Lead Validation, Part 3: International Lead Validation
In the first blog, we dove into the core components or building blocks of the Lead Validation service: Name, Address, Phone, Email, IP Address and Business. We described how each component works, the types of tests we perform, and how these tests fit into the overall score returned, when we verify a lead through our service.
In our second blog, we delved a bit deeper into important features and capabilities of Lead Validation outside of the core components. These include Test Types, customizations, service messaging and other important outputs. These two blogs serve as a solid overview of the Lead Validation service as a whole.
In this blog, we will explore the closely related service called Lead Validation – International, which, as its name suggests, verifies global leads. Lead Validation – International corrects, validates and cross-validates name, address, phone, email, IP and business data from around the world, while providing a quality score for each component and an overall quality score for the lead.
The domestic and international lead validation services are almost interchangeable and share the same basic building blocks. All six components; name, address, phone, email, IP and business data, are analyzed, and most of the same basic tests are run on them. Both of these products do in fact run off of the same validation engine, and if the lead is either from the United States or Canada, the results should be indistinguishable.
In the same vein, the input and output structures for these two products are almost identical, making mapping from one service to the next extremely easy. All of the same output fields can be expected. Even when there are differences due to different tests being run for a different country, the results are mapped back to the same easy-to-use result. Keep in mind that Lead Validation – International is a different service, and therefore a different license key is needed, but other than that a generated “GET” URL is identical.
All of this makes upgrading from Lead Validation to Lead Validation International a breeze. Service Objects is happy to help you move your license key, and best of all, there is no price difference between the two services. The same set of Test Types can also be used on both services, and work in similar expected ways: since US and Canadian leads are treated the same way in both services, it makes sense for the Test Types to be the same. There are slight differences for other countries, but those are seamlessly rolled into the same balancing and scoring that the US and Canada get.
Likewise, custom test types and customizations work the same way between these two products. Customizations are easy, since they would primarily be built into the shared engine doing the work. We want improvements made in one service to help the other! Likewise, the messaging system is also shared and can be seen in the Notes in our Developer Guide. As before, all of the same tests are performed, so it makes sense that both services would also return the same set of notes. There are a few added notes for the international service, but these are fairly minor.
While these two services are very similar in many ways, there are some obvious and key differences.
The most obvious is that Lead Validation is designed to validate leads only in the US and Canada, while Lead Validation International can handle all leads globally (including handling US and Canadian leads on a level equal to the domestic service). It might seem like a no brainer to just choose Lead Validation International, however, a key difference lies in how those services treat other countries.
For example, for clients who only intend to collect or process leads from the US, it is often easier for them if we just fail a lead outright because it comes from an unsupported country. In the case of Lead Validation International, we are validating the lead as is, so if it is a good quality lead from Japan, we are going to mark it as good regardless of whether it is a good lead for the user. We do identify the country represented, so programmers can either not call the service based on country or choose to exclude the results post-validation, if it turns out to be one they do not want.
Another difference in validating global leads versus US or Canadian leads is in the quality of data. Many of the core components such as name, email and IP address are fully functional on a global level and perform all of the tests successfully. Others such as address, however, use different services for handling different countries.
We are very strong in the US and Canada, with a full suite of powerful validation features. However, while we are also strong internationally, there are specific countries and/or areas that the data just doesn’t exist for. For example, India does not have postal data for large portions of the country, making it nearly impossible to do provide accurate validation. The service uses what it is available to make the best guess possible, factoring in what we do know about the location in question and how it matches with other components provided. Likewise, with phones, contact data in the US and Canada is robust, but not always the case in other parts of the world. As with addresses, we have to be creative with matching location, other data points and looking for red flags with the number to give an indication of the likelihood that it is good.
European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
This is not so much of a difference between Lead Validation and Lead Validation – International as it is a necessity of the International service. For the domestic service, Lead Validation will fail any lead that belongs to a country that falls under the GDPR. This makes sense since Lead Validation users will not be interested in correcting and validating European leads.
Lead Validation – International tracks the location of the lead as a whole as well as the individual components. Any lead or data element found to be connected to a country that falls under the GDPR will be flagged with a note “IsInGDPR”.
That said, GDPR is one of many privacy regulations that are to be enacted. Other countries are currently working on their own privacy compliance laws and even individual states like California have plans to create their own privacy regulations. In any of these cases, we will do our best to keep pace with them and update both Lead Validation and Lead Validation International to track and flag new privacy acts as they emerge.
Hopefully, this blog gives some insight into the Lead Validation – International service and how it fits into the overall Lead Validation framework. Taken together, all three blogs in this series provide a good overview of the use and value of both services. If you would like to learn more about Lead Validation – International, contact our friendly technical support team anytime!