Today, I wanted to talk about blacklists and spam reporting services, also what you can do if you’ve been listed.
First off, a lot of people think blacklists are the bad guys, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. The feedback they provide is not only valuable to help ISPs keep spam out of your Inbox, but they can also alert you (the sender) to potential problems as well.
You should think of blacklists like a child’s report card in school, if your child fails a class wouldn’t you want to know about it so you can help them?
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Yahoo or Hotmail use these services to help determine if the email you are sending them is spam. If they receive spam from you or too many people complain, they will send your email to ‘Junk’ or just delete it. These services let you know if anyone on your list did not remember signing up and/or they are not happy receiving your emails anymore (perhaps because they requested to be removed). All of this helps protect your delivery and allows you to judge the quality of the list so you can take action.
What can I do?
- If you have been listed, you first need to look at your mailing list (or segment) and decide whether or not it is still worth using.
- Strengthen your sign-up process and make sure it’s crystal clear. If you have no relationship with the people on your list, or you are using a publicly available or purchased list – it should be discarded.
- If the list is legitimate and made up of people who have opted in to receive your email from you directly, then perhaps it is time to reconfirm they want to stay on your list.
- If the list is old, or you haven’t used it in a while (+6 months), or people are no longer interested in receiving your email – the list should be “cleaned”.
How can I clean my list
This is done by sending an email asking if they want to keep receiving emails from you. If they do not reply, they should be removed. You can also put a link in the email asking them to click if they want to stay on your list or better yet, visit your website to sign up again! The people who are left would remain and anyone that didn’t reply or click should be removed. Depending on how often you send emails and how big your list is, this should be done every few months.
Bye for now,