While social media sites have come and gone, email is still one of the best ways to keep in contact with your customers, suppliers…. literally anyone.

But what if in a strange alternate universe, you wanted to get blacklisted? What if you were fed up with making tons of money from your email list and wanted to throw it all away?

Maybe you don’t want to be able to easily build relationships with your audience.
Maybe you don't care about business etiquette.

Or maybe, and I hope the majority of people read this fall into this category, they just don't know the technical rules, and want to read a lighthearted, slightly condescending-but-still funny article about email rules.

Regardless of which category you fall into: Here are the absolute best ways to get your email blocked, blacklisted, or in some cases, massively fined by the Canadian Government.


Sign People up for Email lists without their explicit consent

The laws are pretty simple: Only email people with permission.

But what happens if you accidentally get permission to email them? What if I told you that there were many ways that would SEEM like you have permission, when you really don’t, so you can continue to get flagged as a spammer.

These acts do not count as permission to email:

  1. Someone giving you their business card.
  2. Collecting business cards at networking events without an opt-in.
  3. Someone entering in their email on your website WITHOUT an opt-in button telling them what they are signing up for.
  4. You having a great conversation with them and building rapport and asking for their email. (Email about the business you said. Not just sign them up for your newsletter)
  5. Online Business directories. Just because they are public, doesn’t mean you have permission to email them.

So if you think you got permission to email them and are out of luck for getting blocked… think again!

Don't Follow any of the clear Anti Spam laws in Canada

Really there is not much to say but read this, and avoid doing anything in it.

Deliver Poor Content, or something other than what you promised

Let's say you accidentally got their permission, and now you have some safe people to email on your email list. Maybe one of your renegade employees put it in, or those annoyingly helpful folks at Mailchimp made their forms have mandatory opt-in forms you can't take out.

Is all lost?

Not so fast.

Because even if you manage to get emails to people lawfully, you still have a secret weapon:

Get them to unsubscribe.

Email providers are VERY protective of their ability to email other servers. So if they detect a lot of unsubscribes, they are most likely going to block you from sending emails before they let their servers get blocked.

So how do we ensure that your email list becomes unusable?

Easy: Annoy the crap out of people with useless emails no one wants to read. Make sure to send:

  1. Salesy, self promoting emails that only have to do with your business, products or sales
  2. Email them as often as you can, at random, inconsistent times so your email is popping into their feed randomly. Bonus points if you do it twice in a day.
  3. Fluff content, overly long with no real value that isn't already out on the internet 100 times over.
  4. Content that has nothing to do with what you said you would send them. Example: If you said you would send them coupons, but instead send them stories about your industry. BAM. Instant unsubscribe.

Bonus Tip for extra blacklisting speed: It’s easier for some people to hit the “mark as spam” button, then try and figure out how to unsubscribe. So if you waste people's time properly, then that should get you sent to the spam folder. Do this only a few times, and your email should stop sending immediately

Use Spammy Words, random numbers, or Poor Grammar.

Your email providers want you to enjoy using their email service. So they install spam filters to block emails that are likely to be considered spam, or low-quality emails.

We can use this to our advantage and include as much triggering language as possible. These are some of the words that get picked up by spam filters:

  • Home Based
  • $$$
  • F r e e
  • Why Pay more?
  • Avoid
  • Miracle
  • Dear _____
  • Click here

And my personal favourite:

  • Score with babes – yup. This came up in a scientific study on spam.

If you need more ideas on how to sound spammy, check out Hubspot's giant list of Spammy sounding words and phrases. Summed up: Sound as salesy and self-promoting as possible.

Send Attachments

This might sound simple, but there are a few tips and tricks we can use to make these attachments even more suspicious to email filters:

Make sure they don't have a unique sounding name written by a human.

Use random letters or numbers, or the default name your program uses to name documents that you don’t name yourself. Spam filters love documents named: “2021-02-11_4324532534532_autosave.pdf”

Don't just send a simple jpeg. Send files that could execute malicious code like a .exe file, or a word doc. Also, consider making the size of the file over 1MB.

The ideal file would be something like rty_34234.exe that is 20 GB large.

Have we missed any?

There are countless ways to get your email blocked. So if you are a budding email masochist, experiment with all sorts of techniques.

If on the other hand, you are trying to avoid getting your emails blacklisted, then please take care with your marketing and avoid these instructions. The rules are changing almost monthly, so if you have questions, ASK! We'd love to help.