FAQ: But I didn’t mean to spam! What should I do?

You should do the following:

  1. Suspend all mailings to the list mentioned in the blog. You already know that the list used for the email mentioned in the spam report blog is dirty, so stop emailing to it. That means no marketing campaigns, no newsletters, nothing — until you’ve fixed the problem.
  2. Check to see if you’re on any blacklists. Next, you should check to see if the IP that sent this email, and any other IPs that send email to the same list, are in any anti-spam blacklists (or blocklists). The MX Toolbox web site has an excellent web page that checks a large number of blacklists.

    If any of your IPs or domains is listed on one of the following blacklists, you have a problem. These are widely used blacklists; your email is likely to be blocked by many users. You need to click the name of that blacklist to be taken to the blacklist web site. There you can verify that the domain or IP is listed, and find out what to do about it.

    The bloggers here are unlikely to be willing to work with you until after you have cleared your record with the major blacklists. Most of the other blacklists are not widely used, and should not cause problems delivering email. If MX Toolbox indicates that your IPs or domains are listed on more than one or two of the other blacklists, however, that is a warning sign that your email is hitting many email addresses that did not ask to receive it, not just email addresses of cranky anti-spam activists.

  3. Review the Spamhaus Marketing FAQs. Spamhaus, whose blocklists are widely used, has posted a valuable set of web pages that explain how to do bulk email marketing without spamming, and how to fix certain types of problems on lists.
  4. Clean up your list! This process can be as simple as performing a permission pass, or can be quite complex. If you are unsure what to do, search Google for a deliverability expert, check their references, and hire one that is highly rated.
  5. Post a comment responding to the spam report, explaining what you have done to fix the spam problem. The bloggers here do not bite — at least, not often. 😉 Some have managed bulk email lists of their own, for their companies, or for others. They understand that mistakes happen; most companies that send bulk email occasionally send spam, usually without intending to do so. All we all want is for the spam to stop and not start up again. If that happens, we want to hear about it. After we confirm that we are no longer receiving spam, we will happily post a follow-up to the spam complaint stating that the problem appears to be solved.

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