Store owner cleaning their email list on the computer

The benefits of cleaning your email contact list

Your home should not be the only place you keep things in order, your email sender reputation also depends on using an email list cleaner to bring some “Marie Kondo” cleanliness into your online store. I found this out the hard way a few years ago…

When partnering with a brand, a “black list” of emails was used for some reason, probably innocently. But innocently done or not, our store was penalized. When we sent out email marketing, Spamhaus called the brand out, listed it as spam, and our deliverability went through the floor. 

What we did was implement an email sanitizer, and a double opt-in: Essentially every time someone signed up for a newsletter, we sent them an email so they could confirm subscription by clicking a link.

Let’s answer the most common questions about email list cleaners:

Why does email sender reputation matter to online stores?

If you only take one thing away from this blog, it’s that you must not send emails to those who have not given consent to have their email used in that way. The same applies to SMS, whether you’re sending a message to recover an abandoned cart or share a discount code: your intent can be to help but consent is still mandatory! 

There are laws to look out for consumers, namely GDPR, the CAN-SPAM Act, and the California Consumer Privacy Act. Many countries operate their own privacy laws or are drafting them. These laws were created to discourage email database sellers from pinching emails from wherever they can find it. This is illegal! Companies can only use your email if you gave it to them so good stores don’t buy contact lists from database sellers.

While the person committing the illegal theft of emails is the email database seller, the store sending the emails is the one that gets penalized.

For this reason, you should keep your email database clean of potentially illegally obtained contacts as well as those that might bounce due to other reasons. We’ll get into those next but first, consider gathering emails through legal means like pop-ups on your site.

Store owner cleaning their email list on a white laptop

What issues with addresses can an email sanitizer find?

An email sanitizer, sometimes known as an email list cleaner or similar, will detect emails that might not be reaching the shoppers. This protects your email sender reputation, which will improve your open and click rate, and therefore your sales!

Here are all the reasons an email sanitizer might detect issues with the emails in your store’s contact list:

  • Accept all: A receiving server accepts all emails whether they exist or not, then simply discards them without notifying the sender of a bounce. This can hurt the email sender reputation and is a  typical setting on improperly configured email servers.


  • Bounce: When an email mailbox doesn’t exist, it’s described as bouncing. This is very negative for the email sender reputation and should be avoided.


  • Disposable: Sometimes people use a temporary, disposable address to avoid receiving promotional emails. In this case there is no inbox to receive your email marketing and usually the disposable mailbox turns into a Bounce mailbox issue.


  • Role: Role accounts might start with “info@” or “support@” and these are associated with company roles, not people.    
  • Syntax: A syntax error likely means that the format or spelling is incorrect, signaling the entry is not a real email address.


  • Spam complaints: This reason for an email not receiving emails happens when the recipient has reported your store for spam previously.


  • Spam trap: These are email addresses that identify and monitor spam email. There is not a real shopper on the other end of them!


  • Unreachable: Email addresses in this category might indicate an overloaded or temporary offline email server.

Now you know enough about why emails might not reach a shopper and the damage undelivered emails can do to your store’s reputation, we have a way to fix it!

How can you get started with an email list cleaner?

Aument does all this automatically! On top of our growth tactics for ecommerce, if you add any email list into Aument, we will execute email sanitization to protect your store, and your shoppers. This keeps your lists clean and your store on the right side of the law.

We protect your email sender reputation

Having a clean email list improves your open and click rate, and therefore your sales! If you connect our email marketing automations to your store, all the emails of shoppers who have previously bought from you in Shopify will be loaded and sanitized automatically so all you see is easy, clean, email and SMS marketing!

If you have even more contacts on a spreadsheet, and they have consented to the use of their email for marketing purposes, you can load them into Aument in the app’s Contacts section. You can either upload contacts one-by-one, or by importing a spreadsheet, whichever is easiest for you.

This topic is close to my heart because transparency and deliverability are important topics in my area of work. So do please drop us a line if you’d like comments on how to keep your email lists clean, and make both Aument and Marie Kondo proud!

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