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How To Solve MailChimp’s Omnivore Warning Issue

If you use MailChimp, then its abuse-prevention program Omnivore may make it more difficult to get 100% email deliverability on your email campaign.

Omnivore is a system that MailChimp uses to help reduce the suspicious activity that could arise from your email list due to malicious emails, bad URLs or questionable keywords.

This post explains how Omnivore works, types of Omnivore warnings and what to do if you receive one or more Omnivore warnings. We’ve also included 3 steps to verify your email list and prevent Omnivore warnings.

What is Omnivore?

Omnivore is MailChimp’s artificial intelligence (AI) system that routinely scans email lists you upload to the MailChimp system. Omnivore scans imported lists and looks for email addresses that might trigger complaints, high bounce rates, or blacklisting.

How does Omnivore work?

Omnivore uses an algorithm to assign a level of risk to an email list. If the risk level is high, MailChimp will not deliver to those addresses. An email verification system like Bounceless.io can help detect which addresses may bounce, generate complaints or be spamtraps.

If you receive an Omnivore warning for an affected list, the MailChimp system will not deliver emails to that list. However, MailChimp will send emails to the unaffected list and both lists remain on your account. 

MailChimp is a great autoresponder. As a matter of fact, it enables thousands of companies to send effective email marketing campaigns. However, there are times when bad email addresses can trigger Omnivore warnings and prevent your subscribers from receiving your emails.

What is an Omnivore warning?

An Omnivore warning is a message from MailChimp that they will not send your email campaign, or that if it is sent then you will not get 100% email deliverability.

As a business owner or blogger, it’s important that you’re able to send emails to your database because this can help increase your bottom line.

MailChimp’s Omnivore warning issues can be resolved with email verification and list cleaning. Bounceless.io offers email verification services and solutions including email deduplication, spam-trap removal and email bounce reduction. The email verification process helps business owners and marketing managers clean their email lists and avoid getting blocked by spam filters and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

What Triggers the Omnivore Warning?

MailChimp have defined the elements of an email list that will trigger an Omnivore warning, including stale email addresses, unfamiliar email addresses and spamtraps.

Mailchimp Omnivore looks for stale email addresses

A stale list is a list of email addresses that have not received emails from your business in a while. A stale list will have a higher volume of undeliverable results than a list that is regularly targeted by emails. This is because the email addresses may have become inactive, or the recipients may reject the email as being no longer relevant to them.

A stale list can also include spam trap addresses which, when an email is sent, can affect the email servers. For this reason, Omnivore will block these emails.

Mailchimp Omnivore looks for unfamiliar email addresses

Each time you import new email addresses to MailChimp, Omnivore checks your list for any email addresses you haven’t contacted through MailChimp’s email service.

Sometimes these email addresses might be recent imports, people who signed up through a form or a mobile application, or individuals that you have sectioned from earlier email campaign sends.

If you exceed the threshold of unfamiliar email addresses, you will receive a warning and recommendation that you clean your email list.

Mailchimp Omnivore looks for spamtraps

Omnivore scans this new list for spamtrap email addresses. A spamtrap email address is one used by Internet Service Providers, anti-spam organizations and third parties to identify out-of-date lists or generate abuse complaints. Often these spamtrap email addresses do not necessarily belong to opted-in subscribers, and are sometimes used solely to catch spammers. 

It’s best to heed to these warnings to prevent your emails being blocked and your bounce rate increased.

What to do when you receive an Omnivore warning

Don’t ignore the warning! This is an important issue that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Make sure you read the warning so that you can correct the situation.

MailChimp is known for being diligent about protecting those that use its services and has a great reputation for delivering effective email campaigns. No one likes to receive spam and MailChimp wants to make sure people do not receive spam emails.

Omnivore is precise in verifying high risk, stale and spam email addresses. Sometimes lists bought or leased from third parties will contain very old email addresses or email addresses that Omnivore identifies as spam.

