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10 Ways to Get Listed as a SPAMMER

A study conducted by Return Path in 2004 revealed that 60.1% of people deleted un-read messages from unknown senders. Even more disturbing 23.4% hit their “report this email as SPAM” button provided by the ISP and email subscriptions that they were subscribed to were also included.

In this article I will present 10 of the most effective ways to get your business marked as a SPAMMER. From my experience many companies have no real understanding of the risk they place on their businesses when sending emails without prior permission, contain poor quality content and are sent too often.

If your business’s mail server is marked as an originator of SPAM email be it newsletters or general communication will not be delivered. Can your business afford to have a large amount email blocked?

Send non relevant content

According to a 2004 DoubleClick study, 72% of people believe that hitting the “report this email as SPAM” button in their email client is the best way to unsubscribe from a mail list!

Why do they want to unsubscribe? A major reason for un-subscribing is the email content is not relevant to the recipient anymore or the content is vastly different from what the recipient subscribed to in the first instant. The first reason is uncontrollable as the recipient has had a change of heart, however the second reason is controllable and so the aim is to ensure these people do not click on that “unsubscribe” (‘report this email as SPAM’) button. Ignorance is bliss in some cases but with this issue where it doesn’t take too many people reporting you – for your IP address to be blacklisted by an ISP – ignorance is a headache!

Don’t honor an unsubscribe request

This is an extremely effective way of annoying people and forcing them to report you as a spammer. What other option do they have to get rid of your emails if you cannot or will not remove them from your mail list? Just put yourself in their shoes, wouldn’t it really annoy you if your requests to unsubscribe were being ignored and so you continued to receive the unwanted emails?

Send your email campaign via your email client

Most people who send email from their mail client such as Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird are connected to the internet through their ISP such as Paradise. There is nothing wrong with that – only many real spammers can use the same ISP as you to send their SPAM. This means that there is a good chance that you and the spammer are using the same ISP mail servers and that the mail server’s IP address has been blacklisted. So when an ISP receives your email all they see is that your email is coming from the same source (mail server) as the spammers.

Therefore there is a very good chance that your emails are ending up in the trash bin like the spammers emails or worse your brand gets associated as a SPAMMER.

Don’t control how many emails you send to the same domain

Imagine sending out your monthly newsletter to 500 subscribers via your Microsoft Outlook email client and that maybe 30% of the email addresses of your subscribers are hotmail or yahoo accounts. Let’s also say it takes five minutes to mail out the 500 emails – that means in maybe less than 5 minutes hotmail has received from your email client 150 emails.

This may not seem a bad move but wait for it! There is a very good chance that hotmail’s mail servers may consider that you are sending SPAM due to the large number of emails being received in a short time frame and so it is fair to say that if it was your business’s mail server receiving a large number of emails in a short time frame that it too may think it was being spammed?

Don’t provide an unsubscribe link within your campaign emails

Imagine you subscribed to receive a weekly email from a business and over time the content becomes less relevant so you decide to unsubscribe from the list. You assume that removing yourself from the list would be as easy as when you subscribed – by clicking a link within an email. However you cannot find the ‘unsubscribe’ link and with limited time to spare you click the “report this as SPAM” button provided by your very thought full ISP. It’s easy to find, quick and it works! Once you click on that button the emails never arrive in your inbox again! Problem solved for the recipient however the business sending the email has just been reported to the recipient’s ISP again for sending SPAM and they may be blacklisted straightaway or they may have one or two lives left. Unlike a cat it is unlikely that a business gets nine lives.

Use a Rental mailing list

To increase your chances of being blacklisted and classed as a spammer how about paying for the use of one of the large mailing lists you see on offer? The list you pay for will more than likely contain 10-30% invalid email addresses and also contain a few spam trap addresses (see glossary).

This is almost a guaranteed way to get your company listed as a spammer and the delivery success rate will also be quite low. Is it worth the risk?

Harvesting emails without permission

Here is another fantastic way to get reported as a spammer!

Build a mailing list from selecting email addresses from Directories, your suppliers marketing brochures and the like. Then send the newly created mailing list an email with your content, do not bother with providing an ‘opt-in’ subscribe/unsubscribe button for future email communication you will be mailing out.

It is now time to bombard the mailing list every week/month and ignore all requests to remove anyone from the list. I will almost guarantee 100% that you will be listed as a spammer in less than 3 months and lose any credibility you had or could have had with them and anyone they chose to talk to about your business.

Fail to run a Monthly email campaign using your mailing list

Creating a mailing list of opt-in subscribers and setting the expectation that you will be in communication with them on a weekly or monthly basis is a great way to go as long as you honour that expectation. Failing to communicate on a regular basis may result in subscribers forgetting that you exist, and that they subscribed to your communication. The nasty outcome may be that your subscribers ‘unsubscribe’ the next time they get your communication and even worse it may be from the ‘report as SPAM’ button.

Ignore complaints from your subscribers

No one likes being ignored when they are talking on the phone, or in person and the same applies when communicating via email.

So ignoring a subscriber’s request to unsubscribe or not responding to any question they may have sent you is another way of forcing a subscriber to use the only effective means of removing themselves from your list – that is to mark your emails as SPAM.

Send poorly formatted content

On average each person who subscribes to a mailing list which focuses on a particular interest will over time subscribe to another four or five mailing lists offering similar content.

This suggests that your email has to fight for attention with other emails of a similar ilk. Poorly formatted or just plain ugly email content or presentation will increase your chances of large unsubscribe requests. Why should they endure your poorly formatted content when they have four or more other emails fighting for their attention?

Another good way to get your email rejected or sent straight to the person’s trash folder is to contain spam-like words within your content. You will be surprised what words or phases are now considered as spam.

Examples: million, millionaire, free, independent, more than one watch brand mentioned in the same email, work from home, free course, no money down etc…


History reveals people are receiving more and more email in their in-box and a lot of it is unsolicited. Removing email from unknown senders is one way to keep on top of the in-box. If you send irrelevant content in your communication then your subscribers will be quick to unsubscribe and the fastest way for them to do so may be the ‘report this email as SPAM’ button provided from their trusted ISP.

Do not rent a mailing list and clearly select the content and presentation style of your email communication. Finally, stay in regular contact with your valued subscribers.

Next Steps

If you would like to receive my free article on “how to improve your email practices” then please send me an email. (I promise I will not send you anymore emails after that!).



An Internet service provider (ISP, also called Internet access provider or IAP) is a business or organization that offers access to the Internet and related services.

Internet hosting services run servers, provide managed hosting, and include the Internet connection. For example Paradise is an ISP.

Definition sourced from Wiki ->


In computing, a blacklist is an access control mechanism that allows access to everybody, except members of the blacklist. The opposite is a white-list, which means, allow nobody, except members of the white list.

An e-mail spam filter may keep a blacklist of addresses, any mail from which would be prevented from reaching its intended destination.

Definition sourced from Wiki ->

Spam Trap Addresses

Some companies provide a service to ISP and large companies where they host thousands of email addresses that are set up to collect spam – they do not belong to a real person, and they have never been registered for real lists. So if you email ends up in a spam trap address there is a 99.9% chance that the email came from a spammer. Some mailing lists that you can rent contain these spam traps.

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