I was prompted to look into this as a few local clients (businesses) had received messages to say that they had been added to an email blacklist.
First of all a bit of techie background with regards your IP address
You can have a static address (that never changes) or a dynamic (assigned by your broadband provider and can change frequently). So you may have, for example 188.8.131.52 for a day or even a few weeks but this could change at any time, depends on what happens on the BT (my ISP) server which is out of your control and whether you have restarted your router at home or in the office.
Most broadband services these days are dynamic but businesses often pay extra for static IPs as some online applications demand a permanent IP address to function (such as Electronic Point of Sale software).
So What is this Blacklisting?
There are a number of approved SPAM monitoring services that Broadband provider/ISPs can subscribe to that will tackle the huge problem of internet spam. These services will monitor email activities globally and if a particular IP address is found to be guilty of spamming then that IP address will be added to the email block list. If your IP address finds its way onto these lists then you will find that many of your clients will not receive email from you as it will be blocked by these services.
Sadly this can means that your current IP address can get added on a black list even though you didn’t send the SPAM. It could be a dynamic address that has been re-assigned, or someone else at a shared location that constantly sends SPAM (e.g; in rented offices where different business share an internet connection).
If you use email for marketing you may even have caused it yourself! The internet powers are getting very strict on SPAM. Currently if you send newsletters out to your mailing list and do not follow the full guidelines for email marketing, like it or not you are spamming.
To avoid this you should use email marketing service providers (such as Mailchimp which is free for up to 200 users) as they handle or the legalities of email marketing to prevent you getting black listed.
So How Do I Check if I am on a Blacklist?
Thankfully there is an excellent service available on line…
This link will check your current internet IP address and will show it to you. You are then prompted to click on a button that will check all with all the main blacklisting servers to see if you are blocked.
When the scan is complete you will be presented with a list of servers and the status.
Green is good red MAY be bad.
If you see red don’t panic just yet. The example above is my current detail and all is fine. The red shown is due to other intricacies of the broadband service provider and does not mean my email is being blocked.
By clicking on the link given the relevant site information will pop up and it will advise te status and the reason.
So What do I do if I am on a Blacklist?
If you IP is blocked then you will see the red exclamation mark next to more of the servers. To get information about why and how to get yourself removed, click on the link provided and it will advise.
So for instance, if you are blacklisted by Spamcop, the bl.spamcop.net item will have a red exclamation mark.
Click on this link and it will take you to more information about the block and provide a link to Spamcop where you will find the actions you need to take to get the block removed. This is usually in the format of completing an online form.
Of course, if you are on a DYNAMIC IP address system then a quick way of freeing yourself of the block is to restart your broadband router. In almost every case the IP address will change following a restart. Of course that then means that the next poor individual that is given that dynamic IP may suffer the same fate.