The flipside of spam protection: Keeping your business out of blacklists

We do pay a lot of attention to filtering out spam, and rightly so. The vast majority of all email traffic is spam, and while some of it is merely annoying, some also contains dangerous malware in the form of attachments, or links to malicious web sites. It drains bandwidth and saps productivity. Constant vigilance and strong protection is called for.

At the same time though, email has become a vital part of business, and a vital part of marketing and customer relations. Where does spam stop and valid email-based marketing begin? It’s not as clear as one might think. Some take the position that anything whatsoever related to a commercial product is spam, which is actually a bit shortsighted. Companies whose products you use, for example, may create a periodic email newsletter, to keep you and other customers informed of changes, updates, and industry information.

It may happen, and frequently does, that your legitimate email newsletter falls on the wrong side of various keepers of blacklists. Of course, reputable blacklists are the meat and potatoes of the spam industry, and they go a long way towards keeping our inboxes clean. And if they are reputable, they will have an appeal process that should be fairly straightforward, usually consisting of a web-based form in which you can state your case for being removed from the blacklist. TrustedSource, for example, has such a process. If you find a large percentage of those email newsletters getting bounced back, it’s worthwhile to take a look at what is blocking them. Take a look at their rules, and find out why you were put on the blacklist in the first place. If there was a specific action you took that landed you on the blacklist, take corrective action; if you were placed on the list in error, then speak up and tell them you don’t belong there. There are dozens of ways you can land on the list in error, not the least of which is inheriting an old IP address that was previously used by a real spammer.

Written by Dan Blacharski

The corporate world unceremoniously booted Dan Blacharski out of his cubicle over 15 years ago, and he’s never looked back. Since that time, he has been a full-time professional freelance writer, public relations consultant and analyst, and has published six books and thousands of articles. He divides his time between South Bend, Indiana and Bangkok, and married the renowned Thai writer Charoenkwan Prakthong in 2005. He and his wife enjoy traveling the world, and spending time with their Boston Terrier, Pladook.

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