Posts Tagged ‘contact data validation’

Best Practices for Phone Exchange 2 International

Having extra information about phone numbers can be invaluable to a business for several reasons. It can help fight fraud, support TCPA compliance and give an extra boost in insight about how and when to best contact the customers using their provided phone number.

Our DOTS Phone Exchange 2 is designed to validate phone numbers with the kind of detailed results that gives businesses an edge over their competition. The beauty of our Phone Exchange 2 product is that it can validate both domestic and international phone numbers, so no matter where your phone data is coming from, we help provide the intelligence your business needs to get ahead and communicate more effectively with clients.

Which Operation to Use

We have two separate operations in our Phone Exchange 2 service. We recommend using them both to get the most insight into your data. Here is a brief description of each of them:

GetExchangeInfo – Takes a 10-digit phone number and returns the line type, carrier information, ported information and more. This operation can validate US and Canadian phone numbers.

GetInternationalExchangeInfo – Takes a phone number and the country associated with the phone number as input, and returns carrier information, line type, a flag that indicates its validity and more. This operation can validate any phone number from around the world.

If you have US or Canadian phone numbers we recommend using the GetExchangeInfo operation, as that can provide ported information for the phone number as well as more detailed output data compared with the GetInternationalExchangeInfo operation.

As with most of our APIs, these operations can be processed in one-time batches, one-off lookups, automated batches and real time API integration.

Key Output Fields

There are many output fields in our Phone Exchange 2 service. First let’s look at some outputs that overlap between the two operations, that our clients have found particularly valuable:

Name – Provides the name of the phone carrier that this phone number is associated with.

Location, Latitude/Longitude – This is the location where the phone number was registered; it is important to note that this is not the location of the phone or the phone contact number.

Line Type – The line type for a phone number, which can be valuable for several reasons. Many organizations have different protocols that will be followed if a number is wireless versus landline. Landline numbers can also give a higher probability that phone number is in the location provided, while wireless numbers can receive text messages.

Time Zone – This is another field that can assist in determining an appropriate time to contact clients by their phone number. This value is based off of the carrier location.

Finally, here are two popular outputs that are specific to the GetInternationalExchaneInfo operation:

IsValid – A simple true/false flag that indicates whether the phone number is valid.

IsValidForRegion – A true/false flag that indicates whether the phone number is valid for the given country in the input. I.E. if a US number is given to the service with the Country value of “Germany” the service will return false for this field.

Using Countries and Calling Codes

GetInternationalExchangeInfo does quite a lot to determine which country the given phone number is associated with – which is good news! Dealing with calling codes, parsing phone number lengths, and determining the best fit country for a phone number can be tough work. We’ve done all of the leg work and put a lot of thought into how our international operation determines the validity of the phone number.

The two important pieces to parsing an international phone number are the country code and the country provided in the input. This service uses both of these to parse and determine the best country.

The service will look for a country code at the beginning of a phone number and will give precedence to numbers in front of a “+” sign, which is a standard way of writing an international phone number. If no country code is given it will use the given country information to determine the validity of the phone number.
If both a country code is given with a “+” sign and a country is given in the input, the service will generally use the country code as the country identifier.

Conclusion

As with any of our services, we are always happy to make recommendations about your specific use case. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our integration specialists here at Service Objects, and we will be glad to make recommendations on how to get the most out of DOTS Phone Exchange 2 or any other service.

It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Ping

How do you know if an email address is valid? There is more than one way to find out. In this article, we will show you how something we do – known as “ping testing” – makes these results much more accurate. More important, we will show you how to get the best out of these capabilities.

Email Verification 101

There are fundamentally three ways to make sure an email address is legitimate:

  • Examine the email address itself for things like proper syntax, obvious misspellings (like “gmial” instead of “gmail”), and other problems (like missing “@” symbol).
  • Compare this email address against lists of existing emails – both to see if it is a legitimate address, and also to flag known problem addresses such as spam traps, honeypots, known spammers, blacklisted addresses, and more.
  • Physically test (or “ping”) the email server, domain and address to make sure the address is valid.

All three of these checks are important in their own way. Basic address testing quickly weeds out addresses that are clearly invalid, with fast response times. List testing is also quick but often isn’t enough, because of addresses that haven’t made the list yet. (According to a report from the Radicati Group, new email addresses get created at the rate of a quarter billion per year!)

