Repeatedly Opted Out of Emails

I’ve been mysteriously opted out of emails twice now. One last year and again once this year. I can say with confidence that I’ve not marked any Scoutbook emails as spam nor have I opted myself out. I discovered my opt out status after missing important emails from the Pack and then opted myself back in.

This is a big problem for me as a Den Leader.

I understand from reading past posts that there are certain things that can trigger the opt out. Is there anyone on the tech side able to check and audit trail or log and find out why I keep getting opted out so that I can take steps to resolve the problem?

Also tagging @edavignon as author of this authoritative sounding post a month or so ago in case of additional helpful info. :slight_smile:

At least twice IT has run all emails through some spam database and opted out those that were marked as SPAM

@DonovanMcNeil I’m using a gmail account I’ve had since the dawn of time when Gmail was invite only. Doubt I am in any spam lists, though my email is short and lots of people type it in as their own by mistake. Is there a way to find out what the list contains or where it was sourced?


There are 4 ways an individual is opted out of Scoutbook e-mail:

  1. Setting the Opt Out flag in Scoutbook to ON so that the background is red (clicking on a link in an e-mail)
  2. Having an e-mail sent to you bounce for ANY reason.
  3. Not being registered or connected to a registered Scout.
  4. Address listed as not valid by Zero Bounce, the service BSA uses to validate addresses.


Your MID has an address in GA but Scoutbook has an address in CA. Which is correct?

did you click the Unsubscribe link in an email? maybe for an event you were not attending

@edavignon GA is correct. The CA one is old.

I just looked myself up in ZeroBounce and it does look like my email account is flagged by them. I haven’t ever done anything even slightly questionable to get flagged but I’m going to check with them and see if I can get removed from their list.

In the meantime if there is a way to whitelist my email for future cleanups that would be wonderful.


I had SB sync your address from Akela so it is now correct.

The BSA does not currently have a way to whitelist addresses that are on the ZB list. I’ll ask IT if there is something we can do about this. Hopefully the SB mail servers stay off the blacklists so that the ZB list is not needed for existing accounts.

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I’ve just had a conversation with ZB Support and it sounds like my email address was not blacklisted for sending spam. ZB is blocking me because I tend to mark a lot of spam messages as spam when I receive them. I do this because my email account is old as dirt and I get a lot of spam.

So, s it turns out, I am being blocked because I do the right thing and mark spam when I receive it.

My transcript of my chat with ZB support is below. This is very concerning since Scoutbook, by using this service, is auto-opting-out quite a lot of people who should be receiving messages.

ZB seems to be designed for mass marketing emails like the ones national scouting org blasts out routinely. ZB is not a good fit for transactional email such as a Cub Master sending a message to scout parents about a pending camping trip. This distinction is important.

Chat Transcript

ZB: Welcome to ZeroBounce, the #1 trusted email validation and deliverability service!
ZB: Try us and validate 10,000 emails for $65. Have questions? Just ask
ZB: We also can assist with DMARC, Blacklist Monitoring, Activity Data, Finding emails and more.

CC: Hi there! A personal email I’ve had for ages is flagged in your system with a status of “abuse”. Do you have a process for me to be verified and be removed from your database?

ZB: [NAME REDACTED] joined the chat
ZB: Hello and welcome to ZeroBounce support!
ZB: Before we start, may I have your name and your email address associated with your Zerobounce account, please?

CC: I don’t have a ZeroBounce account. Email is [email

ZB: Thank you
ZB: One moment please
ZB: I am afraid there isn’t.
ZB: An address marked as Abuse is not considered Invalid. It is by all intents and purposes a Valid address, and can receive and send emails without issues. By definition, an email marked as Abuse belongs to people who are known to click the ‘abuse’ link on incoming emails, which is an important factor to email marketers as it can affect their sender score/reputation. The fact that it is Valid and can receive and send emails properly does not change that, and unfortunately it is a status we cannot change for this address.
ZB: Our validation services are focused on reducing risks, not just marking emails as “yes” or “no”. It is just a precaution measure we offer to marketers, to let them know this is a perfect email address but it does present a risk, especially if it is not a solicited email

CC: So just to confirm - I am not on the list because I spam people, it’s because I am likely to mark spam as spam?

ZB: Yes
ZB: That is correct

CC: thank you

Thanks for the update. ZB is not used in real time by SB. It has only been used twice when IT was trying to get the SB mail server removed from the blacklist. Because the blacklists will not provide information on why a server was blacklisted, a “shotgun” approach must be used to try to get off the blacklist. At the time, IT decided to opt out any address with a ZB status other than valid. Hopefully this exercise will not be needed again.

@edavignon While you have BSA IT’s attention on this, it’s fairly common for companies to maintain separate opt out lists for marketing emails vs transactions emails. In the event that a cleanup is needed again at some point in the future, splitting the opt out into those two categories would be something worth considering.

Either way - thanks for spending the time on this problem with me!

@edavignon and @DonovanMcNeil Sorry to prolong this thread…

I had a random shower thought on my way into work today about the way that BSA is handling Marketing and Transactional Opt Outs as the same. I think the way they are going about this will actually increase the chances that their servers get blacklisted.

Parents may mark the National Org’s Mass Marketing emails as spam (which hopefully triggers a Feedback Loop to opt them out), but then the parent misses important Pack or Troop emails then opts back in again only to start receiving Mass Marketing email and mark them spam again… All because mass marketing and transactional emails share the same opt-out switch.

This could be a loop that really kills BSA’s email and blacklist reputation and they would be fighting an impossible uphill battle that they will never win.

I’m sure BSA’s IT Department doesn’t need to hear from yet another well meaning parent and I’m making some assumptions about how the opt-out process actually works behind the scenes. Adding this note in case it’s a new perspective.

I have never heard that these are connected with Scoutbook. Are they?


The Scoutbook e-mail opt-out is not connected to anything but Scoutbook. The Scoutbook e-mail server is the only one that has been affected by the blacklists.

Marketing e-mail including Scouting Wire, Aaron on Scouting and others are sent by different servers.


@edavignon Thanks for the additional information! That makes the use of Zero Bounce seem even more strange to me assuming a feedback loop is in use. Scoutbook’s appearance implies it’s old legacy code and may have some limits that a more modern app would not, but again I don’t know how it’s all setup behind the scenes.

Thanks for the additional feedback and I’ll stop armchair quarterbacking now.

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