Lead Validation: The Core Components

How good are your leads? DOTS Lead Validation, Service Objects’ most popular composite service, is designed to measure lead quality – helping our clients reduce fraud, increase conversions and enhance incoming leads, web orders and customer lists.

Lead with Certainty

Lead Validation blends the strengths of our Name, Address, Phone, Email and IP Address validation services to provide authoritative details and return a Certainty score from 0-100. Marketing teams can use the results to assess the quality of incoming leads in real time, sales teams can prioritize their leads based on quality, and companies, in general, can make sure their CRM and other customer databases are kept clean, accurate and as up-to-date as possible.

Lead Validation verifies leads in real time for the United States and Canada. Our DOTS Lead Validation – International service works in a very similar fashion, adding the capabilities of validating global leads to the mix while including the strength of our core services for validating leads from the US and Canada. In this blog, we are focused on the components of Lead Validation and how it helps our clients.

Our Lead Validation service contains six primary components:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Email
  • IP address
  • Business

Each of these components are discussed in greater detail below.

Name component

The name component is built on the strength of our DOTS Name Validation service to validate names, verify accuracy, parse out name components, return gender information and more. It gives you insight into the name, looking for similar names and nicknames to improve matching, and flags questionable things like names that seem to contain vulgar words, match well-known celebrities, or appear to be fabricated garbage names such as random keystrokes. Name Validation also has access to names from all over the world, giving it the ability to handle leads with names that are less common in North America.

Lead Validation compares the name to other data points such as the phone number, email and address to determine how the name connects to the rest of the lead. Red flags found, such as those listed above, factor into the scoring,  returning a quality score that indicates the reliability of the given name, both by itself and as part of the lead. Unusual or unknown names are not necessarily failed. Generally, names can be considered good, unknown or bad. However, to get the “bad” designation, we expect to see that the name fails in at least one of the red flag categories mentioned above.

Address component

The address component uses DOTS Address Validation – US, DOTS Address Validation Canada, and DOTS Address Detective to correct, standardize and validate addresses in the United States and Canada, as follows.

  • Address Validation – US uses our top of the line address validation engine and the USPS dataset to validate the given address, identify it as a business or residence, and determine if it is a mailable location, among other things.
  • Address Validation – Canada parses, cleanses and validates Canadian addresses in English and French.
  • Address Detective uses tools to deal with extremely messy addresses, from address information all appearing on a single line to jumbled inputs such as the street address being assigned to the city or the state being assigned to the postal code. Address Detective also has access to addresses not available in the USPS dataset to help with more challenging address inputs.

Lead Validation uses the results of these services, along with comparisons against other results like phone number and IP address, to build a component score that reflects both the quality of the component and its relation to the lead as a whole. Other Lead Validation specific tests look for things like hotels, prisons, intentionally bad data, post office boxes, CMRAs and more that also influence the component score.

Phone component

The phone component uses primarily DOTS Geophone Plus to gather contact, provider and location data for up to two phone numbers. Other important pieces of information are also collected. Is the number a landline, wireless or VOIP line? Is it a residential or business number? Does it appear to be a Google or Skype number? Is it connected? Can we detect patterns in the number that might signify that it is just randomly typed in numbers?

Lead Validation compares the resulting contact and location data back to the initially given name, business name, address, email, and IP address inputs to determine any connections that can be made between data points. These influence the component score along with the basic question: does it appear to be a good number?

The additional data points collected from the phone number also provides additional insights. Did a business lead provide a residential phone number, a personal email address or was a wireless line used? Dozens of tests create a component score that reflects the quality of the given phone number and its connection to the lead. If two numbers are given, the analysis is done on both numbers and the better fit for the lead is chosen as the primary one for comparison purposes.

Email component

The email component uses our DOTS Email Validation service to perform a step by step process that attempts email correction to fix common mistakes, syntax checks to make sure the address is both syntactically valid for email and that it conforms to the rules of the given domain, a DNS check to make sure the domain exists, an SMTP check to find the presence of a valid mail server and other various integrity checks. It tests that an email server is operational and accepting mail as well as if a specific mailbox is valid. Other data points collected include; if the email seems to be bogus, vulgar, garbage, disposable, an alias, a spam trap, is associated with a bot, is a free or business email and more.

Lead Validation compares email to other data points like name, business name, IP address and phone number to see if they can be connected. That combined with whether the mailbox is good, seems to be connected to the user and considerations for any red flags found while testing the email, lead to a component score that considers how valid the email address is and its likelihood of being a part of the lead.

IP address component

The IP address component uses primarily the DOTS IP Validation service to identify if the IP address is a good one, its country of origin or more accurate location, whether or not it belongs to a known proxy and if it appears to belong to a mobile device. The service can identify harmful proxies to determine if the lead is attempting to hide their location or check if the IP address has been linked to malicious behavior. Other pieces of information are returned as well to identify the internet service provider (ISP) or link the IP address to a business.

Lead Validation will compare IP address to address, phone, email and business to determine if any positive or negative connections can be made. Lead Validation will assess any high-risk countries along with the consideration of malicious and proxy IP addresses to determine the quality of the IP component and how it fits in with the lead.

Business component

The business component is unique from the other components. While the other components work for all leads, the business component is designed to work only with leads designated as business leads. This designation is controlled by TestType (i.e. TestType=business or TestType=businessonly) as users can decide if their leads are business, residential or perhaps a bit of both. This component also does not rely on existing services to gather core data.

Lead Validation performs its own internal tests and checks against our business datasets. Data points found can be compared to business names, addresses, IP addresses, phone numbers, and emails to look for connections. Other checks look for red flags in the given business name such as vulgarities and potential bogus submissions. All of these checks combine to create a business component score that reflects its validity and how it fits in with the lead as a whole.

Conclusion

Each of the components described above return their own 0-100 certainty score and a quality recommendation (i.e. Review, Review or Reject). Generally, high scores indicate the component score itself is good, while a low one indicates that it is bad. However, each component also has scoring based on cross-comparisons built in as well. For example, a given phone number might be perfectly valid but during the cross-examination phase, we find that it seems to belong to a person not indicated by the input lead. This would likely lead the phone component to a poor score because while the number is technically a “good” number, it is not good for the lead.

Hopefully, this gives you a strong overview of our Lead Validation service, as well as provide some insight into how the components are tested and how they relate to the overall lead. If you would like to learn more about Lead Validation, please visit our product page and developer guide.

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