Then there is “ping” testing, which involves checking the actual email server and address for a response, which is the gold standard for determining the validity of an address. It can also be important for applications such as fraud prevention, to guard against perpetrators who create email addresses in near-real time. There are three main types of ping checks:

  • Testing an email server (STMP) to see if it is real and available.
  • Testing to see if an email address is allowing emails at the domain (DNS) level.
  • Testing to see if the address can reach an inbox.

Of course, Service Objects’ DOTS Email Validation service performs all of these checks. Now, let’s see how you can use them efficiently for your own email validation.

Here’s where you come in

Service Objects’ Email Validation capabilities give you a great deal of control over both performance levels and output tests. Here are some tips to get the most out of your email validation, taken from our developer guide:

To ping or not to ping: You can validate emails quickly – at the expense of possibly missing ping testing – by using our ValidateEmailFast operation. If a “ping” takes too long, it will not be considered in the check (and STMP data about this address will not be returned). However, be aware that this is a less accurate check.

Putting a lid on pinging. The amount of time a “ping” takes may vary widely, from nearly instant response to lengthy delays. If you are using email validation in a real-time application, or are concerned about response speed, the Timeout input variable is your friend. This value specifies how long the service is allowed to wait for all real-time network level checks to finish, such as STMP and DNS testing. Time is entered in milliseconds, with a minimum value of 200ms.

Email servers can be slow to respond to ping checks, and one of the most important aspects is how long you are willing to wait for a response. If you only wait a second or two – and you fail emails that do not respond in that time – you will get a lot of false negatives. If you can wait and/or update the results based on latent responses, you will get a more accurate verification.  If real-time responses are a priority, we recommend setting up a two-step verification process, to help mitigate slow email server response times and ensure a quality user experience.

Two-step validation. The initial step will validate the email address using real-time syntax and ping testing. Syntax issues and fast-responding email servers will provide accurate feedback, so issues can be flagged in real-time.  This allows for real-time notification of any issues, enabling user corrections before being captured by your application or CRM. The amount of time you are willing to wait should be considered in your user’s experience.

The second step is to accommodate slow-responding email servers that ‘timed-out’ in the initial step.  When capturing the email address to your database, include a Yes/No flag of whether the email validation timed-out before completing validation.  For those email addresses that timed-out, you can validate them again but with a much longer Timeout setting, allowing slower email servers time to respond and ensuring the email address has been fully validated.

Pinging isn’t perfect. Sometimes a non-existent address will still “ping” properly. Why? Because some email domains are “catch-all” domains, meaning that their servers will accept mail to any address within that domain. You can test for this using the IsCatchAllDomain output variable that comes back with your results.

Finally, remember that ping testing is not the only factor in effective email validation. Our developer guide has a wealth of tools you can use as part of your specific use case, ranging from optional email address correction to warning codes for bogus, vulgar or disposable email addresses. Check it out, or better yet, “ping” our friendly support team for expert advice. We’re always glad to help!

Bad Email Addresses: A Rogue’s Gallery

Once upon a time, many businesses simply lived with bad email addresses as an inevitable cost of doing business. Today this has changed dramatically, in the face of increasing costs and regulatory consequences. According to figures from Adestra’s 2017 Email Marketing Industry Census, nearly 80% of firms proactively cleanse their email marketing lists.

What can go wrong with email contact addresses? Plenty. And what you don’t know can really hurt you. Here are just a few examples of bad email addresses and their consequences:

THE FAKER: DONALDDUCK@NOWHERE.COM

You build a list of leads by offering people something of value in return for their email address. Unfortunately some people want the goodie, but have no intention of ever hearing from you again. So they make up a bogus address that goes nowhere, wasting your time and resources.

THE FAT-FINGERED: MYADDRESS@GMIAL.COM

Someone gives you their email address with the best of intentions, but types it in wrong—for example, misspelling “gmail.com” as “gmial.com”. So your future correspondence to them never arrives, with consequences ranging from lost market opportunities to customer dissatisfaction.

