The Email Marketing Blacklist: All You Need to Know

By Jacky Chou
8 Min Read
By Jacky Chou
8 Min Read

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The Email Marketing Blacklist

Email marketingis a powerful growth tool for businesses of all sizes. It can be used to reach a large audience, build and maintain relationships with customers, and drive sales. However, you could end up on an email marketing blacklist if you’re not careful.

Email marketing blacklists are a serious threat to email marketers. If your IP address or domain is blacklisted, your emails will likely be rejected or filtered into the spam folder. This can significantly reduce your email deliverability, leading to lost customers and revenue.

In this blog post, we discuss what an email blacklist is, why it’s important to avoid being blacklisted, how to know if you’re blacklisted, and how to get off a blacklist if you are. We will also provide tips on preventing your email from being marked as spam and staying up-to-date on blacklisting trends.

By following the tips we have highlighted, you will be well on your way to getting the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

What Exactly is an Email Blacklist?

An email blacklist refers to a list of user IP addresses or domains known to send spam. Email service providers (ESPs), anti-spam vendors, and free mailbox providers use blacklists to prevent spam from reaching users’ inboxes.

Email Blacklists
Image Credits: claysys.com

When an ESP receives an email from an IP address or domain that is on a blacklist, they will typically reject the email or filter it into the spam folder.

Types of Email Blacklists

There are three major types of email blacklists:

  • Private blacklists: These blacklists are owned and operated by individual ESPs. They are typically used to block spam sent from IP addresses or domains known to be associated with that ESP.
  • Public blacklists: These blacklists are owned and operated by third-party companies. They are used by a variety of ESPs to block spam. Public blacklists are typically more comprehensive than private blacklists.
  • Real-time blacklists: These blacklists are updated in real-time. If your IP address or domain is used to send spam, it will be blacklisted immediately.

How Do I Know If I’m Blacklisted?

There are a few ways to check if you’re blacklisted. One way is to use a blacklist-checking service. These services will scan your IP address or domain against various blacklists and tell you if you are blacklisted.

Image Credits: teamdiscovery.co.uk

Another way to check if you’re blacklisted is to send an email to yourself from your domain. If your email ends up in your spam folder, you are likely blacklisted.

What to Do If You Are Blacklisted

If you find that you’re blacklisted, there are a few things you can do to get off the list:

  • Check your email settings: Ensure your email settings are configured correctly. For example, ensure your SPF and DKIM records are correct. These standards have been created to prevent the bad guys from impersonating you as an email sender.
  • Contact your email marketing service provider: Your email marketing service provider may be able to help you get off the email blacklist by pinpointing the email lists in your database containing spam traps.
  • Remove any invalid or spammy email addresses from your list: This will help improve your sender reputation and reduce the chances of your emails being marked as spam.
What to Do If Blacklisted
Image Credits: blog.teamstack.com
  • Request a review from the blacklist: Most blacklists have a process for requesting a review. You can request a review if you believe you have been blacklisted in error.
  • Be patient: It can take some time to get off an email blacklist. Exercise patience and continue to follow the steps above.

How to Avoid Being Blacklisted in the First Place 

The best way to avoid ending up on an email blacklist is to follow successful email marketing best practices to avoid spam filters. These include:

  • Use a reputable email marketing service provider: A reputable email marketing service provider will have a good reputation with ESPs and will be less likely to get your IP address or domain blacklisted.
  • Clean your email list: Remove any invalid or spammy email addresses from your list. Doing this will improve your reputation as a sender and reduce the chances of your emails triggering spam filters.
  • Get user permission before sending emails: Only send emails to individuals who have expressly opted in to receive them. 
Avoid Being Blacklisted
Image Credits: webdisignbos.medium.com
  • Use double opt-ins: A double opt-in process requires that users confirm their subscription to your email list before being added. This helps guarantee that only people truly interested in receiving your emails are included in your list.
  • Send relevant and valuable content: Only send relevant and useful emails to your subscribers. This will help to keep them engaged and reduce the chances of them marking your emails as spam.
  • Monitor your email deliverability: Use an email deliverability tool to monitor your email campaign stats and identify any potential problems. This will help you to take steps to improve your efficiency and avoid being blacklisted.

Why is it Important to Avoid Being Blacklisted?

Being blacklisted can have a devastating impact on your email marketing campaign. Here are some of the reasons why it’s essential to avoid being blacklisted:

  • Reduced email deliverability: When your IP address or domain is on a blacklist, mailbox providers are less inclined to deliver your emails to their users’ inboxes. This can result in a significant drop in your email deliverability.
  • Lower open rates: Even if your emails do get delivered, they are less likely to be opened if your sender’s reputation is poor. This is because users are likelier to mark emails from blacklisted senders as spam.
The Impact of Blacklisting
Image Credits: chargebackgurus.com
  • Damaged sender reputation: Being blacklisted can damage your email sender’s reputation. This can make it more challenging to deliver your emails in the future.
  • Lost revenue: If your email marketing campaigns are unsuccessful, you will lose revenue. This is because your marketing messages will be unable to reach your target audience.
  • Damaged brand reputation: Being blacklisted can damage your brand reputation. Customers may see you as a spammer and be less likely to do business with you in the future.
  • The cost of being blacklisted: Being on an email blacklist can be expensive. In addition to the lost revenue from your email campaigns, you may also have to pay for the cost of hiring a consultant to help you get off the blacklist, the cost of sending out new emails to your subscribers to let them know you’ve been blacklisted, and the cost of lost customers.
  • Legal implications: Being blacklisted can also have legal implications. In some countries, it is illegal to send spam. If you are found to be sending spam messages, you could be fined or even imprisoned.

