Reduce the Risk of Getting Email Blacklisted

How to avoid getting on the dreaded blacklist? There’s no easy solution, but here are some of the best practices to help your emails reach inboxes.

Sending out emails to subscribers runs the risk of ending up on a blacklist, but there are ways to reduce your chances and avoid the dreaded blacklist to ensure you email reaches peoples inboxes.

Before starting, it’s important to understand how blacklists work. Most blacklists use a so-called “spam trap”, email addresses that are used to identify where spam is coming from, usually an IP address or a domain. If that IP or domain doesn’t check out, it ends up on the blacklist.

Whether it’s IP or domain blacklisting, to reduce your risk, there are three best practices you should use: You should confirm opt-ins, practice real-time address validation and apply a “sunset” policy (remove stale recipients) based on engagement.

Confirm Opt-Ins

When you send a confirmation email before adding a new recipient to an active mailing list, only valid and engaged recipients will be added to your list. While this could potentially decrease the amount of email opt-ins for your list, the number of spam reports and unsubscribes will be reduced, which in the long in improves your return on investment on each email you send.

By doing this, you are completely preventing all types f spam trap email addresses from ending up on your mailing list. This will also increase your open and click rates a the recipients on the list are already engaged and expecting your mail.

Real Time Address Validation

Another great practice to help avoid the blacklist is to validate email addresses in real time, or check email addresses at the point of signup. While confirming opt-ins may cause friction in the signup process, checking the validity of the email address and common typos may help reduce that friction, new signups are likely to react better to this type of feature.

This type of validation may include licensing costs from third-party services, or engineering and technical requirements if you’re building your own verification process, there will be a reduction in common domain typos and instances of fake email addresses, resulting in fewer spam trap email addresses getting onto your list and you ending up on the blacklist.


Sunsetting is a practice that all everyone should use when creating and maintaining a mailing list. Keeping unengaged recipients on your mailing list will reduce your open and click rates and increases spam reports and unsubscribers.

You should remove email addresses if the recipient hasn’t opened or clicked your mail in some time. The time scale might vary depending on how often you send emails and the industry you work in.

This may decrease your mailing list size, but your return on investment will increase as you will only be mailing people who have recently been engaged. By sunsetting unengaged recipients, you will probably improve your brands reputation as you’ll only be sending your emails to the people who actually want them.


Blacklists are not there to make it harder for you to communicate and engage with recipients, but because there is just so much spam hitting peoples inboxes that’s not necessary. Every business may need different tactics to reduce the risk of ending up on a blacklist, but confirming opt-ins, validating addresses and sunsetting based on user engagement are three great ways to help avoid the blacklist.

You should remember, these three things are not guaranteed to keep your mail off the blacklist. It means your taking responsibility and managing the communication you send in an effective and respectful way to ensure your users only get the mail they want to receive.

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