THE TRAP: HONEYPOT@AHA-GOTCHA.COM

Here you have rented a list of email addresses, or worse, taken them from publicly available sources. But some of these addresses are “honeypots”: fake addresses designed to trap spammers. Send an email to it, and you will get blacklisted by that entire domain—which could be a real problem if this domain is a major corporation or source of leads and customers.

THE FRAUDSTER: ZZZ1234@MISTERFRAUD.NET

Someone places an expensive order with you, using a stolen credit card—and a bogus email address that never existed and cannot be traced. Better to flag these fraudulent orders ahead of time, instead of after the horse has left the barn—or in this case, the shipping dock.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. (By the way, none of these sample email addresses are real.) But these are all good examples of cases where email validation can save your time, money and reputation.

What is Email Validation?

Think of it as a filter that weeds out the good email addresses from the bad ones. In reality, a good email validation service will examine multiple dimensions of what can go wrong with an email address—and in some cases, can even fix erroneous addresses to make them usable. But at its root, email validation takes your email contact data and makes it clean, safe and usable.

Here are some of the specific things that Email Validation can do for your business:

MAKE SURE THE FORMAT IS CORRECT

Our standard service uses server-side scripting on Web forms to check if email address data includes a name, the “@” symbol, and a valid top-level domain (TLD).

SEE IF THE ADDRESS WORKS

Instead of relying on stagnant, aggregated lists for verification, our real-time email validation checks the authenticity of email contact data instantaneously through kinetic and responsive two-way communication with email service providers (ESPs).

PERFORM ADVANCED VALIDATION CHECKS

Advanced checks can examine things such as:
• Checking if valid data exists on both sides of the “@” symbol, in both the username and the domain name
• Verifying that the domain in the email address exists and has a valid MX record associated with it
• Testing the mailbox to determine if it actually receives mail
• Detecting and flagging bogus, vulgar or malicious addresses that may be cluttering up your list

CORRECT FIXABLE ERRORS

The email hygiene component of this service identifies and corrects invalid emails with fixable errors such as typos, extraneous text, common domain misspellings and syntax problems.

Real-time email validation improves lead quality, saves time processing and pursuing leads, and protects your company from blacklists and regulatory traps. Download our free whitepaper, The ROI of Real-Time Email Validation, to learn more about bad email contact data and how email validation can help you correct inaccurate contact data and reject bogus email addresses.

DOTS Name Validation 2: What Do The Scores Mean?

What’s in a name? Hopefully, valuable contact data for your business. But some names clearly contain red flags for bad data – and that’s where we come in.

Name Validation is a very effective tool for weeding out garbage, bogus and unreliable names. This service can be used in real-time while creating leads, or used to process a large list of names at once. It is great tool for cutting down on the amount of unreliable data that can be entered into a system.

This article will walk you through the different scores that the DOTS Name Validation 2 service provides, to help you get the most out of this tool. In addition to a massive list of names that we compare input names against, we also do several other checks. These scores can help identify why a particular name was considered to be invalid, as well as helping to shed some light as to what types of validation Name Validation performs.

Overall Scores

One of the first things users will want to look at is the OverallNameScore value. This score represents the service overall rating for the given name. This score value ranges from 0 to 5, with 0 indicating a definitely bad name and 5 indicating a definitely good name. This is usually the first result someone might look at when determining the validity of a name.

We generate this overall score based on several other checks, validations and scores that the service can generate. However this might not be the last stop a user would make when attempting to determine if a name is valid or not. Based on your use case, you may want to look at one of the other score values our service provides, described below.

Other Scores Provided

The other score values that the service gives also range from 0 to 5. These values indicate the likelihood that the particular scoring category applies to that name. For example if a name received a VulgarityScore of 5, then that name would definitely have some type of vulgar word present. Below are the different scoring categories that the service provides.

VulgarityScore

As mentioned above, this score indicates the likelihood that a vulgar word is present in the input name. This score highly affects the overall score, as this is a key item used to sniff out bad or unprofessional name information.

CelebrityScore

This rating represents the likelihood that the input name provided is a known celebrity. This field will also work with fictional celebrities, so names like “Micky Mouse” and “Homer Simpson” will receive high Celebrity scores, as well as real life celebrities like “Tom Cruise” or “Madonna”.

BogusScore

The BogusScore field will let the user know if a given name is simply just a word or phrase that wouldn’t make sense. For example, single words or phrases that aren’t names (such as “Sandwich” or “The Quick Brown Fox”) will receive a high bogus score.

