[Photo courtesy of XWL on Flickr]

Spam filters can be tricky things. You do your best to avoid using words that will trip them and then your emails go on and trip them anyway.

Words like “income,” “urgent,” “congratulations,” “discount” and “make money,” along with “manhood” and  “size” (for those pills that claim to decrease the size of your manhood … or something like that) are pretty obvious spam filter fodder. But, there are other words that are far less obvious than those, words that email marketers use a lot, and that’s concerning for said marketers.

As compiled by MailJet, other words that tend to trip spam filters can be company names like FedEx, PayPal, Visa and MastercCard. Phrases like “online degree” can also land emails in spam folders.

If you’re selling to marketers, it gets even trickier, because phrases like “increase sales,” “direct mail,” “lead generation,” “search engine optimization,” “internet marketing” and the industry standby “marketing solutions” can have the spam alert ringing in people’s inboxes.

MailJet’s Vice-President of North America, Anthony Marnell, had this to say about the company’s somewhat surprising research findings:

“In sending over 12 billion emails…we’ve seen good senders land in the spam folder when accidentally using words heavily used by spammers. We compiled a sample of words from these findings to help senders improve deliverability when crafting email copy.”

MailJet’s full list of words to avoid, lest you set the spam alarm bells off:


  1. As seen on
  2. Order
  3. Order status
  4. Buy
  5. Clearance
  6. Buy direct
  7. Free gift card
  8. Discount


  1. Meet singles
  2. Hot men
  3. Hot women
  4. Easy date
  5. Score tonight
  6. Dear Friend
  7. Beloved
  8. Account security
  9. Congratulations
  10. Urgent
  11. Desperate
  12. Please help

Get Rich Quick

  1. Additional income
  2. Double your income
  3. Earn “x” per week
  4. Home based
  5. Income from home
  6. Urgent proposal
  7. Opportunity
  8. Be your own boss
  9. Make $
  10. Online biz opportunity
  11. Potential earnings
  12. Earn extra cash
  13. Extra income
  14. Home based business
  15. Make money
  16. Online degree
  17. University diplomas
  18. Work from home
  19. You’re a winner

Financial Schemes

  1. Invoice
  2. PayPal
  3. Visa
  4. MasterCard
  5. FedEx
  6. $$$
  7. Beneficiary
  8. Cash
  9. One hundred percent free
  10. Claims
  11. Quote
  12. Save big money
  13. Unsecured debt
  14. Cash bonus
  15. Collect your prize
  16. Refinance
  17. Investment
  18. Million dollars
  19. Mortgage
  20. Check or money order
  21. Stock alert
  22. Social Security Number


  1. Lead generation
  2. Search Engine Optimization
  3. Web traffic
  4. Email harvest
  5. Increase sales
  6. Internet marketing
  7. Marketing solutions
  8. Month trial offer
  9. Increase traffic
  10. Direct marketing
  11. Sign-up free today


  1. Cures baldness
  2. Viagra
  3. Lose weight
  4. Online pharmacy
  5. Stop snoring
  6. Removes wrinkles
  7. Reverses aging
  8. Perform in bed

Many of these are obvious and real marketers wouldn’t use them in a million years, but some of these words and phrases may be exactly what it is that you’re trying to advertise. Spam filters can be a bit like mine fields, but if you tread carefully, you should be able to avoid tripping the dreaded spam alarm.

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About Rob Swystun

A former journalist, Rob has been writing professionally since 2006 and now focuses on copy writing, website content, articles, blogging, ghost writing, editing, proofreading and public relations. Currently an Athabasca University student studying for a BA in Communications, Rob holds a Journalism Diploma from Langara College in Vancouver.




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