7 List Poisons Killing Your Email Delivery

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 09/06/17 •  4 min read
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My friend, Marc Goldman, created this list and I wanted to share it with you.

I can assure you that if you are doing email marketing of ANY KIND, you are most likely harboring some really BAD ADDRESSES on your list.

We call it List Poisons. If you are having delivery issues, or you are getting suspended or – worse again – kicked off your ESP or SMTP Services you need to identify the Poisons lurking in your list.

Most business owners, entrepreneurs and even marketers don’t have a clue but there is POISON lurking in your lists!

If you have tried mailing and been kicked off of ESPs and SMTP providers before and you have no idea why, then chances are that your lists were deemed dirty by the provider and they don’t want to let you anywhere near their service.


List Poison #1: Dormant Accounts
Dormant accounts are email addresses at the top mailbox providers that USED TO BE GOOD but were then abandoned by their owner (probably because of receiving too much email). These mailbox providers (like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft) then REACTIVATE those old, dormant accounts with the express purpose of catching email marketers who have not removed them from their lists after being warned for 6 months to do so. Mailing dormant accounts is probably 1 of the WORST things you can do for delivery at the “Big 4”.

List Poison #2: Spam Traps
Spam Traps are email addresses created for the purpose of catching people who send unsolicited emails. They NEVER optin to receive emails and they are almost always added through using 3rd party rented or purchased lists. Mailing Spam Traps immediately indicates that you are using 3rd party lists and pretty much drives your delivery into the toilet.

List Poison #3: Invalid Emails
Invalid emails are emails that do not exist. They are made up, inserted in your lists by malicious users and freebie seekers and they cannot be delivered to. They will do serious damage to your reputation as a respected email marketer.

List Poison #4: Typo Domains
These are emails with mistakes in the domain. Examples include gmal.com and hotmial.com. Mailing them indicates you care very little about your sender reputation and as such, you will be rewarded with the spam folder at best or your email never seeing the light of day (unless you get kicked off your ESP first)

List Poison #5: Role Accounts
These are emails like webmaster@, admin@, support@. They are normally NEVER used for personal/business email and many times the person or persons who check these accounts will have no qualms complaining about your email. While they aren’t as deadly as the previous 4 poisons, insisting on mailing them drives your reputation down and will probably end you on a “watchlist” at your ESP.

List Poison #6: Serial Complainers
Serial Complainers are like Serial Killers – they keep doing the same bad thing over and over again. They are well known for only complaining about the commercial email they receive. While it’s a judgment call on whether to remove them (as they are often some of the most active people on a list), being able to identify them empowers you to make the judgment call on whether or not to remove them from your most valuable asset.

List Poison #7: BOTS
Bots are robots that are added to your list simply to waste your time. They artificially inflate your Click numbers and provide you no value. They upset advertisers and list partners, drive down your PPC & ECPM and will NEVER become a lead or buyer. They are just taking up valuable space that could be filled with high quality prospects. Draw out this poison from your lists immediately!

How Many Of These POISONS Are In YOUR List?

None you say?

Here’s part of a conversation I had with a client. He thought EXACTLY the same thing –


Removing those emails is not the same as kleaning your email list. Most companies NEVER clean their list.

Here’s what happened when we kleaned his list:


You see that?

A full 41% of his list was bad, meaning it was infected with one or more of the email list poisons shown above.

More specifically, this is how it looked:


How infected is YOUR list?

Probably more than you know.

It’s hurting your delivery, it’s hurting your opens and clicks, and it’s hurting your sender reputation.

Find out now – click here to clean your list!

Lee Collins

Lee Collins is a former Air Force Network Systems Engineer and Fortune 500 Corporate VP - who is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. He has over 24+ years experience running operations for multiple multi-million dollar marketing, software, SEO, financial, and business coaching companies. When Lee isn't helping his private clients solve big (and small) marketing and operations problems, Lee is most likely heading up into the mountains in his fully-equipped Jeep Gladiator. Or just gone fishing.