GarbageScore

Random key strokes or inputs that are not valid words will receive a high Garbage score. This would correspond to input like “asdfg” or any other series of random letters, keystrokes and input that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as a name.

DictionaryScores

Finally, we provide scores that indicate the likelihood that the input text is a dictionary word. These tend to have less weight on the overall score, as there are quite a few legitimate dictionary terms that can be considered last names. For example, the name “Park” is a relatively common last name, so it will receive a lower dictionary score of 1, while a word like “Fluorescent” would receive a high dictionary score because it is less common.

As with any of our services, there can always be specific use cases that may require some more information about how our services work. Service Objects has a team of customer focused people standing by to help you get the validated data you need. If you have any questions about our services, don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we would love to help you get the validated data you need!

Help Santa Check It Twice: A Holiday Addressing Gift for You!

The holidays are fast approaching. Soon you’ll be celebrating the season and sending holiday gift baskets and cards to people you have enjoyed working with this year. So here at Service Objects, we’ve teamed up with none other than Santa Claus himself, with a great gift for you! A free web-based portal where Santa will help you verify addresses online, powered by our Address Validation capabilities.

It’s ready to use right now.

If you have never used online address validation before – or even if you have, and want a quick, fun way to check a few addresses – Santa is here to help. Take a look:

Use this form to give him a delivery address – anywhere in the world where reindeer fly, business or personal – and then he and his helpers will be right back with one of the following results:

Finally, a little bit of fine print. You will be allowed to look up a maximum of 10 addresses using this tool. This screen will allow you to look up one address at a time, including business names where needed, but bear in mind that we offer convenient API and list-processing versions of these tools as well. If you need to look up more addresses, no worries – a convenient link will lead you to learn more about our full-feature capabilities, as well as additional information about our phone and email validation capabilities.

We’re hoping that once you get a taste of some holiday address verification – and find out how simple it is to implement for your business – you’ll want to have these capabilities for yourself, all year round. (In fact, Santa confided to us that he and Mrs. Claus will keep using Service Objects tools to improve his own delivery accuracy every Christmas from here, because sometimes even reindeer are no match for automated shipping.) Want to learn more? Talk to our friendly technical experts, and we’ll make it a happy holiday season for you too!

Tuning your Implementation: What Impacts Speed and Throughput

How fast is fast? How fast should things be? And more importantly, what can you control to make the response time of using our services as fast as possible?

In this blog we will break down the key components of response time, to shed some light on what you can optimize to make your implementation respond faster. Whether it is a call to a Service Objects web service or an API integration in general, there are specific phases that take place: input data preparation and transmission, data processing, and results transmission and processing. For example, a simplified view of a single data validation request is as follows:

  • Your data is securely sent to the Service Objects web server to be processed
  • The data is received by our server and processed/validated
  • The validated data is then securely returned to you

Most people think of response time as being the round-trip time to get your data validated – and this is indeed the primary concern – but total throughput should be addressed as well. And if you are able to get a single validation done as optimally as possible, expanding the workflow to fit simultaneous requests shouldn’t take too much modification to the workflow.

To understand what is going on under the hood – and in particular, understand what factors may be slowing down your speed – let’s compare this process to a trip to the grocery store. It has similar phases to a data validation process: you leave your house, travel down the road, stop at the market, purchase your groceries, and then drive home. Here is how this process breaks down:

Step 1: Data preparation. This is analogous to the steps you take before leaving your home. Did you turn off the lights? Are all of the doors shut? Is the security system armed? Do you have everything on your grocery list?

Each of these steps is similar to the checks that your application goes through in order to leave your company’s internal network. The application has to gather the information to be processed, dot all of the i’s, cross all the t’s, make sure it knows where it is going, and make it through any layers of security your company has in place. Each layer takes time to complete and detracts from your overall speed.

Step 2. Input data transmission. This is like traveling down the road to the supermarket. How much traffic people encounter depends on factors such as how many lanes the road has, how many people are in each car, and how many cars are on the road. From an engineer’s perspective, this is like the concept of single threading and multithreading: if the road that you are traveling down has multiple lanes, the number of cars (e.g. API requests) can be larger before running into traffic.

