Guidelines for List Compliance

There are two sides to building and maintaining an effective subscriber list. MailChimp manages one side, including bounce and unsubscribe management and deliverability. Your responsibility is to properly collect and manage your lists. Review the guidelines below to help you remain in compliance with our Terms of Use.


Anti-spam laws require that subscribers opt in to, or ask to join, your list. To improve your list health, MailChimp recommends that you use a double opt-in process, which requires subscribers to confirm that they asked to join your list. This ensures your subscribers are interested in your emails, and helps keep invalid email addresses off your list.

Permission should be in writing and archived. When a subscriber checks a box or signs up for your email list, it must be very clear the person is signing up to receive email. Permission could be disputed if it’s presented in conjunction with another type of transaction, like a purchase or request for information.


The way you collect your list is critical to the health of your list. You should never purchase, rent or scrape addresses to build a list. The people who own these addresses haven’t given you permission.

A paper signup list, fishbowl, and other offline collection methods can also cause issues with your list. Individuals on your list who shared their email addresses with you in these ways often have not provided written or express permission, and may not want to receive your campaigns.

People who did not ask to receive your emails are the most likely to bounce, unsubscribe, or even mark your campaigns as spam. These types of complaints negatively impact your list performance and sending reputation, and can cause problems for other MailChimp users as well.

Learn more about list collection practices and offline collection methods.


Once you've properly created your list and collected addresses, it's important to continue to manage your subscribers and keep your list clean.

A common problem with lists is that email addresses go stale quickly--in about six months. Below are some common reasons emails go stale.

  • The person who opted in forgets they signed up for your list.
  • The person who opted in is no longer interested in your content.
  • Someone who provided a business email address changes jobs.
  • A subscriber changes their email address.

We recommend including an Update Profile link in every campaign you send, so that subscribers can update their preferences and contact information at their discretion.

If our Compliance Team ever contacts you about a suspension, you may have to reconfirm your list from scratch. Instead, plan to proactively reconfirm your list every six months.

Learn more about list management and reconfirmation.

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