What to Do When You’ve Been Listed on Spamhaus

Kate Nowrouzi
Apr. 19, 2019 by Kate Nowrouzi

Bad things can happen to good people. No matter how good of a sender you are, you may wake up one day to a Spamhaus listing. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the US and around the world take Spamhaus listings very seriously as Spamhaus is one of the leading organizations that track spam-related email activity. Founded in 1998, Spamhaus protects consumers from companies and other entities that knowingly use email to send spam.

Spamhaus listings can affect both your IP addresses and domains (SBL, XBL, PBL, DBL, DROP, ROSKO).

Sparkpost’s amazing team is always available to assist you with resolving Spamhaus listings when they occur. We have automated checks in place to alert our team 24/7 when a Spamhaus listing happens. Of course, you can also choose to deal with Spamhaus directly if you prefer.

If you do end up taking matters into your own hands, here are the steps one should take when dealing with a Spamhaus listing. Do not email Spamhaus and request removal before you have identified the cause of the block and have an action plan in place to address the mistake.

  1. Email the Spamhaus team and let them know you are investigating what caused the block.
  2. Look into your logs. Usually, the bounce message received from the ISP has the IP and the listing included.
  3. Check messages that went out from that IP and see if you see anything suspicious.
  4. When you find out the reason that had triggered the listing, fix it immediately or if it is a wider issue, figure out a plan.
  5. Communicate the fix or the plan with the estimated time for implementation to the Spamhaus team.
  6. Once all of this is done, you can request removal by emailing Spamhaus. Your listing will not clear until you have secured your network– no exceptions!
  7. Make sure you have a solid plan in place to avoid future occurrences and communicate this with Spamhaus team as well.

Generally speaking, if you only target people who have opted-in to receive your email communications, you should not experience any Spamhaus listing. We highly encourage our customers to practice double opt-in to reduce the risk of mailing to misspelled email addresses which can ultimately trigger a Spamhaus listing.

Happy Delivering!

~ Kate

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