By creating a multithreaded application, you can effectively widen the road and allow for more throughputs. Your choices include single car + single lane (single value request), single car with multiple people in it + single lane (smartly using one validation client to do multiple requests), multiple cars with single passengers on multiple lanes (semi-smart multithreaded validations), and multiple cars with multiple passengers on multiple lanes (really smart multithreaded apps).

Step 3. Data processing. Once you reach the store and make your purchases, it is time to pick a checkout aisle. The number of aisles that are open act similarly to the lanes on the road. More aisles allow a larger number of people to be processed before a queue builds up.

This part of the process is handed by Service Objects. We have spent the last 15+ years not only making sure to stock our shelves with the best quality products, but also ensuring that there are enough checkout aisles to meet the needs of our customers. In our case, we have multiple data centers (super markets) with load balanced web servers (smartly managed checkout aisles) to keep all of our transactions moving through smoothly.

Step 4. Results data transmission. The return trip from the super market is very much the same as the trip there, but in reverse order. Similarly, entering your house with the newly purchased items (validated data) is the same in the opposite direction. This stage also contributes to the round trip time required to process a request.

Step 5. Unpacking the Results. When you return from the store, you still have to unpack your groceries. Likewise, once you get the data back from the service, you still need code and business logic to unpack the results and store them in a form that meets your needs. (Or, to extend our analogy further, create a delicious meal from the quality ingredients that Service Objects supplies you!)

So total processing time is a careful balance of getting through your front door, navigating down the single or multi lane highway, checking out with your groceries, and then making the return trip home. From an API-call perspective, improvements to your speed start with your network, smart choices when writing your integration code, and juggling the requirements put in place by your business logic. And if you are looking to increase your throughput, a multithreaded application or distributed system will often increase your capacity.

Finally, one more analogy (we promise!). Good grocery stores have staff who can help you make the most of your shopping trip. Likewise, Service Objects has an industry-leading team of technical support experts who know their stuff, and are always happy to help you make the most of your implementation. How can we help you? Contact us any time to discuss your own specific needs.

Cyber Monday is Coming. Is Your Business Ready?

In 2017, Cyber Monday sales reached an all-time high – and trends show that we may see another record-breaking year. Service Objects broke its own record last Cyber Monday with the most transactions in a single day. Why were our data validation tools so in-demand? Because excited customers rushing to score online deals make lots of data entry errors. Capturing authentic contact data helps businesses avoid mistakes in the ordering and shipping processes and prepares them for future opportunities, like marketing campaigns and additional sales.

Data validation services enhance data quality in real-time by identifying and correcting inaccuracies. For example, order validation not only verifies that an order is legitimate, it also corrects and appends contact data like name, address, email, and phone number using up-to-date, proprietary databases. Cross-referencing IP, address, phone, email, and credit card information helps every aspect of your business – from making ordering and shipping efficient to helping flag identify fraud and verifying email addresses for future communications.

Data Quality at Point of Sale

Validating an order at point of sale helps smooth out transactions for customers by suggesting more accurate addresses and updating typos. Adobe Insights reported that Cyber Monday sales grew 16.8% from 2016 to 2017 reaching $6.59 billion, $2 billion of which were completed on a mobile device. Because we make five times more mistakes on mobile than desktop, fat-fingered typos and autocorrect issues are becoming more prevalent.

Order Validation can also help prevent fraud in real-time by verifying that customers are legitimate through cross-checks of contact data, IP address, and credit card information. These verifications can flag suspicious activity related to identity theft and high-risk prepaid cards, which helps avoid related chargebacks. Fraud hurts businesses through lost product, money, and hours managing the fallout – the best way to avoid those costs is through preventative measures, like validating orders before shipping.

Data Quality and Order Fulfillment

With last year’s record sales came unprecedented shipping demand, and shippers like UPS struggled to meet delivery expectations all over the country. Customers anxiously awaiting their packages took to Facebook and Twitter to air their grievances, but while UPS was the bottleneck, many angry tweets were directed at vendors.

