Can I get a list of spam words to avoid?

Posted by Return Path on

By: Tom Sather; ISP and Deliverability Consultant and
Stephanie Miller; VP of Strategic Solutions

This is a common question from email marketers. The bad news is that nearly every effective direct marketing word can be found on these lists. The good news is that It isn’t really about a list of words per se, it’s how the filters see a constantly evolving combinations of words get used that trigger the filters.

We always suggest that clients write great marketing copy for their offer, marketing goals, brand and audience, and then test their creative for current triggers using our Campaign Preview and Spam Filter Monitor tools. Often, the flagged words include things like “click here” or the unsubscribe link or snail mail address. Since these words appear in almost all emails (for response and also for CAN-SPAM compliance), the spam filters pick it up as a trend with spam.

Out of fear of tripping the filters, some clients try to alter words and content that have a lot to do with their business and what they have to offer. This is usually not necessary. For each campaign, once you see which words are flagged, just adjust or use synonyms or change the combinations.

That said, there are some obvious words to watch. Below is a list that is pretty good.

http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt8/spamfilter_phrases.htm

Here’s also a bunch of keywords identified by SpamAssassin themselves:

http://spamassassin.apache.org/tests_3_1_x.html

But again, it could make you mad trying to stay away from all those words… best to focus on your marketing goals first, and then test your emails prior to sending.


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