How to Delist from Spamhaus ZEN

Before you know how to delist from Spamhaus ZEN, we want to shed some light on what this blocklist is and what the listing criteria are. Knowing that will help you understand what you could have done wrong if your IP is spotted on ZEN.

What is Spamhaus ZEN?

The Spamhaus ZEN combines all Spamhaus IP-based blacklists into one powerful and comprehensive blocklist to make the IP lookup faster and simpler. ZEN contains the SBL, SBLCSS, XBL, and PBL blocklists.

The Spamhaus Block List (SBL) is a database of IP addresses from which Spamhaus does not recommend the acceptance of emails because Spamhaus deems that those IP addresses have been involved in the sending, hosting, or origination of Unsolicited Bulk Email.

The Spamhaus SBLCSS lists IP addresses that are involved in sending low-reputation email, in particular:

  • sending emails that have indications of unsolicited nature or abuse;
  • having poor list-hygiene;
  • sending out bad emails due to a compromise.

SBLCSS lists IP addresses based on multiple events and heuristics.

The Spamhaus Exploits Block List (XBL) is a realtime database of IP addresses of hijacked computers infected by illegal 3rd party exploits, including open proxies, worms/viruses with built-in spam engines, and other types of trojan-horse exploits.

The Spamhaus Policy Block List (PBL) is a DNSBL database of end-user IP address ranges that should not be delivering unauthenticated emails to any Internet mail server except those provided for specifically by an ISP for that customer’s use. The PBL lists both dynamic and static IPs, any IP which by the policy should not be sending an email directly to the MX servers of third parties.

Why Delist from Spamhaus ZEN

A listing in Spamhaus ZEN can make you mad when you might be trying to send an email campaign to your email subscribers but all the messages are bouncing back with an error telling that your IP address is listed in Spamhaus.

You may not know that you were listed because the listing occurs automatically. But you may want to get delisted from Spamhaus ZEN as soon as possible to get your time-sensitive offers delivered to your subscribers.

How to Delist from Spamhaus ZEN

The first step is to check if your IP is listed in any of the Spamhaus blocklists.

Go to the Spamhaus Lookup page, enter your IP address and do a lookup.

If your IP address appears on one of the Spamhaus IP blocklists (SBL, SBLCSS, XBL, or PBL), the lookup tool will display the information on which one it is and what you have to do to delist the IP.

How to Avoid Spamhaus ZEN Listing

It is essential that you fix the issue that caused the IP listing before asking for the removal.

If you have difficulty investigating what might have caused the Spamhaus ZEN listing, talk with your domain manager or technical department so they can clarify the situation. Here are a few things to start with:

  1. Verify your infrastructure.

    Ensure that your domain’s authentication records (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC) are set up and valid. Use DMARC enforcement to block emails containing malware, phishing, or other harmful content that might be sent by spammers on behalf of you.

  2. Review your list acquisition sources.

    Make sure you are sending emails only to those people who have opted-in to receive it. For better security, consider implementing a confirmed opt-in process.

  3. Clean your email list.

    Verify your list and suppress hard bounce emails. Ensure that you have a system for processing bounce emails in place.

  4. Manage email list properly.

    Make sure that you have a working unsubscribe process and that people who don’t want to receive your emails anymore are removed from the list timely. You also have to suppress the users who complained about your messages by processing feedback loop emails from ISP.

    If you have data about your recipients’ activity, identify and suppress inactive users. Depending on your sending frequency, you’ll want to suppress the recipients who haven’t opened your email for the last three-six months. It is important to stop sending emails to those who do not interact with them. However, before suppressing inactive users, you might want to send a re-engagement campaign and try to win back unengaged subscribers. If they don’t respond, delete them permanently from your list.

  5. Proactively monitor.

    Keep an eye on bounce rates, complaint rates, and spam trap hits. If you start seeing unusually high numbers, resolve the problem before it gets you listed on Spamhaus ZEN.

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AUTHOR BIO

Julia Gulevich is an email marketing expert and customer support professional at GlockSoft LLC with more than 15 years of experience. Author of numerous blog posts, publications, and articles about email marketing and deliverability.