DOTS Lead Validation – International is a complex service combining over ten of our other services, as well as unique proprietary algorithms specific to Lead Validation. This service can take any combination of Name, Email, Phone, Address, IP Address and Business name (for business leads), test these components, and score them based on their own merit as well as how they connect to the lead as a whole. It gives companies important results to improve their decision-making capabilities.

This blog is designed to share some of the new capabilities we have been adding to Lead Validation – International over the past several months. For more details about the service as a whole, please see the links toward the end of this blog.

Improved international address validation

The biggest improvement for this iteration of Lead Validation – International is a massive data upgrade on the international address side. In the past few months, we updated our DOTS Address Validation – International service to greatly expand the number of countries with Premise level data (that is, information down to the building level). Overall, almost 200 countries have seen data improvements.

These changes greatly improve the ability of Lead Validation – International to use international address data points to help validate a lead. More data around the world means more addresses will validate as good or definitively bad. Potentially just as important, Lead Validation can now cascade the address results. For example, if we do not know that the building is good, perhaps we know that the street is good, or if we do not know the street is good maybe we at least know that the locality or postal code is good. This improvement allows us to give more partial credit for matching address data.

International address validation is an extremely complex and imperfect thing based on probabilities. Recognizing that, Lead Validation makes the best use of what it knows to squeeze the most out of the data we are given. A few new AddressNotes have been added to clarify partial matches: for example, IsGoodStreet might accompany IsUnknownAddress to tell you that we are not certain about the address but we know the street is good, While IsGoodLocality indicates that we know the city/location specified is good.

Improved business checks

The latest iteration of Lead Validation – International also includes new notes and new tests for Businesses and Business Names. The primary addition is analyzing the business name for oddities, which previously had not been analyzed like other fields such as personal names and email addresses. This was an oversight we wanted to fix, as there are lots of places in a lead where someone can include bad or fraudulent data. Checking all input data points allows us more latitude in finding these problems.

With this update, we will catch things like “Sh*t Industries” (bleeped) and “Sh1t Industries” (as is). Two new notes here: IsVulgar and IsPossibleVulgar indicate what we think is the severity of the vulgarity. In addition, IsGarbage and IsPossibleGarbage notes might indicate that we think the business name is not a legitimate one. We may look for things like too many digits, or too many of the same character in a row, repeating patterns or unlikely combinations of letters such as “asdf”. We are also looking for clear invalid names like: “Test”, “NA” etc.

Prior to the update, we did not return much in the way of business notes to indicate what we had found out about the business in question. In addition to the above notes, two additional informational notes were added: TooShort to indicate an unlikely legitimate name by length, and NotGiven when a business name was omitted.

Improvements to email validation

Service Objects recently underwent a massive update to our DOTS Email Validation service that Lead Validation automatically inherited. This update included a big improvement in our ability to handle Yahoo, Hotmail and similar residential “catch-all” type emails. This greatly improves our ability to know that a mailbox is good or bad with higher certainty. In addition to that, Lead Validation – International revised its algorithms for how it handles garbage detection within the email’s mailbox.

For example, we found that Lead Validation was too harsh on emails that contained all numbers. While very uncommon in the US (outside of rarely used mobile email addresses), they are more and more common internationally, especially in China. Some penalties still exist, but now an email should not be rejected simply for being an all-numeric one. Any email identified as IsGoodMailbox will likely cancel out any penalties. Chinese emails are commonly associated with fraud, but we also have other ways to identify issues with them, such as bot and malicious emails.

Better overall messaging

An earlier update that has been out for a while greatly expanded on the messaging within Lead Validation – International. In addition to the new messages explained in the sections above, back in June, we added over 20 new notes to various sections intended to give more information about the lead. Some of the notes are purely interesting informational notes, some clarify penalties that happened to a lead, and some are altogether new ones that add new scoring options that were not present before.

Name notes gained 4 informational notes: IsFirstNameKnown, IsLastNameKnown, IsCommonFirstName and IsCommonLastName. These notes are more informational, however, the first two being present or missing can give a good indication of why the Name component might have lost some points.

IP notes added IsMaliciousIP, IsPotentiallyMaliciousIP and IsPossibleMobileDevice. The malicious IP tests use new tests that identify IP Addresses that have been marked for malicious use. The mobile device test indicates a potentially mobile user, which might indicate less certainty around the user’s location.

The new address notes were being used internally for scoring calculations but are helpful in showing users why the score was lower. These are: IsMissingSecondary, IsWrongSecondary, IsVacant, and IsReturningMail. The first two represent smaller penalties to an address, to go alongside bigger penalties like IsBadStreet and IsBadHouseNumber. The IsVacant flag indicates the potential for a fraudulent delivery to a non-inhabited location. IsReturningMail is more of an informational note indicating a potential issue delivering packages or mail to the location. These fields are more likely tied to US addresses that have a high degree of certainty.

Phone notes added IsGoogleNumber, IsSkypeNumber, IsPortableVOIP, IsPorted, IsRecentlyPorted. The first three notes indicate a potential for fraud, as the number given is not strongly tied to the lead. These sorts of numbers may still be good, but have a higher likelihood of either being directly fraudulent or at the very least tied to someone who may not want to be reachable. These should always be considered questionable. The ported notes are mostly informational, however, especially in the case of recently ported numbers (within the last year), it could indicate a number that is more likely to be active. It could also indicate a number that has changed hands.

Finally, email notes include a number of informational notes, especially ones that may help explain why a good result may not have returned. The new notes are: IsBusinessEmail, IsBlacklistDomain, IsFullMailbox, IsEmailTimeout, IsEmailTemporaryReject. IsBusinessEmail indicates that we were able to connect the email to a business. IsBlacklistDomain emails are a new penalty and indicate emails coming from a questionable mail server, with a higher probability for fraud. The last three are more informational notes that potentially indicate a reason an email might not get through, or why we were not able to properly validate the email. These do not necessarily indicate a bad email or cause the lead to become bad, but just point out potential issues with the email.

These notes can be critical in any review process behind the scenes for leads. For example, Service Objects’ leads are run through Lead Validation – International and then added to our CRM with all of the new details. In addition to the scores, our sales team has these notes at their disposal to gather more information about a lead. The service results give them important information, such as a mail server that seems to be timing out, which might indicate that an email may not go through.

Find out more

For more information about Lead Validation – International, take a look at this three-part article series:

In closing, Lead Validation and Lead Validation – International are very similar services. For US and Canadian Leads, Lead Validation International behaves exactly the same. Lead Validation – International expands on the capabilities of Lead Validation by allowing the validation of leads around the world. Feel free to contact us for more information or with any questions about these services.

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