There are many tools that notify you about block lists and possibly whether your domain and/or IP address is listed there. But are they really worth exploring? Honestly, no. Some RBLs are not really designed for large-scale containment. In fact, I’d say most should be used to flag emails rather than blocking them directly. You can find listings for almost anything and their quality varies widely. They are not intended for large-scale mail blocking. Other listings report newly registered domains (old Bread) within the last 30 days or less. This is a good reminder to make sure you age your domain properly before sending a message.
Finally, there are RBLs that are very aggressive in listing any IP just because they are part of an ESP or ASN network, even if they never send mail, but because they can. RBLs that are too active are prone to false positives. You can skip them for most brands, but check your recovery. You might find something that prevents mail from being delivered to one of your subscribers.
Where you need to pay attention to RBLs are those that cause errors in your data. Lists will influence your mailing and are widely used as a sign of being well organized and managed. They tend to focus on specific problems and solve somewhat specific problems.
- Hashlists – Targeting email content that could indicate phishing or ransomware (e.g. bitcoin wallets).
- URI BL – The list focuses on sites seen in spam.
- Spam Block List – Focuses on flagging spamming domains and IP addresses – has the ability to trap addresses. If you see them, you need to assess the sanity of the data. Geolists – Not commonly used for general blocking, but in some areas, you can find it.
- Understanding the motivation behind a particular list will help you understand the path to the solution each type will take.
- Spam Trap activity means that your data collection or list hygiene practices need to be improved. Maybe even a revalidation program is being built for older data.
- URI-based lists can be driven by data sanitization or by emailing partners that use your domain name inappropriately. Geo-restriction probably means your only option might be a remote server or ESP.
Even if you see some ads on the blocklist that are smaller or have low impact, you should still pay attention to them. They can be an early warning of things to come. Making early adjustments can save a world of pain and stress, especially during the holiday season.
Re-Construction And Acceptance Test
Yes, these are the hardest steps to achieve, but in an enrollment situation, they make the most sense. Focus on the why of the list:
what data caused it, where did it come from, do you have to fight this evil AI first, etc. You won’t effectively heal the list and prevent it from coming back if you don’t focus on understanding and rebuilding a new reality around your data.
Last Minute Advice
- Don’t send inactive users trying to re-engage them right before the holidays, nothing beats tarnishing your reputation during the busiest time of the year.
- Beware of typos during your checkout. These can cause immediate problems during the holiday season.
- Recent hits and frequency capping are smart and good for your email program. Target users with higher engagement and users with less engagement.
- Good luck this year and very well with your delivery advisors. They work overtime for any customer who chooses to ignore this advice and still receive emails. YMMV:
- Not all block lists have the same impact on senders
- Connect on Linkedin
The most important thing that I emphasize for the senders that are on the block list is that anyone with the server, time, and interests can create a block list, but all block lists are not created together.
If I had to give examples, URIBL’s Spamhaus, SpamCop, and “Black” are the ones that help me identify a bad sender or a possibly compromised domain.
This means a volume of unsolicited or unauthorized mail will arrive at the provider’s network of spam trap addresses, which will never receive e-mail. These messages are specifically related to individual domains or individual IP addresses.
Then there are countless lists out there. Some behave similarly to the ones above and are still good data points or indicators of a problem in the email program. But you have other things that range from confusing, such as some “gray” listings, to downright ridiculous, such as those that would list entire network blocks for a bad tenant.
Which RBL Publishes The List?
How does this RBL work? Why do they publish IP addresses or domains and what does their delisting process involve?
What impact has this had on messaging stats since the list was first published? If you find your domain name or IP address on a block list that says
But what if you see your domain name or IP address blacklisted and you see a high disapproval rate and/or low engagement. Now is the time to worry and test your email program or clean up your mailing and list collection activities.