Hotmail Blacklist Removal
If you cannot send emails to Hotmail or MSN, then your server’s IP address maybe blacklisted. Here are some tips to get removed from the MSN 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 MSN’s blacklist. I am going to outline 3 steps.
- Verify you are on the MSN blacklist.
- Perform preliminary blacklist removal checks.
- Submit MSN blacklist delisting request.
MSN Blacklist Check
If MSN has blacklisted your IP, you will receive a delivery rejection notice from MSN or Hotmail. If you check your server’s logs or your email bounce you may see something like this:
host mx4.hotmail.com[126.96.36.199] said: 550 SC-001 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons. Reasons for rejection may be related to content with spam-like characteristics or IP/domain reputation problems. If you are not an email/network admin please contact your E-mail/Internet Service Provider for help. Email/network admins, please visit MSN Postmaster for email delivery information and support (in reply to MAIL FROM command)
If you are seeing this or a similar email error, then your server’s IP has likely been blocked by MSN/Hotmail. There could be other response codes, but typically all MSN blacklist notifications will include a 500 series error. MSN’s postmaster service as a list of MSN’s blacklist codes. I suggest you check this list to find the exact reason Hotmail or MSN is rejecting your emails.
There are some 400 series errors that deal with email volume rather than suspected spam. If you are sending high volumes of email to MSN, you may need to sign up for their bulk sender’s program.
If you are not seeing 500 errors, then you may not have an email blacklist problem but some other email delivery issue.
Preliminary Blacklist Delisting Tasks
Before requesting removal from MSN’s blacklist, you will want to take some steps to stop whatever caused the listing.
Make sure there is no unauthorized email going from your server.
- Check the daily volume of email going to Hotmail, MSN or Live.com
- Look for compromised user accounts.
- Look for people forwarding email to Hotmail, MSN, or Live.com.
If someone is forwarding email to Hotmail related addresses and then marketing it as spam, Hotmail will lower your server’s sender reputation. Window’s Live and related email services such as Hotmail and MSN.com emails work with Return Path to filter email. So email server reputation is more important for sending to these accounts than some of the other ISP’s covered in this series.
Hotmail/MSN Blacklist Removal Process
To start the process of getting removed from Hotmail’s blacklist, you will need to complete their sender information form.
Provide all of the requested information. Unlike some other ISPs, MSN Support requires you to run some telnet tests from the command line on your server. If you do not know how to run these tests, you will need to get someone to help you.
In working with MSN, I have found it very important to provide accurate email headers. If you provide reliable information and are truly not spamming their systems, you will typically see removal in 2-3 business days. MSN is very picky about DNS. So be sure your DNS, PTR and SPF/SenderID records are in order before requesting removal.
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