• Michael Goff

Important Changes at Spamhaus

At the end of August, beginning of September, we noticed a change with the Spamhaus domain blacklist (DBL). It seems to have gotten more sensitive -- suddenly, a lot of our clients’ domains were getting flagged. Lately, I’ve seen some posts about changes with domain blacklists, and the need to test links, use monitoring services, and build bridge pages. I think the updates with the Spamhaus DBL are what’s at work here.


Blacklists are a headache, but Spamhaus is particularly problematic. Most ESPs assign a “spam score” to your message, and if it’s too high, you can’t schedule the email. A blacklist can raise your spam score, and a listing at Spamhaus often carries even more “points”. Also, Mailbox Provider algorithms consider blacklists when placing your emails, and the Spamhaus name carries more weight than others.


After mapping out various listings, and chatting with Spamhaus on a few delisting tickets, it seems the issue is sending traffic to offers that were already on the Spamhaus DBL. Spamhaus directly mentioned sending traffic to Clickbank offers was an issue, and we noticed that our listings often occurred on the same day as mailing a CB offer.


This can feel overwhelming, as I don’t think the solution is to “stop sending Clickbank offers”. So I wanted to share what we’re doing at Loop7:

  • We already used MXToolBox to monitor our clients’ sending IPs and domains, and now we’ve added top landing page domains as well. This way, we will be notified in advance of sending if an offer on the schedule gets blacklisted. If you are an offer owner, I recommend that you monitor your domains here as well, that way you can proactively address issues, and your mailers aren’t impacted.

  • We make sure the linking domain is different from the sending domain. The “linking domain” is the domain you use in the click-through links in your emails. This way, if one gets blacklisted, it doesn’t affect the other. In particular, the Spamhaus DBL seems to affect linking domains, which you can easily switch if one gets blacklisted. Mailing domains are harder to rotate, as you’d need to have a good mailing reputation on each. And so, it’s also important to have multiple linking domains at the ready so that you can rotate them as needed.

How are offer domains getting onto the Spamhaus DBL in the first place? My suspicion is that rogue Clickbank affiliates are getting offer owners into trouble. Thinking out loud, I wonder if some of these issues can be addressed by tightening up the affiliate network that offer owners work with.


Lastly, what do you do when your domain is on the Spamhaus DBL? It seems like after a period of time, domains automatically fall off of this blacklist, assuming new infractions don’t occur. You can also request a delisting here -- my advice when requesting delistings is to be apologetic and curious. Sometimes requests are machine-reviewed, but oftentimes a real person is on the other end, reading your inquiry. If you are polite, and genuinely want to learn how to resolve the issue, it turns into a conversation where you can learn the steps to take to earn a delisting.


I hope this helps! If you have any questions after diving into the two recommendations above, leave a comment and we’ll get you sorted :)


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