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Thoughts on Data Quality and Contact Validation

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Posts Tagged ‘Conservation’

Celebrating Earth Day

April 22 marks the annual celebration of Earth Day, a day of environmental awareness that is now approaching its first half century. Founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 as a nationwide teach-in on the environment, Earth Day is now the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by over a billion people.

Earth Day has a special meaning here in our hometown of Santa Barbara, California. It was a massive 1969 oil spill off our coast that first led Senator Nelson to propose a day of public awareness and political action. Both were sorely needed back then: the first Earth Day came at a time when there was no US Environmental Protection Agency, environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council were in their infancy, and pollution was simply a fact of life for many people.

If you visit our hometown today, you will find the spirit of Earth Day to be alive and well. We love our beaches and the outdoors, this area boasts over 50 local environmental organizations, and our city recently approved a master plan for bicycles that recognizes the importance of clean human-powered transportation. And in general, the level of environmental and conservation awareness here is part of the culture of this beautiful place.

Earth Day

It also has a special meaning for us here at Service Objects. Our founder and CEO Geoff Grow, an ardent environmentalist, started this company from an explicit desire to apply mathematics to the problem of wasted resources from incorrect and duplicate mailings. Today, our concern for the environment is codified as one of the company’s four core values, which reads as follows:

“Corporate Conservation – In addition to preventing about 300 tons of paper from landing in landfills each month with our Address Validation APIs, we practice what we preach: we recycle, use highly efficient virtualized servers, and use sustainable office supplies. Every employee is conscious of how they can positively impact our conservation efforts.”

Today, as Earth Day nears the end of its fifth decade, and Service Objects marks over 15 years in business, our own contributions to the environment have continued to grow. Here are just a few of the numbers behind the impact of our data validation products – so far, we have saved:

  • Over 85 thousand tons of paper
  • A million and a half trees
  • 32 million gallons of oil
  • More than half a billion gallons of water
  • Close to 50 million pounds of air pollution
  • A quarter of a million cubic yards of landfill space
  • 346 million KWH of energy

All of this is an outgrowth of more than two and a half billion transactions validated – and counting! (If you are ever curious about how we are doing in the future, just check the main page of our website: there is a real-time clock with the latest totals there.) And we are always looking for ways to continue making lives better though data validation tools.

We hope you, too, will join us in celebrating Earth Day. And the best way possible to do this is to examine the impact of your own business and community on the environment, and take positive steps to make the earth a better place. Even small changes can create a big impact over time. The original Earth Day was the catalyst for a movement that has made a real difference in our world – and by working together, there is much more good to come!

Data Quality and the Environment

Service Objects recently celebrated our 15th year in business and it made me reflect on something that is important to me and is an underappreciated reason for improving your data quality: protecting our environmental resources.

Lots of companies talk about protecting the environment. Hotels ask you to re-use your towels, workplaces encourage you to recycle, and restaurants sometimes forego that automatic glass of ice water on your table. Good for them – it saves them all money as well as conserving resources. But our perspective is somewhat different because environmental conservation is one of the key reasons I founded this company in 2001.

Ever since I was a young man, I’ve been an avid outdoorsman who has felt a very strong connection to the natural world we inhabit. So one of the things I couldn’t help but notice was how much mislabeled direct mail showed up at my doorstep, as well as those of my friends. Some companies might even send three copies of the same thick catalog, addressed to different spellings of my name. Add in misdirected mail that never arrives, poor demographic targeting, and constant changes in workplace addresses, and you have a huge – and preventable – waste of resources.

As a mathematician and an engineer by training, thinking through the mathematics of how better data quality could affect this massive waste stream was a large part of the genesis of Service Objects. We discovered that the numbers involved were truly staggering. And we discovered that simple, automated filters driven by sophisticated database technology could make a huge difference in these figures.

Since then, our products have made a real difference. Over the past 15 years, our commitment to reducing waste associated with bad address data has saved over 1.2 million trees, and prevented over 150 million pounds of paper from winding up in landfills. We have also saved 520 million gallons of water and prevented 44 million pounds of air pollution. More important, these savings are driven by a growing enterprise that has now validated over two and a half billion contact records for over 2400 customers.

As a company, our concern for the environment goes far beyond the services we provide to customers. We encourage our staff to ride their bicycle to work instead of driving their car, use sustainable office supplies, and keep a sharp eye on our own resource usage. Corporate conservation is one of the four core values of our company’s culture. The result is a team I am proud of, with a shared vision and sense of purpose.

There are many great business reasons for using Service Objects’ data quality products, including cost savings, fraud prevention, more effective marketing, and improved customer loyalty. But to me personally, using a smaller footprint of the Earth’s resources is the core that underlies all of these benefits. It is a true example of doing well by doing good.

For any business – particularly those who do direct marketing, distribute print media or ship tangible products, among many others – improving your data quality with us can make a real difference to both your bottom line AND our planet’s resources. We are proud to play a part in protecting the environment, and look forward to serving you for the next 15 years and beyond.

Service Objects is the industry leader in real-time contact validation services.

Service Objects has verified over 2.8 billion contact records for clients from various industries including retail, technology, government, communications, leisure, utilities, and finance. Since 2001, thousands of businesses and developers have used our APIs to validate transactions to reduce fraud, increase conversions, and enhance incoming leads, Web orders, and customer lists. READ MORE