email marked spam

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

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 list, but it gets marked as “Spam.” Why? Was there anything wrong with your campaign? Or does every list have abuse emails — and yours is no exception? One thing is sure: spam complaints are going to bring down your deliverability, so you can’t ignore them.

Let’s see what abuse emails are and how they affect your sender reputation.

What are abuse emails?

Abuse emails belong to users who have a habit of marking email they receive as “Spam.” There are different reasons they do that:

  • You’ve purchased your 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.
email verifier

What happens when people mark your emails as “Spam”

Your sender reputation gets tarnished and your email deliverability will suffer. If you keep sending to abuse emails, it 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?

Take it as a warning and remove those addresses from your list immediately. However, if your email service provider (ESP) finds your complaint rate too high, it will suspend you.

Your ESP will investigate your list and try to determine how you collect your contacts and how healthy your list is.

email verifier

How to avoid abuse emails and 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. Use an email checker

First and foremost: keep up with your email list hygiene by running it through an email validator. The system will be able to identify abuse emails and remove them from your database.

If you have a whole email list, it’s easier and faster to upload it on and have it cleaned. But if you only need to check a few addresses, you can always use our free email verifier.

Here’s how it works — you type in the email address in the field:


In less than two seconds, the system returns a result. If the status says “abuse,” you know that emailing that address is risky as the person is likely to label you as Spam.

2. Don’t buy an email list.

It takes time to grow your own, but your email marketing will perform so much better in the long run. Also, never add people to your list without asking for consent.

3. 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.

4. 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 that they want to be on your mailing list. As a result, you’ll also see an increase in your engagement rates.

5. Make the “Unsubscribe” button visible and the process easy.

Never send an email that doesn’t offer your subscribers a way out. Have your “Unsubscribe” button at the bottom, along with the physical address of your business.

6. Maintain a constant sending rhythm.

Send your emails on the 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.

email complainers

ZeroBounce is one of the few email validation systems that can spot abuse emails and will separate them from your list. Once you weed them out, you can email more confidently knowing your sender reputation is safer.

However, some marketers decide to keep sending emails to known complainers. Find out what our Chief Technology Officer Henry Timmes thinks about this by reading his take on the topic.