Email address verification mainly focuses on verifying if the email address exists or not and if it does not, why. There are dozens of email list hygiene companies to choose from and most say they do verification, but do they? A lot of services who offer to scrub email list free are actually validation companies that do not do verification. They simply cannot remove bounces. The reason is, they offer a free service for it, is because their cost to match and remove emails versus doing an SMTP handshake is way less so they can make those kinds of offers. This article focuses on email address verification and how to spot companies that simply cannot do it so you don’t waste your money. (more…)
We have explained the differences between validation and email list verification in previous posts. In short, validation does not remove bounces nor does it do an smtp handshake. Many validation companies do, however, mx checking where it checks certain steps if the mail exchange is setup properly. But they do not do smtp handshakes. In order to understand verification and to choose the right company, it’s important to look for clear signs of authentication as most verification companies miss many steps in order to save money.
Social networks (the wrong way)
Ask your email list cleaning company how they do verification. Get them to be specific. Ask them if they do email list cleaning free of social networks. For a while, email marketers requested that emails be patched against social media email accounts. For a year or two, this verification method worked well because emails that were used for social networking were authentic, however, bots and fake profiles started filling up Facebook and Twitter therefore, you cannot use these as the best method for verification.
Appending (the wrong way)
Ask the email list Verification Company if they append date/time stamp emails that were verified during a special date appointment. In example, to save money, many verification companies will save the date and time stamp of when the email was verified. They then will not mail to that specific email until a set date is specified to save money. This idea works in theory but is not real time verification as some set dates of up to 30 – 90 days. Waiting this long to verify if an email is verified is not going to be accurate.
Scoring (the wrong way)
Like appending and social networking above combined, many verification companies will offer a technical term of scoring as their reporting feature. They offer the email on a scale of 0 – 10 (0 as good and 10 as bad). Most, if not all, email verification companies started as email marketers. Scoring works by tracking the date/time and when the email was sent last. It also connects to social networks. In example, if the email wasn’t sent for 90 days and does not have a social network profile, it can be scored as a 10.
SMTP Connection (the right way)
In order for an email to be verified correctly, without skipping steps, it has to be delivered. ISP’s have certain thresholds to allow a number of emails in from an IP range. Yahoo may allow only 3,000 from an IP per 24 hours or gmail 300. Verification companies must be deliverability experts by understand all ISP threhsholds.
Real time (the right away)
With an smtp connection comes real time reporting. In order to get the maximum bang for your buck, the email must be checked in real time and that means as the list is scrubbing, the system is sending an smtp handshake. Verify550 does this 3 times for each email in real time and picks the best two out of three in their reports.
Email verification services are not crucial if your list is familiar with you. In order for you to email market without any incident, everyone in your list must know the domain name they signed up with. Email marketers must never let their lists sit more than 30 days without sending to them. According to an article in Time magazine, “people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds”. If you disconnect yourself from your audience for more than a few weeks, odds are they may not remember signing up to your service.
Many things happen during a company’s lifespan. Ups and downs, neglect and slothfulness. We may sometimes ignore our email list for up to 4 weeks. This is a no no. Why, you ask? Well, there are several things. Your list is like a living entity. You know the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind?” This is means you soon forget things or people that are no longer present or visible. An email list needs weekly visitations if not bi-weekly. Neglect can cause complaints which lead to traps.
We have witnessed hundreds of email marketers with double optin lists that were neglected for a month or so and immediately they were kicked off their ESP. What’s worse is their domains were listed on blacklists. Temporary, yes, but the damage has been done. Not all blacklists do the same thing. Some act as if you committed a crime and will keep your domain on their block list forever sending back false positives.
This is why email verification services are a must for neglected optin lists. Complainers can lead to traps. Bounces can lead to traps. And expired domains can lead to traps. That is why every email marketer must have an email list cleaner free from the traps, complainers and bounces. Email address verification cleans your list back up to where it was before you abandoned your list for whatever period of time or for whatever reason.
An email verification tool is an application hosted on your desktop whether mac, windows, free bsd or linux (operating system). Basically an application or software executable that you have full control over with features, bells and whistles. Some are plain and some are not. Most will purchase a desktop application so they can have full control over cleaning their own lists. This is fine and works well, however, you are only cleaning against your own suppressions. There are some desktop cleaning applications that offer suppressions and update them on a daily basis. The advantages of a desktop email list hygiene tool is that you are not sharing your data with anyone. Or are you?
A desktop email list cleaning application can be misleading. The program itself can easily upload your data to their servers without you even knowing it. Most executables are not easily openable. You have to be a programmer to take it apart to see if they do not touch your data. If the email cleaning desktop application does not have an agreement with you, they can do anything they wish. Just because they package the deal as safe, does not mean it is. Speed on a desktop application is a factor. Verify550 uses 12 quad core servers with 128 gb of ram. A desktop application is at the mercy of your tower. Use wisdom and discernment when choosing a desktop email cleaning system.
Online email validation services or verification (or both) has advantages over desktop apps. Speed, accuracy and proper agreements in place can make a world of difference. Also, desktop features cannot do API’s and most of our clients use API’s for online forms, ESP’s and for batched data. A typical user of a desktop application would be a small company with small lists. Anyone with large lists, managing several databases, may not think the desktop application for scrubbing emails is efficient. The cost may be cheaper, but the benefits are not there for professional mailers. Again, email list validation services works well with small lists on desktops and better for large lists online.
So in conclusion, small lists are perfect for a desktop email cleaning service. If you have large lists, care about your security, want speed and no risks, then an online service is the better way to go. Everyone wants to perfect email verification tool but they are not going to get it without doing their homework. We have witnessed so many horror stories of companies that steal data and we do everything we can to do things in real time thus deleting the data when complete to keep our clients’ data safe. Verify550 is an online email verification tool that does validation as well which is fast, secure, safe and well worth the investment.
An email validation service costs less than an email verification service. The reason is the algorithm does mostly matching and removing emails against large suppressions lists. This costs bandwidth and time. Many validation companies also check the mx records which doesn’t harm the IP or domain when requested. When a company offers free email validation, they probably will keep your list and resell it but the cost on their end is minute compared to verification. And here’s why:
Free is never free. When a company offers to scrub your list for free, it’s obvious they do not value their own property. What value can you place on doing something and get nothing in return? That does not work in the business world. Even a good validation company with excellent suppression lists has worth and value. Verification has to have some intelligence behind it. It costs more to manufacturer intelligence in an algorithm.
SMTP handshakes, social network comparing, appending to emails that were delivered to recently, all for the sake of verification, can cost a lot of money in domains, IPs, bandwidth and resources. To simply offer this kind of service free versus validation which is cheaper is ridiculous. The odds and chances are high that when you upload your list, it is unsecured and everything you worked hard for will be traded or sold.
Another warning is look at the website itself. Does it look like the free verification service website is secure? Does it have https? Does it look like they spent a fortune on it? Is there any contact information? Phone number? Address? Do they expose their names? Do they have a valid whois?
So beware of free email verification. Simply put, there is no such thing. You could not even make enough money on google ads to justify the cost of verification so all evidence points to fraud. Remember, your database is your baby. Your livelihood. Paying to have it scrubbed is a better investment than having it done for free. Again, free is never free.