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Deluge of of entries to Spamhaus blocklists includes ‘various household names’

Spam-tracking service Spamhaus reported Tuesday that some of the world’s biggest brands are getting loose with their email practices, causing its spam blocklists (SBL) to swell significantly.

“Our researchers are observing mail being repeatedly sent to multiple mailboxes that have NEVER accepted one single message from the sender,” said Spamhaus, which specified that some of the bad behavior it was detecting came from companies it described as “household names”.

Spamhaus regularly changes how it assesses spam and handles blocklists. Getting listed on an SBL will get an IP blocked from sending mail. In 2016, the company started issuing its informational listings as a less harsh early warning system to less egregious offenders, so they had a chance to clean up their email hygiene before getting blocked.

Speculation in parts of the mass email sending community is that Spamhaus has found itself a finer-toothed comb to sort through offending companies, resulting in the growth of SBL listings.

The result is frustrated email service providers and customer relationship managers feeling blindsided by multiple listings that come out of the blue.

“Oh great, our corporate domain … has just been listed on the Spamhaus DBL. Has that domain sent any spam? Nope. Will Spamhaus tell me why they listed it? Nope. Should ISPs stop using Spamhaus to filter email? Yup,” complained one Twitter user.

Another Twitterer complained about being stuck on a list and bounced back and forth between Spamhaus and their webhost to resolve whey they were unable to post, even after delisting.

Just to be clear, Spamhaus wants everyone to know this is the result of “Poor. Sending. Practices.” Those practices include not managing bounces effectively, disregarding opt-in procedures, and not enlisting sunset policies so a period of non-engagement from the email recipient triggers discontinuation of contact.

“With the recent spate of listings, most of the senders I’ve worked with have landed in the proverbial doghaus after reaching too far back into their unengaged audience, often for a (sigh) blast, or a T&Cs update,” explained email marketing compliance and enablement professional Alison G. on LinkedIn.

And while this might be a headache for many, Alison G. puts a positive spin on it. “While prone to sarcasm, I sincerely consider these listings to be a kindness. As stressful as it can be to find out you’re on the Haus’s radar, they’re doing you a favor by extending an opportunity to improve sending behavior prior to instituting an active block.” ®