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Every once in awhile an email lands on what is knows as an email blacklist. How do you know if you landed there? Usually you will get some message(s) back after you send out an email stating your email got rejected. This rejection email otherwise known as a NDR (non-delivery report) will explain in a cryptic lingo why your email was denied. One of the main reasons it was denied is your outgoing email IP was put on an email blacklist.

The big question is how did I get on such a blacklist? There are a number of reasons why this could happen; I’ll like to break it down into a few categories.

The first possible explanation is you are a spammer and you may not even know it. You may not think you are since you are emailing to known people or customer base, but even an email to known people can be deem as a spam if it is sent to numerous people at once. For example if you have a customer base and you want to send out a notification that you are promoting a certain product – sending this notification to 100 customers at once can trigger several unwanted consequences. There may be a number of receiving email systems that may look at your email as a potential SPAM, because these systems can tell you are sending it to 100 people at once. If it is a nice spam blocking system, it may just block your email and kindly send you an NDR. Other spam filtering system may just make your message disappear or place it in a junk folder for the end recipient. Really draconian system however may report your email as a potential SPAM to a one of these spam blocking lists! That is one way you can land on the list.

Other situations may be that the end user might just accidentally placed you on a spam blacklist. How does this happen? Well let’s say you emailed a promotional item to customers or a group of people. Some of those people may know you very well others may know you tangentially and might accidentally think you are just another spammer. They may place you accidentally in a spam blocking list, but just clicking a few buttons on their side. This is common in web based email system like AOL, hotmail, gmail, or several others.

You may have landed on a blacklist because your computer, server or any computer on your local network may have gotten infected with a mass emailing worm, where it sends out mass SPAMs at an alarming rate. This will eventually trigger the SPAM blacklist to acknowledge you are a spammer and put you on a blacklist.

Your email system might have a password compromised – hence a spammer can use your email system to generate mass emails. This can also eventually put you on a blacklist. This is way more common then you think.

Lastly your hosting company may host hundreds of email domains and it might wind up that one of these hosted clients may wind up on a spam list, which in turn causes your email that is hosted there to also land there. This is not as common these days because hosted email system have learn to limit how many emails can be sent out per hour hence clamping down on the over enthusiastic emailer that can get into hot water.

This is just a small list but usually the core list of why you do land on a blacklist. How to fix the situation once you get there; and how to prevent it in the future will be discussed in other blogs that will be entered in the weeks to come.