Omnivore warning from Mailchimp. Account Issue. What to do to get back on track.

Looks like there's a problem? Learn how to solve Mailchimp's Omnivore warning issue with email list cleaning

Learn how to solve Mailchimp's Omnivore warning issue with email list cleaning

Mailchimp is great. It enables tens of thousands of companies to send effective email marketing campaigns. We're big fans. Mailchimp may be annoying you right now for giving you an error message that sounds like a bear may come and get you, but please, hang in there.

This article contains four steps explaining how to go about cleaning your email address list so that you get passed Omnivore when you resubmit it.

As you are trying to load up data to Mailchimp we'll be talking to you as if you are a marketer, or someone who makes decisions about how your company communicates with the outside world. We think we've steered away from being too techy and where terms might need explaining we've provided links.

At the end there is more information about the likely reasons why Omnivore will have said "no" to your data. Just in case you're interested.

All you need to do to satisfy the Omnivore artificial intelligence system is clean up your email address list and resubmit it.

How to please Omnivore? Here's what you should do


Mailchimp's Omnivore System protects Mailchimp from bad data. Image is  a trademark of Mailchimp.


Step 1 - Use an Opt In Email Address List and proper names

Your goal is to have a list of email addresses from people who have double-opted in. (Not sure what double-opt in is?) If you are marketing B2B your email address list will be better for Mailchimp is it includes real names rather than anonymous job title addresses. Omnivore doesn't like some job title emails as they get out of date quickly. If your list contains  admin@ and support@ addresses they will be blocked by the Omnivore.

If you don't collect email addresses through a double opt-in process,  you should take steps to change the way you gather your email address data. This will benefit you in all sorts of ways in the long run, including saving costs, improving returns and improving customer satisfaction.

If you are happy with the way your data has been collected and you simply want to clean it and try uploading it to Mailchimp again you'll need to identify all the bad email addresses in your list and remove them. You'll need some help with this from an email validation company.


Email validation companies take email addresses and check each one to make sure it is deliverable. No reputable email validation company does this by actually sending an email to the people on your list. They simply "ping" an email address behind the scenes to verify it. There are a few email verification companies to choose from and they all provide services online.

But wait. What NOT to do

If your list is small, say, less than a thousand addresses, you might be tempted to save a few dollars and send a quick email through your usual email service provider,( ESP) inserting all the email addresses on your list into a BCC field and asking recipients to respond if they want to stay on your list. You could then use all the bounce backs and undeliverable messages to delete the bad email addresses from your list  - right? WRONG. Don't do this. You run the risk of having your ESP prevent you from sending any more emails.

Download our guide for a masterclass in email verification

Step 2 - Clean your emails using cloud-based software services

Whatever the size of your list, go online and look for "email address validation."  There are companies (like us) who will validate your email addresses and tell you which ones are OK to use and which ones are bad. Some will also tell you which addresses they just aren't sure about. No company should delete any addresses from your list. Use a company that will return your list intact, with added information to show which email addresses are good, bad or unknown.

Of course we'd like you to use our services because we know how good we are. We validate about 10,000,000 emails a day and we're excellent at it.  But you have choices. Generally speaking, with any email validation company you upload your email list, it is validated and returned to you with each address verified so that you can identify and remove the bad ones.

As a guide, every email address should take less than a second to check. The site you use to validate your list should offer a guarantee of at least 98% check rate. Remember, your data is an asset, so be careful who you give it to.

Verifying your email addresses is not generally expensive. As with everything, services vary and prices change. To give you an idea of what to expect, we're talking tens of dollars for tens of thousands of email addresses.

Less than 200 email addresses to check?

If you have just a few emails there are a couple of sites where you can upload them one by one to check. At Email Hippo we let you check up to 100 addresses for free and you can upload them all at once so it's easier than one by one by one.

Step 3 - Clean your list

Your emails will be returned to you validated. You'll need to clean the bad ones out. We can't cover off every system here but if you receive your list back and import it into an Excel or Access file, you simply need to sort the data and remove the addresses that are marked as bad. If you aren't sure, ask for help from your email validation company.

Step - 4 Get back to Mailchimp with your head held high

Once you have cleaned your list, removing all the addresses that aren't OK, you will be able to go back to Mailchimp and upload your revised list. As long as you've had your list validated well, Mailchimp will be happy and Omnivore will leave you alone. Phew.

Read on if you want to understand why Omnivore shut the door on your list

Something that we really like about Mailchimp is that in this world of spam traps, stale lists, block lists and bounces, Mailchimp is holding the fort and trying to keep things clean. Just like us.

You've seen an Omnivore Warning because the email address list you tried to upload simply isn't good enough for Mailchimp to use. Your list probably contains old addresses that are out of date. (Did you know that within a twelve month period, an average of 40% of email addresses will become invalid?) It might contain addresses that have bad syntax, job titles instead of names, or email addresses that have been flagged as spam-traps. (What's a spam trap?)

Mailchimp will also mistrust email lists you just load up without them being part of an opt-in email list set-up.

You might be thinking that Mailchimp is being picky and is out to get you. Not so. Mailchimp is just trying to stay out of trouble so that it can keep on helping people send better emails.

When emails are sent that have high bounce rates, (think of them "bouncing" off in-boxes instead of getting delivered into them) the email service provider responsible for mailing to the bad email address has done a bad thing. If this act of trying to deliver to bad email addresses continues, Mailchimp (or any other email service provider you use) could end up suffering by being blocked.

What does being blocked mean?

To be blocked is to be stopped by the internet police and prevented from sending emails. Imagine if Mailchimp got blocked. It wouldn't be able to send any emails, this would damage the company and also impact other people like you who use Mailchimp for a great service. Mailchimp exists to help people send better emails. It puts its' chimpy reputation on the line every time it sends an email on behalf of someone else. That's why Omnivore is the ultimate gatekeeper, it helps make sure Mailchimp stays in business.

By cleaning your email address list you can help Mailchimp stay clean whilst delivering your email messages.

Want to know more?

If you'd like to know more about cleaning your email address lists please get in touch. We are always happy to share what we know.

Was this useful? Is there anything else on your mind?

If this was useful, please share. If you think we can help with anything else, just ask. Always happy to give Hippo Help.

Useful links and resources:

Email validation explained for marketers

What is double opt-in? Forwarding you to the Direct Marketing Association. Lots of marketing articles to read here.

What is a spam-trap?  Forwarding you to What is My IP Address, information about tech stuff explained.

What is Omnivore? Sending you back to Mailchimp to read a bit more about Omnivore

What do you mean - "ping" an email address? A step by step article for technical people who want more information about how email verification works.

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Written by: Jo

Thursday, 7 September 2017