How to prevent Omnivore warnings

There are ways to ensure you do a clean upload and get as close to 100% email deliverability as possible.

Get double opt-ins

When someone signs up to receive an email from your organization, they should go through a double-opt in process. This means that when someone signs up to receive emails from you, a verification email is sent immediately to the email address they provided. The opt-in process is not complete until they have clicked on the verification link.

Following this double opt-in process is the only foolproof way to have a truly ‘clean’ subscriber list and to be sure that every recipient has explicitly agreed to receive your campaigns.

Check for role-based emails

Ensure that your subscribers haven’t subscribed using a generic email address like info@riw.com or admin@play.com. These are referred to as role-based email addresses and will trigger an Omnivore warning.

3 steps to verify your email list and prevent Omnivore warnings

Step 1 – Get as many double opt-ins as possible

As a business owner or marketing manager, it is best to require people to double opt-in to cut down on spam and reduce the number of people who may have inadvertently signed up to receive information from you. This is better for MailChimp as the email addresses will include real names instead of being role-based email addresses for an unnamed or unidentified person or title email address. This is important because Omnivore sees role-based email addresses as addresses that can become irrelevant rather quickly.

Ultimately, using a double opt-in process to collect email addresses will deliver cost savings and help build a strong email list.

Step 2 – Use a cloud-based service to help clean your emails

You can have your list validated no matter what size it is. Just go online and search for email address validation. There are plenty of companies that can verify your email address list. They will even address the ones you’re not too sure about. You also want to make sure that the email verification company doesn’t delete any addresses, but agrees to return your list intact with added information stating which are good/bad or unidentified.

Your emails will be returned to you validated; however, you can clean certain emails yourself such as role-based emails, free email addresses, and old email addresses (especially those who have not been sent a message in a long time).

It takes less than a second to check an email address with an email validation system. Make sure you choose an email validation service, like Bounceless.io, which checks deliverability and returns a list check rate of at least 95 percent. Remember, your data is an asset, don’t entrust it to just any service. You want to make sure that the email verification business is focused on helping you get to 100% email deliverability.

The cost for having your email list validated will vary across providers. Bounceless.io offers a free service to check a proportion of your list. This is so you can see the types of reporting and indicative results before you invest in having your whole list validated.

Cost wise, the prices vary between suppliers for having your whole email list cleaned.  The standard fees are competitive and some come without a setup cost.  There is also the pay-as-you-go; use only what you need.

Step 3 – Reconfirm your subscriber list with an email verification service like Bounceless.io

Here are a few scenarios you may have encountered, but not known that it would trigger any MailChimp’s Omnivore warnings.

New addresses recently uploaded
You recently uploaded a new subscriber list and didn’t have any initial compliance issues. However, Omnivore has since identified some of the email addresses as invalid, which have rendered part of your list invalid. Once you have had your list cleaned, you can resubmit the email addresses with a greater likelihood of 100% email deliverability. 

No new addresses recently uploaded

Sometimes you may fail to contact your email subscribers on a regular basis, and as a result your list could include addresses that are old and not valid. No problem, just reconfirm the addresses on your list.

Don’t know when the addresses were uploaded

For whatever reason, sometimes accounts are shared and you may not be sure when subscribers were most recently imported. If this is the case, it is strongly recommended that you use segmentation to delete the email addresses believed to be the problem.

Whether your email address list is new or old, it can trigger warnings from MailChimp’s Omnivore. However, there are ways to resolve your MailChimp Omnivore issues through email verification services like Bounceless.io.

  • shankar

    Can you please suggest me any tool to detect stale emails from my list?

  • jen

    I am opening a new account with MailChimp. I have a list of 5500 that I have validated using Neverbounce. Can I upload all of those at once to MailChimp without issue? Will it consider them all “unfamiliar email addresses” since I’ve never sent to them before? even if I have yet to send my first email?