ISP Content Filtering, Part 2: Addressing False Positives

In my last post, I brought up the topic of content filters and discussed what can be done to minimize the chance of such filters affecting your messages.

Even when you do take those steps, however, it is still possible that a message may be filtered.

Today, let’s look at some guidelines for contacting an ISP about a content filtering issue so that filter doesn’t continue to disrupt your mailings.

Contacting an ISP About Content Filtering

There are a few keys to success here:

Be Polite.

It’s easy to get flustered and even offended when your requested mail gets filtered. After all, you’re not a spammer!

Remember, though, that ISPs don’t answer to you; they answer to their users.

When you contact them, approach the filtering as something that is negatively affecting their users, rather than as something that’s negatively affecting you.

Legitimize Yourself as a Sender.

While you know that your subscribers are opting in to your list, an ISP doesn’t necessarily know that.

Explain how your subscribers are signing up to get your information, and that you only email those subscribers after they have come to you and directly requested to be subscribed to your list.

The more fully you disclose what you are doing, the more likely an ISP will be to help you.

Take Things One Step at a Time.

Open a dialogue with the ISP.

Provide information such as the bounce message you received (if applicable), the subscriber that did not receive the message (if there are many, indicate this and provide two or three addresses as examples).

Once an ISP has decided to help you, they’ll tell you what else they need from you to resolve the issue.

Don’t forward the filtered message to them until they tell you to. If your first email to an ISP includes the filtered email…it’s probably just going to hit the same filter it did before and not get to them. When they’re ready to look at the message content itself, they’ll tell you where to send it.

It Doesn’t Have to Be an Uphill Battle

Most major ISPs are willing to work with you to resolve a content filtering issue if you approach the situation properly.

However, if you find that you’re simply not able to get a response from an ISP, review the message that got filtered and then return to my first post on this topic for ideas on what you can do to prevent (more) filtering from occurring.


  1. Ryan Christopherson

    12/7/2006 1:32 am

    I visited some of the whitelisting areas of the various ISPs and part of their process includes providing the IP address for the mail server. How can I find out what the IP address is of the mail server being used for my broadcasts through aweber?

  2. Tom Kulzer

    12/7/2006 11:20 am


    If your delivering thru AWeber, we already handle that whitelisting process for you. That’s part of what you’re paying us to do.