I had a customer domain who got their password compromised and spam was sent from their email account with links back to drive-by files that had been uploaded to their web space.

The server ended up on a spam blacklist.

The infected files were cleaned from the site, passwords changed and removal requested from Spamhouse. After a day or two, the server was clear on all blacklists.

Now whenever the customer sends any email that contains their text of their domain name to hotmail or gmail the email goes to spam. Without any link to their site it goes through OK.

SPF is set on the customer domain, but that doesn't matter as whenever i send an email from my own email account on my own domain to hotmail, gmail and others, any email containing the words of the name of the customer domain also goes straight to spam!

It seems their domain name is considered a spam word regardless of the email address it is sent from.

I know where to check and go to remove IP addresses, but is there a list of spam words in this case that the domain name has gotten on to?


Spamhaus have five lists: SBL, XBL, PBL, DBL and Zen. These all serve different purposes.

The DBL is the one your domain is most likely still on. It is designed to match domains in the body of messages. This is not the IP address that your domain points to but your actual domain. The lookup for this type of list goes like this:

dig com.example.www.dbl.spamhaus.org

Compared to a normal IP address lookup:


Google and Hotmail do not use Spamhaus. They also don't accept requests to have IPs or words removed from whatever they do use. The only way to get email through to them is to send lots of non-spam and wait for their users to click the "This is not spam" button.

  • Thanks for the detailed reply, the domain in question is nassimatower.com. It is not listed on any domain blacklist, so I guess lots of people have clicked 'this is spam' with emails with the words nassimatower.com in. – g18c Oct 10 '12 at 14:34

I don't know whether a list of spam words like you describe exists or not. I have never heard of it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Your problem, however, is that you don't know exactly what the problem is. Indeed, nobody knows how google and hotmail have implemented their spam filters, so any solution would always involve quite a bit of trial and error.

I suggest that you contact both google and hotmail. Try to describe your problem as completely as possible, and don't forget to include some of the emails that are marked as spam, with full headers. Try to be as precise as possible regarding the dates when your customer's server was added to and removed from several blacklists, that might help. It may take a while before you get an answer, unfortunately. Probably a few days.

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