Given the rising trend in Cyber Monday sales over the years, it’s likely this year will bring even more orders, shipments, and delivery-related problems. Using a CASS certified address validation service, like the one incorporated in Service Objects’ DOTS Order Validation API, can help ensure that your shipping addresses are correct and deliverable. The service can be implemented to help customers self-correct inaccurate information before submitting their order, or can be used post-transaction to ensure accuracy by finding issues and suggesting corrections before shipping.

Customer Service Benefits from High Quality Data

The holidays are a stressful time, and shoppers have hard deadlines when ordering gifts in November and December. According to the National Retail Federation, 38% of consumers expect free two-day delivery when making online purchases. Address verification helps meet these expectations, cutting down on service inquiries for delayed packages. Order Validation also validates email addresses and phone numbers, ensuring notifications reach shoppers and giving your customer service representatives everything they need to communicate effectively.

Precise contact data saves your customer service team time troubleshooting and appeasing upset callers, strengthens your relationship to promote repeat business, and helps you manage your reputation. And, in the off-chance that something does go wrong, your team will have the most up-to-date order information to handle the call and assure your customers that you care.

High Risk Days Require High Quality Data

Data quality plays an important role in managing the risks of high-volume transaction days like Cyber Monday. The best way to ensure contact data doesn’t get in the way of your biggest sales day is by validating and verifying transactions with a service like Order Validation. You can even try it out today with a free trial key.

Contact Data Spam: A Lesson from Google Maps

We have spoken often on these pages about the importance of validating your contact data, to make sure you have a valid address and a quality lead. Whether it is a mistyped ZIP code, a lead pretending to be Donald Duck to fake out your marketing team, or a phony email address used to commit fraud, problems can and do occur. It takes planning to stay one step ahead of the bad guys or the bad data.

Which is why we were fascinated to hear about a new cottage industry that has sprung up in recent years: fake listings on Google Maps. By cataloging the streets and business listings of much of the planet, Google Maps has often become a go-to resource for finding a business. Unfortunately, this has also made this platform a tempting target for shady operators and unfair competitors.

A few years ago, some enthusiasts succeeded in pranking Google Maps with obviously fake business listings, just to show that they could do it. One hacker even managed to plant fake contact information for the FBI and the Secret Service, forwarding callers to the actual agencies while surreptitiously recording the calls. In cases like these, the goal was to try and get Google’s attention about flaws in their system and verification procedures.

Unfortunately, fake listings have also been exploited by people with darker motives than showing off their hacking talents. Here are some examples:

Contractor fraud: Some types of businesses, such as locksmiths or plumbers, are ripe for shady contractors who come to your home and then charge exorbitant prices. By placing a listing in your neighborhood using a phony address, they are able to swoop down from anywhere on unsuspecting homeowners. According to Google, this represents about 40% of their fake listings.

Fake reviews: In this case, real businesses have shadowy people post phony reviews to disparage their competitors or build up their own business – or phony businesses run by fraudsters use fake reviews to give themselves an air of legitimacy. Despite volunteer fraud-hunters and the threat of FTC fines, a listing on Google Maps may not accurately reflect a business’s true ratings.

Squatter’s rights: Here a scammer claims a listing for an actual business such as a restaurant, often pocketing online referral fees for customers who actually found this business via organic search. Google notes that 1 out of 10 of its fake Google Maps listing fall under this category.

To be fair, Google has made attempts to keep on top of this problem. In a 2017 report on one of their blogs, they note that that have tightened up their procedures for verifying new listings, and now claim to detect and disable 85% of fraudulent ones before they are posted – resulting in a 70% reduction in such listings from their peak in 2015. However, while pointing out that less than 0.5% of searches today are fraudulent, they acknowledge that they still aren’t perfect.

The lesson here? As former US President Ronald Reagan used to say at the height of the Cold War, “Trust but verify.” To which we would add, keep your data quality practices up-to-date with your own contact data assets. Good luck, and be careful out there!

Lead Validation International: Best Practices

DOTS Lead Validation – International has been available for almost a year, and we have received great feedback from our customers on how they are using it. Using this feedback, we have compiled some general best practices to help you get the most from the service and learn how it helps your business.
There are two main uses for this service, prioritizing leads and regulatory compliance.

