the internet service provider or blacklist. Is the block temporary or permanent? Most bounce codes now include a URL that will redirect you to the reasons for getting blocked as well as contact information if manual intervention is needed.
The most common reason for getting blacklisted is spam traps. Other times it may be an email server configuration issue, an issue with your IP address segmentation or perhaps something entirely different. The bounce code should tell you more; a blacklist owner won’t even respond to you without it.
2. Develop. Now that you’ve identified the problem, determine how to fix it. The key is developing both a short- and long-term plan of action. What can you do immediately that will help alleviate the issues you’re having? What do you need to do over time to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again? It sometimes helps to have a third party audit your program to determine how your mailing practices are contributing to your problem.
3. Execute. Now it’s time to put your short-term strategy into place. The quicker you can execute, the quicker your block will be lifted. Sometimes blocks are temporary, lasting perhaps a few hours to a few days, so it’s best to execute your plan as soon as possible. Sometimes your short-term strategy may not show any results for days, maybe weeks. Be patient and continue to monitor the key reputation metric that's causing the issue to determine if it’s trending in the right direction. The majority of the time your issue should resolve itself and you won’t need to contact anyone.
4. Resolve. If a blacklisting requires manual intervention, look up the contact information located in the bounce code. Prepare to present both your short- and long-term strategy for fixing the problem. The key is showing that you’ve identified why you had the problem and what you plan to do to address it long term. If you weren’t able to determine a root cause for being blocked, ask for more information but don’t demand the block be lifted. The burden of proof is on you to show that you’ve done your homework and you’re willing to address the issue for the long haul. Being demanding and brash will only get you on a different kind of list.
Have your own personal blacklisting horror story? Tell us about it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear how you resolved it.