Archive for April, 2022


March was a tough month for a lot of safelists.

What happened?

It seems that Gmail, the email provider safelist owners have been recommending for the past few years, has decided that they don’t like safelists nearly as much as they used to.

I had noticed in February that emails from Mister Safelist had started showing up in my “Spam” folder.  I tried teaching Gmail that these emails were “Not Spam” and clicked the appropriate buttons to do so.

During the first week of March, the unthinkable happened.  All emails from Mister Safelist sent to Gmail accounts began bouncing with this error message:

host[] said: 550-5.7.1
Our system has detected that this message is 550-5.7.1 likely
unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of spam sent to Gmail, 550-5.7.1
this message has been blocked.

The kiss of death!

If you have ever used any sort of safelist or list builder you know that emails are never sent “unsolicited”.  The whole point of a “safe” list is that everyone using the list has agreed to receive emails from other members of the list.  But how does one go about explaining this to Gmail?

I wasn’t the only safelist hit.  It seems a random selection of owners all using different scripts on different servers were blocked by Gmail.

I have managed to get Mister Safelist back up and running with some modifications that I hope will prevent it from happening again.  It’s still scary though.  I hate the feeling that Gmail could pull the rug out from under me again any time they feel like it.

What is the solution?

A few mailers have switched to “On-Site” emails only.  This seems like the smart path to take but I wonder if these ads will be as effective as actual email ads.

Safelist marketing has been around for a long time.  Even I can admit it’s very “old school” when compared to what a lot of people are doing with social media right now.  When used correctly safelists can still be a very powerful marketing tool but these recent events have made me wonder about their future.

Could this be the beginning of the end for safelists as we know them?