What Are Abuse Emails and How an Email Validator Will Help You Deal with Them

Written by: Corina Leslie

June 1, 2018

Your copy is impeccable, your images are appealing, and your offer is irresistible. Your entire marketing email is in great shape, so you send it out to your mailing list, but it gets marked as “Spam.” Why? Was there anything wrong with your campaign? Or does your list contain several abuse emails that are going to bring down your deliverability? Let’s see what abuse emails are and how they can affect your sender reputation.

Abuse emails belong to users who have a habit of marking email sent to them as “Spam.” There are all kinds of reasons they do that for:

♦ You are using a bought email list and the recipient has no idea who you are.

♦ They don’t remember signing up to receive your emails.

♦ People can mistake the “Spam” link for the “Unsubscribe” button.

♦ Some feel like your campaign looks spammy.

What happens people mark your emails as “Spam”?

Your sender reputation gets tarnished and your email deliverability will suffer. If you keep sending to abuse emails, that will cause your campaigns to land in the junk pile. Furthermore, your ESP may decide not to deliver them at all.

You get a couple of complaints? You can interpret that as just a warning. However, if your email service provider (ESP) considers your complaint rate is too high, it will suspend you. Your ESP will investigate your list and will try to determine how you collect your contacts and how healthy your list is.

How to avoid abuse emails & being marked as “Spam”

There are a few measures you can take to keep a good sender reputation and land your emails in your subscribers’ inboxes.

  1. First and foremost: keep up with your email list hygiene by running it through an email checker. A good email verifier will be able to identify known abuse emails and remove them from your database.
  1. Don’t buy an email list. It takes time to grow your own, but permission marketing is a must in 2018.
  1. Make sure your campaigns look legitimate. Avoid using spammy words in your subject lines and call-to-actions. Polish your copy and images and don’t overwhelm your subscribers with too many links.
  1. Always use the double opt-in method to collect email addresses. This way, your subscribers will confirm they are have a genuine interest in your content and want to be on your mailing list.
  1. Make the “Unsubscribe” button visible and the process easy.
  1. Maintain a constant sending rhythm – same day every week or month. Not only will this keep your IP warm, but it will also prevent your subscribers to forget who you are and why they are getting your emails.


ZeroBounce is one of the few email verification systems that can spot abuse emails and will separate them from your list. However, some marketers decide to keep sending communications to known complainers. Find out what our Chief Technology Officer Henry Timmes thinks about this by reading his take on this topic.