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The Barracuda Firewall Frenzy & How It’s Impacting Pardot Bounce Rates

The Barracuda Firewall Frenzy & How It’s Impacting Pardot Bounce Rates

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This week, you may have noticed lower-than-average email deliverability from your Pardot email sends.

That’s probably because of the Barracuda Email Firewall issue that occurred this week, which incorrectly blocked more IPs than usual from many email vendors — including Pardot.

The issue didn’t impact all IPs, so you may have gotten by unscathed. But if you’ve noticed more email bounces in your Pardot reporting than usual, read on.

Why Barracuda went on an IP blocking spree

On Tuesday morning, the interwebs started humming about a massive spike in blacklisting activity from Barracuda — one of the largest email protection / spam battling vendors on the market.

3rd party email reputation vendors reported as much as an 18,000% increase in the number of IPs added to blacklists overnight. After a Category 3 tweet storm, Barracuda reached out to ESPs for information on legitimate IPs that were blacklisted and began working on the issue.

Yesterday, Barracuda started rolling back the blacklistings on affected IPs, and the issue appears to largely be resolved on Barracuda’s end.

What Pardot admins need to do next

Barracuda’s fix may be done, but the work of Pardot Admins is not.

If your IP was impacted by this, you would have seen a large uptick in hard bounces on emails sent in the last couple of days. Affected accounts would see prospects whose emails hard bounced now marked as “Do Not Email.” No bueno if these are prospects interested in hearing what you have to say.

Luckily, there are solutions to return these prospects and their IPs to their original, emailable state.

A few steps to take:

1) Check out your email send reports

Look at an email send report from June 18th or 19th and check for bounces. You may see results something like the this :scream:….

2) Drill down into individual prospects

You can also check specific prospect records to see if they’re marked “Do Not Email” due to a hard bounce.

3) Make one-off updates if only a few are impacted

If you notice a small number of one off issues, here’s how you fix it…

Under edit this record, select the “Additional Fields” drop down and uncheck the “Do Not Email” checkbox.

This will clear the “Do Not Email” checkbox on record save.

4) Mass update hard bounces with a support ticket or import hack

As described above, if you have a smaller number of impacted emails, it’s probably easiest (though tedious) to manually update each of the bounces and uncheck the Do Not Email box.

If you have a large number of affected prospects (think, more than 50), you can create a dynamic list that finds sends in the last few days and spits out a list of prospects to unblock.

To do this, set your rule criteria to pull anyone listed as Do Not Email who has been contacted in the last week:

To “unbounce” this list, you can either export and put in a support ticket or follow this weird process… (short story below, long story here)

a. Export the list of bounces you need to opt back in

Be sure to include email address and CRM Lead FID and CRM Contact FID.

b. Open your spreadsheet, add a column called “new email,” and add the formula =CONCATENATE([cell where you have email],”.test”)

You’ll end up with something that looks like this:

Rewrite Emails.PNG

c. Import a CSV to Pardot to overwrite the Prospect’s Email field

In Step 1 of the import wizard, choose to match on CRM ID:

Pardot Import with CRM ID.PNG

When you get to the field mapping step — map your “New Email” field to “Email” and check the box to overwrite existing data.


d. Import a CSV to Pardot to FIX the Prospect’s Email field

Let your import do its thing, then spot check a few records.  These should now be mailable — woo hoo!

But now you have to fix the email addresses so that they’re actually correct.  So re-import your same spreadsheet, and this time map “Email” to “Email,” and tell Pardot to overwrite existing data.

Voila!  All set.

Final tip for all Pardot admins — monitor & proceed with caution

Once you clear your Barracuda bounces, you could re-send your emails just to that group. You could probably try this today without incident, but if you’re able, wait until early next week to allow for more time to be sure Barracuda has fully corrected their IP blocking.

We’re here to help unblock your prospects who want to hear from you — so feel free to reach out for assistance getting your clean and unbounced database back to where it was before the Barracuda blunder.

Questions? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Joanna started her marketing career doing content and product marketing for tech startups. She's a marketing automation and lead gen pro who loves working with teams to build creative campaigns that achieve ambitious goals. She joined Sercante in 2019 and is 3x Salesforce certified. Joanna has a master's degree in English literature and loves writing, editing, and nerding out about novels.

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