At MailChimp, we do everything we can to maintain high delivery rates for all of our users. Because bad affiliate links can harm our delivery reputation, our system automatically scans for links that are blacklisted by spam filters.

In this article:

MailChimp doesn't stop campaigns that contain any affiliate links, just campaigns that contain URLs that are on blacklists. If you send an email that links to a blacklisted URL, spam filters may block your message completely. This can hurt our network's reputation with internet service providers and spam filters, subsequently jeopardizing deliverability for all our users.

The method that spam filters use to blacklist URLs varies from filter to filter. It is expected that users will at some point unintentionally include a link in their content that's banned by a spam filter. When this happens, we temporarily suspend the campaign and alert the user. We do not shut down a user account, but work with them through the issue. 

Keep in mind that it's not the content of the affiliate links that we specifically don't like. Rather, we're focused on protecting our delivery reputation for all of our users. So if a spam filter has blacklisted the content, we won't send the campaign.

At the bottom of this article, we provide a list of public resources that you can use to check domain reputations.

What Is Prohibited Content

Take a look at our Acceptable Use Policy for more information about prohibited content.

A number of factors come into play when we determine what is and isn't a bad affiliate link. Below are example scenarios to give a better understanding of our stance on affiliate links.

  • You can recommend and link to certain products or services in your campaign. Some of these may link to affiliate links, and that's fine. We understand that you need to make a living.
  • You cannot send emails about get-rich-quick schemes, or any other content that is prohibited under our Acceptable Use Policy. These will inevitably generate spam complaints and lead to delivery problems. When this happens, our Compliance Team will most likely suspend the account.
  • You can include an advertisement for a company in your campaign, but make sure it's done with your own branding, in your voice, and is presented as a special offer from the company to subscribers on your list. Do not simply plop in an advertisement that is provided to you by the company. This could confuse recipients, who don't understand why they're suddenly receiving promotional emails and will report it as spam. 
  • If you use a link that has been reported as spam is and blocked by spam filters, we will block the message from sending and send you a warning. It doesn't matter if that link is an affiliate link—if it's on a blacklist, we won't send the email.
  • While affiliate marketing is fine under certain conditions, we do not allow affiliate marketers. A typical example of an affiliate marketer is someone who buys an email list specifically to send random offers to the recipients, even if the offers don't have anything to do with the interests of the recipients. The problem here is that the affiliate marketer doesn't care about the content and is just looking to generate a commission. This is not what MailChimp is for.

If you're an author or professional blogger or business owner that sends permission-based emails full of content that your recipients are expecting, and the content isn't prohibited under our Terms of Use, and you don’t violate any spam laws, you will likely never experience any problems using MailChimp, even if you include affiliate marketing links. If you're someone who calls yourself an affiliate marketer whose content is strictly to gain a commission, MailChimp isn't for you.

Resources to check domain reputation

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