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Saturday, November 5, 2011

How to Remove Your IP from Gmail’s Blacklist

If you cannot send emails to Gmail, your server may have been blacklisted. Here are some tips to get removed from the Gmail blacklist. This is another installment of our Spam Blacklist Removal Series, so be sure to check out the series for other ISPs.
Before jumping through the blacklist removal hoops, you may want to double check that your emails are not simply going into the spam folder. This process will not help you with emails being dropped into the spam folder. This is for getting off of Gmail’s blacklist. I am going to outline 3 steps.
  1. Verify you are on the Gmail blacklist.
  2. Perform preliminary blacklist removal checks.
  3. Submit Gmail blacklist delisting request.

Gmail Blacklist Verification

If you are blacklisted, then you should be getting a delivery rejection notice from Google. If you check your server’s logs or your email bounce you may see something like this:
Remote_host_said:_550-5.7.1 Our_system_has_detected_an_unusual_rate_of unsolicited_mail_originating_from_your_IP_address._To_protect_our users_from_spam,_mail_sent_from_your_IP_address_has_been_blocked. Please_visit_
If you are seeing this email error, then your server’s IP has likely been blocked by Google. There could be other response codes, but typically all Gmail blacklist notifications will include a 550 error plus a link to the Gmail policies pages.
If you are not seeing 550 errors, then you may not have an email blacklist problem but some other email delivery issue.

Preliminary Blacklist Removal Tasks

Before requesting removal from Gmail’s blacklist, you will want to take some steps to stop whatever caused the listing. See some of my other blacklist removal posts for more details but in a nutshell you should:
Make sure there is no unauthorized email going from your server.
  • Check the daily volume of email going to Gmail
  • Look for compromised user accounts.
  • Look for people forwarding email to Gmail.
Once you have reviewed these items, you should be able to determine the cause of the listing. For example, if someone is forwarding email to Gmail and then marketing it as spam, your server’s sender reputation is lowered and you can be blacklisted. Sudden spikes in email volume can also trigger the filters. The important thing is look for changes in your server’s behavior as it is likely the cause of the listing.

Gmail Blacklist Removal Process

The forms to initiate an inquiry at Gmail are buried in Google’s email help section. If you are running your own server, you will want to start with their “My domain can’t send to Gmail” form. If you answer the questions correctly, you will win a prize:
Report a delivery problem between your domain and Gmail.
Provide only what they ask, and do not complain. Just provide the requested details and drop a note of thanks into the additional information field. I suspect they receive 100’s of these a day, so be nice and wait.
Unlike some ISP’s, I rarely get a reply from Gmail. The issue simply resolves or not. I find them one of the more difficult email providers to deal with regarding email blacklisting practices.

Your Gmail Experiences?

If you have Gmail delivery tips or blacklist removal tips, please let me know. I deal with email blacklisting every week and am trying to document the processes at major email providers.

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