Don’t panic, if your IP suddenly appears to be blocked by Spamhaus, an organization that tracks the Internet’s spam senders and spam services and works with law enforcement to identify and pursue spammers worldwide with the help of anti-spam protection measures against attacks in real time.
If IP addresses or domains get blacklisted, Spamhaus has usually noticed activities which indicate that spam or other malicious emails have been sent from these IP addresses or domains.
Since many Internet service providers trust the assessment of Spamhaus, being blocked by the organization for sure has a huge impact on businesses. Direct emails coming from Spamhaus’ block list, usually end in spam folders and are quite obviously influencing the delivery and response rates.
But the good news is that legitimate senders can request removal from the list by proving that they have identified and eliminated the causative problem. So, take a look at the following steps that should be useful to act correctly, if worse comes to the worse.
1. Step: Do not waste time and act immediately!
As the problem of being blacklisted is actually pretty serious, it requires 100% of your attention and you should pause your emails as soon as possible, once you find out that you are blocked. Identify which IP address(es) or domains are on the Spamhaus list - or use Spamhaus’ "Block List Removal Center" to tackle the issue. Check the recently sent emails to find out what extraordinary circumstance has led to the inclusion in the block list and ask yourself, for instance, if you have bought or leased a new list or an underused older list again that caused the dilemma.
2. Step: Proactivity is in great demand!
Inform your email service provider and/or ISP as soon as possible. The Spamhaus delisting procedure makes it necessary that the ESP or ISP contacts the organization and provides information on why it came to the problem and describes the steps that are taken to get a grip on it.
3. Step: Check your delivery infrastructure and sending behavior
Are there areas that could be improved? Are there, for instance, email addresses that have triggered a hard bounce, but haven’t been removed right away? What about the feedback loop processes? Did you exclude email addresses of users who have classified your emails as spam from further mailings?
What sources do you use and are there lists - whether purchased or rented - you cannot trust 100%? Make sure to practice permission-based marketing and send an email only to those contacts that have explicitly signed up for the receiving. Of course, double opt-in is even better on an international level, so try to follow that rule if possible in any way. On the other hand, if a subscriber neither clicked nor opened any of your emails in the past six months, it's time to take him off the distribution list.
Do your figures provide the answer? Do you consistently evaluate the reporting in all of your campaigns? If you notice a sudden increase in the rate of unknown users, a growing complaint rate or even spam traps, you should take care of the problem and fix it before you start any new campaign.
4. Step: List the steps necessary and send them to your ESP and/or ISP
Since Spamhaus receives many inquiries, it is more important to keep the statements concise and meaningful. Make a list of how it came to the problem, as well as what has already been done and is still going on to prevent the problem in the future.
If the ESP or ISP is not available to contact Spamhaus, get in touch with the organization directly. Just use the link that is mentioned in the context of your IP or domain blacklisting. Send to this address the action plan, confirm once again that you are taking the problem seriously, and take the necessary steps to resolve it as quickly as possible.
5. Step: Implement the agreed action plan consistently
To have a plan is often not enough to convince Spamhaus to remove your IP or domain from the block list. Of course, it is the first step, but Spamhaus needs concrete evidence that the problem was detected and removed. If the solution was only short term and your IP or domain is on the blacklist again, it is then all the more difficult to get removed a second time.
And although there is no guarantee that your IP or domain gets removed from the blocked list, if you follow these steps, experience shows that your chances that you get off the list are much higher.
But remember, prevention is still the best medicine!