Lead Prioritization

When your business generates hundreds to thousands of leads daily, it is best to prioritize them based on their quality. One of the simplest ways to determine a lead’s value is using the two outputs from Lead Validation – International; OverallCertainty and OverallQuality. OverallCertianty is a value that comes back in the range of 0-100 and represents how likely the prospect could be contacted with the information they provided. The OverallQuality output shows whether a lead should be rejected, reviewed or accepted.

Each main component of a lead (name, address, email, phone, IP address, and business) is also scored this way. For example, the address component also has certainty and quality scores directly associated with it, AddressCertainty and AddressQuality. The purpose of these individual component values is to allow you to see how the components’ scores break down and make even more informed business decisions.

GDPR Compliance

The second major use we have seen for the Lead Validation – International service is determining if any component of your lead is from a country that falls under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We have made this simple to identify by providing an output, IsInGDPR, which simply identifies that your lead is covered by the GDPR. Our customers are using this to ensure they stay in compliance with the regulation and avoid its hefty fines.

Now that we’ve outlined its main uses, let’s focus on the three most important parts of the service: Inputs, Test Types, and Outputs and how they can be used.

Inputs

The more inputs you have, the better the returns will be. The service heavily cross-references the individual inputs for each component, which means the more data points you share with the service, the better we can analyze the data.

Some organizations simply do not collect all the data points, or the data they buy doesn’t include them. For these reasons, it is very common to have an abbreviated number of inputs for the service. But Lead Validation – International goes a step further and makes adjustments along the way to help maximize results when not all data points are available. If you are missing an IP address, company name, or another data point, Test Types have you covered.

Test Types

To avoid penalizing lead scores because of lack of data, TestType is a required field that works like a directive to the service, adjusting the algorithm itself to work with the data available. Using a test type is not only required, it is also just as important a consideration as the other input data. For example, attempting to validate business leads without using TestType=business will skew the results, leaving you scratching your head at the end of the day. Best practice is to match the following test type to your available inputs:

Standard Test Types

  • normal1p/normal2p – Incorporates all the main components except the business component. The only difference between the two types is that normal2p allows for a second input phone number, where normal1p is limited to one.
  • noip – Same as normal1p, but does not incorporate IP address input in the processing.
  • nap – Simple but common test type that looks at name, address and phone components, a second phone number is optional.

Business Test Types

Designed for business-to-business leads, not having a business name in a business test type is allowed, but providing a business name returns better scores.

  • business – Like normal2p, but adds the business component.
  • business-noip – Like the business test type except it does not utilize the IP address component. While designed for data with a missing IP address input, this is NOT one of the more recommended operations. Having the IP address as an input for business to business leads provides strong links to connect to other data points and provides some useful flags for fraud.
  • business-n-e-p – Checks name, email, and phone components.

Custom Test Types
Custom test types can be created for specific needs. In some instances, you may have a component that you don’t have much confidence in and want the system to be less strict in analyzing. Conversely, some organizations may have fields that are so critical that they want to scrutinize specific components over others. Most organizations fit into one of our predefined test types, but customizations are available to ensure unique business needs are met to maximize the results from our service.

Multiple test types
Some companies use multiple test types. It is less common to see multiple test types in the same process, because if a field is missing you likely want that lead to be penalized in OverallCertainty. However, you may have multiple processes fed by leads from several departments and various sources, so ideally you will match the test type to the process and available inputs.

Outputs

Lastly, you will want to pay attention to the OverallCertainty and OverallQuality fields when prioritizing your results. It all comes down to the higher the certainty, the better the lead. There are several factors to consider when thinking about prioritization. For instance, cost of leads, sales team bandwidth, or automated CRM lead scoring could all affect priority outside of validation. Your organization will make these considerations before making any final decisions.

The Notes field is helpful for tying everything together, and will help you understand how the return was generated. The service will output general notes about the validation such as IsNamePhoneMatch or IsPhoneAddressMatch, but also creates Notes about each individual component like IsBadStreet for address or IsPublicProxy for IP Address. Each component that can associate itself to a country can impact the output, IsInGDPR, indicating if the lead or a component of the lead falls under GDPR.

In closing, it is worth reiterating that the quality of the results from Lead Validation – International are predicated on the number of inputs and using the correct test types. This service helps you prioritize your leads, identify the weak and the strong points in your data, and stay in compliance when it comes to GDPR. If you’re working with international leads, reach out to our team to learn more about how our validation service can help your business.