Dealing with ISPs when you are blocked


Here is some advice on dealing with ISPs over a blocking issue.

  1. Do know what IP is blocked if it is an IP based block.
  2. Do know what domain is blocked if it is domain based block.
  3. Do know what the rejection message is and have it handy.
  4. Do be polite.  Most of the ISPs get hundreds of contacts a day, many of which are decidedly impolite. If you are the polite one you’re much more likely to float to the top than if you are one of the thousand screamers.
  5. Do not make threats. There is nothing you can threaten that they have not been threatened with before.
  6. Do not lecture them about the law. It is unlikely you understand the legal issues better than they, and their lawyers, do
  7. Do respect everyone’s time. Arguing is not productive. Asking for information and clarification is productive.
  8. Do remeber that they’re extremely busy. The ISP does not need to hear about your business model – brevity is a virtue.
  9. Do not mention CAN SPAM. That’s like saying “I do the bare minimum the law requires and expect you to accept my mail anyway.”
  10. Do not ask them to remove the block. Ask them what you did to get blocked and how to avoid being blocked in the future.
  11. Do remember this is probably the same person you will need to deal with in the future and that this is not a one time conversation. Leave them remembering you, if not fondly, at least productively.

The above all go for talking to the major blacklists, too.
Edited to add: 12. Do use the proper channels to contact them. 

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  • “Do not lecture them about the law. It is unlikely you understand the legal issues better than they, and their lawyers, do”
    Also, never use as an argument the law of your country when the ISP is located on different country.

  • Hahaha! I love that every single post about blacklists/blocking/etc always solicit at least one idiot who has somehow assumed you somehow have the power to fix their blocked mailserver 🙂
    Roberto: run a blacklist, they have removal instructions on their website. Go there, read, follow the instructions.

  • Don’t say “I’m losing a thousand dollars an hour!” Firstly, because the ISP doesn’t care whether you make money or not. Secondly, because if your product were actually so amazing that you’d be making a thousand dollars an hour, you wouldn’t need to use email to advertise it.
    There are some more here.

  • And this applies to corporate mail administrators who are blocking your spammy-looking dynamic hostnames.
    12. Don’t argue with mail admins who tell you that they block hosts that announce themselves with dynamic-appearing hostnames. How hard is it to get an rDNS that reflects your organisation? Or any name that doesn’t look like

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