Necessary to clean up old email list?

Apr 12, 2019
I'm working with an email list that has been capturing from leads over the past 5 years. It's been about 3 years since an email blast has been sent out. I was wondering if anyone has an approach to send to this list without triggering our domain as spam.

I figure there's a few approaches I could possibly take:
  1. Send out a reintroduction email to everyone
  2. Send out a reintroduction email to X% (say 20%) of the list and see what bounce rates / unsubscribe rates are before proceeding to rest of list
  3. Send out regularly planned email to everyone - no reintroduction
  4. Send out regularly planned email to segment of list (similar to #2) - no reintroduction
  5. Use an email cleaning service (cost is like $0.01 per email). I doubt this would do much though.
  6. Send out a bullshit test email to each of the subscribers using burner GMails to get rid of bounces before doing any of the above
All of the above can either be done all at once or stagger over the course of a week or two.

The list is a little over 10,000 subscribers. If even 50% of this list was still good, I'll be ecstatic.

Thanks in advance for your help/advice.


BuSo Pro
Digital Strategist
Sep 3, 2014
Use an email cleaning service (cost is like $0.01 per email). I doubt this would do much though.

Doing this would at least expose the hard bounces and soft bounces, which is what most mass email providers care about. I'd clean those up before sending any real email. That should keep you in the clear in terms of bounce rate thresholds, like with Amazon SES. They use that to make sure you aren't simply buying lists and using their service as a spam sender.

From there, I'd probably do a regularly planned email but have a call-out box at the top that reiterates "You're receiving this because you joined our mailing list at some point in the past X years, we're happy to finally start adding regular and free value to your life!" Some nonsense like that should reduce the number of "spam" clicks.

I'd expect a lot of hard and soft bounces and then a lot of attrition from the first send of unsubscribes and spam clicks, then less on each continued send until you have a clean and hot list. Probably less than 50% though, after all this time.

I'm in the same boat with a list and need to get it cleaned up. Please let us know how you proceed and how it goes.