Email Blacklist

What is an Email Blacklist and How to Check it?

You develop an email list and launch a cold email campaign, hoping to generate easy sales. But what you get in return is an excessive bounce rate, and in no time, your emails start ending up in the spam folder. Spams make a massive chunk of emails. In fact, 14.5 billion emails sent globally per day are spams, making up for 45% of all emails. The impact of having your email blacklisted can be huge. It can affect your email deliverability and hurt the reputation of your business. In this article, we’ll dive into email blacklist, how they work, and how you can avoid getting blacklisted.

What is an email blacklist?

An email blacklist is a real-time database that monitors which emails should be considered spam. In a nutshell, it is a filter that determines whether an email makes it to the primary inbox of the receiver or not.

But not all blacklisted emails are spams. In a few cases, emails are blacklisted out of accident, unawareness, or a faulty algorithm.

How Email Blacklists Work?

The process of blacklisting works by identifying the domains and IP addresses that are sending out bulk emails very quickly. These domains are then compiled together in a list, thereby forming an email blacklist. If your recipients’ email provider or ISP uses blacklists, it’ll check every incoming email against the lists. 

Think of it as a party in a nightclub. The organizer has produced a list of guests that are invited and the ones that aren’t. The bouncer will check every personal entering the club from the guest list. If a guest appears to be on the “rejected” list, the bouncer will stop him from entering.

In an email, the email or ISP of the receiver is the bouncer. The blacklist is the rejected guest list, and you are the guest trying to enter the party. 

Once the recipients’ email provider approves the email, it needs to pass via a spam filter. Therefore, if all looks good, the filter will give the email the green light, and it’ll deliver the email to the destination, i.e., the receiver’s inbox. If not, the email will be flagged to be spam and find itself in the miserable spam folder with a ton of other flagged emails.

How is an email blacklist database developed?

In order to surpass the blacklist, you’ll need to figure out how an email blacklist is created. How can you get your name on the party guest list if you have no idea how the organizer is developing the list? 

Blacklists are generated purely based on spam reports. All emails have a spam count. Whenever a receiver marks an email as spam, a note automatically gets sent to the blacklist. As soon as there are a large number of complaints, the sender’s domain or IP gets blacklisted.

Another way your domain can get blacklisted is if someone sends an individual request to blacklist it. However, such requests need to include proof or proper justification that the sender is actually a spammer. 

High bounce rate is another factor that can drive your way to the blacklist. If your receivers aren’t opening your emails, their email provider might slide you into the blacklist.

Email engagement also plays a vital role to determine your email reputation. If your emails are being opened regularly and replies are sent, the sender won’t raise any flag against it. Contrarily, if your emails are just being closed, and deleted, you’re inviting the red flag.

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your email list updated. Develop a high-quality list of recipients that really want to engage with you. Also, focus on providing value to your list subscribers, so they’re motivated to open your emails as soon as they receive them.

How to find out if you’re on an email blacklist?

Thankfully, most blacklists are public. So, you can easily find out if you’re on a blacklist. Here are a few popular blacklists to begin with. 

  • Invaluement: This DNS blacklist (DNSBL) blocks elusive spams where the sender sends unsolicited bulk emails.
  • Barracuda Reputation Block List: This is a free DNSBL of IP addresses known to be spam.
  • MultiRBL: It’s a free multiple DNS blacklist service that cross-references blacklists by domain, IPV4, or IPV6.
  • MXToolBox: It allows you to perform checks on your DNS to see its configuration. You can use it to check whether or not your domain/IP address is blacklisted.
  • SpamCop: It lists IP addresses reported as spam by SpamCop users.

Types of email blacklists

Before delving into how to avoid getting on a blacklist, let’s quickly discuss the common types of blacklists. Spam traps mainly fall into three categories:

  1. Recycled spam traps: Recycled spam traps include email addresses that were once active but have been dormant for a long time. The receiving server refuses emails sent to these addresses. 
  2. Pristine traps: Pristine traps are email addresses that have never been used to subscribe to receive an email. These traps usually occur when the senders purchase or scrape email addresses. 
  3. Typo traps: Typo traps include email addresses that don’t exist. For example, the receiver may have entered “” instead of “” Therefore, your emails will end up nowhere and will be marked as spam.

How to get removed from an email blacklist?

If you’ve found your email address or IP on a blacklist, check the blacklist’s delisting process. For some lists, the process is straightforward. You just need to prove that you’re not a bot, and remove the reason that landed you on the blacklist.

In some cases, the process could be a bit complicated. You might have to keep sending an email to explain the entire situation. 

Some blacklists don’t have any process for unlisting. However, your IP gets removed from their blacklist automatically after some time once your activities show that you are not a spammer. 

However, getting removed from the blacklist is only the initial phase of a recovery process. Rebuild your reputation to ensure good deliverability.

Conclusion: Is my email blacklisted

The process of blacklisting is a wild goose chase. It’s a guessing game. In fact, most email marketers have found themselves on at least one IP or domain blacklist. Things get serious when your email address appears on multiple blacklists.

The key to avoiding blacklists is simple: maintain a high-quality email list, and use a reliable email client.

Also, check out Eltris for the best email hosting service with maximum deliverability and there are no chances of getting blacklisted by using this professional email hosting.