Trends in Email Blacklisting 

The landscape of email marketing blacklisting is constantly changing. Here are some of the latest trends to keep an eye on:

Trends in Email Marketing Blacklisting
Image Credits: retailrocket.net
  • The rise of artificial intelligence in blacklisting: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being employed to identify and block spam more accurately than ever before. AI-powered blacklists can learn and adapt to new spam trends, making them more effective at keeping spam out of inboxes.
  • The importance of sender reputation: Sender reputation is becoming increasingly crucial as ESPs seek ways to protect their users from spam. Senders with a good reputation are likelier to have their emails delivered to inboxes, while senders with a bad reputation are likelier to be blocked.
  • The role of email service providers: ESPs play a crucial role in blacklisting. They are responsible for delivering emails to their users’ inboxes. They also can block emails from senders who have been blacklisted.

It is important to keep up-to-date on the latest trends so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent unwanted spam content and protect your business from being blacklisted.

Additional Tips for Successful Email Marketing 

For any business to reap the full benefits of an email marketing campaign, it must be executed correctly. Therefore, email marketers should strive to send emails at the right time, create an engaging copy and know their target market.

Email Marketing Success Tips
Image Credits: business.com

Here are some additional tips to follow when using email marketing:

  • Use a professional email address.
  • Use a strong password for your email account.
  • Be careful about what links you click on in emails.
  • Only open emails from senders that you trust.
  • Your subject line should be clear and concise and accurately reflect the content of your email.
  • Avoid spammy words or phrases in your email’s subject line or body text.
  • Only send a few emails within a short period.
  • Keep your email software up to date.
  • Report spam to your email provider.


Email marketing can be quite a useful tool for businesses of all kinds and sizes. However, being blacklisted can have a devastating impact on your email marketing efforts. By following the tips highlighted in this blog post, you can now ensure that your email marketing campaigns succeed and improve your overall return on investment.

Frequently Asked Questions on Email Marketing Blacklists

1. How does an email get blacklisted?

An email can get blacklisted for several reasons, including:

  • Sending too many marketing emails to unverified or invalid addresses.
  • Sending emails that are marked as spam messages by recipients.
  • Using misleading or deceptive subject lines or content.
  • Sending emails from a previously blacklisted IP address.

Once an email is blacklisted, it will be blocked by your internet service provider and most major email providers. This means the email will not be delivered to the recipient’s inbox and will most likely be sent to their spam folder or rejected altogether.

2. What is a blacklist in marketing?

In marketing, a blacklist refers to a list containing email addresses marked as spam or that have opted out of receiving emails. Marketers use blacklists to prevent their emails from being sent to these addresses, which can help to improve their deliverability rates and avoid spam complaints.

Email blacklists can be created by an email service provider, individual marketers, or third-party companies. ESPs typically create email blacklists based on data from their internal blacklists, such as spam reports and bounce rates. Individual marketers can create their blacklists by manually adding email addresses that they know are spam emails or have opted out of receiving emails. Third-party companies create blacklists by collecting data from various sources, such as ESPs, individual marketers, and spam traps.

3. What is the email blacklist list?

The email blacklist list is a collection of IP addresses and domains that one or more blacklisting organizations have blacklisted. Email service providers (ESPs) and internet service providers (ISPs) use the blacklist list to check the IP address or domain of incoming emails before delivering them to the recipient’s inbox. If the IP address or domain is on the blacklist, the email will be blocked and sent to the user’s junk folder or rejected altogether.

There are several different blacklisting organizations like Spamhaus, Spamcop, and CipherTrust, each with criteria for adding IP addresses and domains.

4. How many emails does it take to get blacklisted?

The number of emails to get blacklisted can vary depending on the blacklisting organization’s criteria. However, it is not necessary to send many emails to get blacklisted. Even a few spam complaints or bounced email addresses can be enough to get an IP address or domain blacklisted.

It is important to note that blacklisting organizations do not share their criteria for adding IP addresses and domains to the list. This means it is difficult to say with complete certainty how many emails it takes to get blacklisted. However, as a general rule, you should avoid sending emails that could be considered spam or result in spam complaints or bounces.

5. What are some examples of a blacklist?

A blacklist refers to a list of items that are considered to be undesirable or unacceptable. In digital marketing, several blacklists can be used to prevent unwanted traffic from reaching your website or landing pages. These include:

  • Email blacklists: These lists contain IP addresses and domains that have been reported for sending spam emails.
  • Website blacklists: These blacklists contain websites flagged for malicious content, such as invasive malware or phishing scams.
  • Ad network blacklists: These lists contain websites that have been deemed to be inappropriate for advertising.
  • Social media blacklists: These lists contain accounts suspended or banned from social media platforms for violating the platforms’ terms of service.

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