From time to time, people forward us emails asking why their messages are undeliverable due to being “blacklisted”. See an example below:
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
The error that the other server returned was:
521 5.2.1 : (HVU:B2) https://postmaster.aol.com/err
Being blacklisted basically means certain email providers deem your email address, domain or ip address as one that is sending out spam.
There can be a few reasons you were blacklisted:
- You actually are sending out spam. You should NEVER send unsolicited emails (especially from your personal email account). If you want to send out emails to clients or potential clients we recommend using a service such as mailchimp. They have measures in place to allow people to unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive your emails.
- Someone else from your company is sending out spam. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell this but your company should have policies in place to prevent this.
- You have a virus. Sometimes if you have a virus on your computer, they will use your computer to send out spam. This is how they avoid getting caught since the emails are not actually coming from their computers. Give us a call or download a great anti-virus program.
- Your email is hosted on a shared server and someone else on that server is sending out spam. This is the most difficult to prevent since it is up to other people. Most web hosting companies also host your email and also host other companies’ email on that same machine with the same IP address. Spam blocking companies just identify the offender by IP address so they block everyone on that machine. That is why we recommend cloud hosted email with Google Apps for Work.
How to (try to) remove yourself from an email blacklist:
- First, make sure you are blacklisted. Look at the error message you receive back and there is usually a link in it with a reason your message got sent back. In the example above, it is 521 5.2.1 : (HVU:B2) https://postmaster.aol.com/err
or-codes#554hvub2 . If you click on that link, it takes you too a page with an explanation why your message was returned.
- If you are sending out the spam yourself, STOP immediately and switch to a mail program such as mailchimp. If you get caught too many times you may be permanently blacklisted and even fined.
- Make sure you do not have virus on your computer or your cloud based email wasn’t hacked (you would usually get a lot of returned emails or angry friends emailing you if this was the case).
- If your email is on a shared server, and you don’t have a virus and you are not the one sending spam, we recommend switching to Google Apps for Work. Otherwise, this may continue to happen.
- Here are some sites to go to to try to remove your email AFTER you fix what caused it in the first place: