Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the most common inquiries we receive regarding Service Objects DOTS Web Services are answered below.

Click on a question below to find the answers to product, technical and account questions.

Basics
What is a Web Service?
A web service is something you can "call" via an API over the web from a program or application.
Why do I need a license key?
The license key uniquely identifies you to Service Objects. You can sign-up for a FREE 30-day license key, that includes 500 free transactions. A trial license key is different than a production or customer key.
What happens if I go over my limit of queries?
If you have a production key and exceed the number of transactions (as defined in the monthly plan you purchased) your key will continue to operate, however, you will be billed for these additional "overage" transactions at the end of the month. If you find that in numerous months you exceed your plans transaction level you may find that an upgrade in your plan is financially beneficial. If you are using a trial key and you exceed the number of allowed trial transactions then your key will become inactive and our server will respond with an error stating that you have exceeded your transaction total limits.
Is my data secure?
ABSOLUTELY! We use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL uses a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data - a public key known to everyone and a private or secret key known only to the recipient of the message. Service Objects' Web services use the protocol to communicate Web service data. By convention, server URLs require an SSL connection start with https: instead of http:.
Do you store my data on your servers?
No. Web service data that passes through our network is not stored by Service Objects. Your data is never written to persistent memory such a disk file, database or log file.
Do you also support VPN connections?
Yes. We can configure our router for a VPN connection. A $495 one-time fee for router configuration and VPN setup is required. Additional changes billed at the rate of $175 per hour remote router configuration.
How do I get a production license key?
If you already have a trial key and have tested the service, its definitely time for a Production Key. Please give one of our Data Quality Advisors a call. We'd love to get you started!
Where do you get your data?
Our data is a compilation of proprietary and public information. We are constantly gathering new data from various sources to provide you with the most reliable results that we have access to.
At what level will you manage our account after we integrate your services?
Service Objects guarantees that you have access to the web service you've chosen at any time. We assign a dedicated Customer Success Specialist to you ensuring that your technical needs are met. Technical Engineers are also available to assist you. We also offer 24/7 emergency support.
How fast are your services?
Query-response speed varies depending upon the type of service/s that you choose to integrate, though our average response time is 600 milliseconds.
How often do you update your databases?
Our databases are updated on a daily basis, always ensuring you the most accurate data that we can access.
How will your contact validation services benefit my sales team?
We will cross validate all of your leads automatically, scoring them based on their contact quality, allowing your sales force to call the leads with the best potential first.
How will your services benefit my Marketing team?
We will cross validate all of your leads, providing you with accurate data on each contact within your marketing campaign. This will allow you to focus your efforts and resources only on quality leads.
Is every record mail-deliverable?
Through Delivery Point Validation (DPV), we provide you with mail-deliverable postal addresses, provided by the USPS®. In addition to delivery accuracy and a reduction in returned mail, this also reduces multiple mailings from being sent to the same destination, due to multiple contacts residing at the same address.
Can I submit a list of contacts for you to verify without integrating your XML services?
Yes, we you can e-mail us the file, submit it via FTP or use our BatchTumbler application for self service processing.
What is your return time for running a batch of records?
This depends upon the size of the batch and the amount of processes that you want to run it through, though batches are usually completed within 48 hours.
How much does the API service cost? (all products)
DOTS Web Services are sold on a subscription model. Each service plan includes a certain allowance of included transaction per month. Additional transactions, those beyond included allowance, are settled at the end the month.
How does Service Objects free trial work? (all)
After you select a service that you'd like to test, please fill out the Free Trial form on that page. Each license key is valid for a specific service. Each key is good for 500 transactions within 30 days. All DOTS services are "programmable", and are designed to be built into your web app or business process.
How can I see my Service Objects transaction usage? (all)
Service Objects has a web interface with built-in graphs which can be found on our web site here. Advanced users can program-in our DOTS Usage Report API for seamless transaction usage reports into their web app.
What is a good example of a Service Objects application?
Our customers build a diverse set of applications from ecommerce platforms to interactive call center applications to marketing automation systems. The best way to see applications built with Service Objects is to read our case studies, and see our Sample code for code examples.
What is the License Key? (all products)
Service Objects uses unique license keys to determine which account an API request is coming from. Our License Key acts as a username and password. Keep your License Keys private because, if someone knows your License Key, they will have the ability to use the service as if they were you.
What can't I use Service Objects for? (all products)
Service Objects is built for enhancing consumer-to-business transactions . Use-cases such as unsolicited marketing (aka spam), list building and emergency services violate our Acceptable Use Policy and are not allowed. Please read our policy for full details.
How do I upgrade to a paid account? (all products)
To upgrade, please go to the buy now section and provide your credit card information. You can either have Service Objects automatically charge your credit card monthly, or you can prepay for a year of service. If you’d like to learn more about Service Objects pricing please contact our sales team.
What is a transaction? (all products)
A transaction occurs every time a client makes a request to our DOTS servers. However, empty string and null requests are not considered a transaction. We record the date a transaction occurs in our system. We do not record the contents of the request nor the response. We do not store any error responses that may have occurred.
What is the difference between my License Key and Username/Password? (all products)
License Keys are used to authenticate your Web service requests. Usernames and Passwords allow you to manage your account so you can request new trial keys, purchase live keys, view usage and download sample code all online.
Can I view my billing history online? (all products)
It is not possible to view your billing or payment history online. Please contact Service Objects Customer Care for copies of your billing history and service plan settings.
When should I upgrade my service?
You should upgrade your service when your total bill, including overages, reaches the price of the next service level. We will sometimes send you a courtesy notifications suggesting a plan upgrade when cost effective.
Do you track our transactions?
We do not store the information that you process, but we do track the amount of times you hit our servers. With your permission, we can track the requesting IP address of your queries so we can see where your transactions are coming from.

Products
How often is your address data updated? (AV-US)
Our US address data is updated monthly. We receive this data regularly directly from the United States Postal Service.
What is the difference between DOTS Address Validation and DOTS Address Validation Plus? (AV-US)
DOTS Address Validation is for applications that require fast full featured address validation. While DOTS Address Validation Plus provides basic address validation, plus address geocoding and basic zip-code level demographics information.
Do you offer Canadian services?
Yes we do, we offer several services especially for Canada: DOTS Address Validation Canada and DOTS Address Geocode Canada.
How does DOTS Lead Validation work?
DOTS Lead Validation verifies the contact information provided by your lead to determine whether the names (first and last), addresses (home, business, email and IP), telephone numbers (personal, business, wireless or cellular) are accurate, by cross validating them with our proprietary processes.This returns to you a customizable scoring of the contact, allowing you to determine whether it will be Accepted, Rejected, or Reviewed by your team. What this really means to you is that your sales force can concentrate most of their efforts on the leads that will convert. The bottom-line is increased profits. In addition to validating your leads, our real-time XML services will enhance your contact's data by correcting any false information, as well as filling in any that may be missing.Imagine if all of your leads had complete (or multiple) phone numbers, addresses, and census information. Since our services are processed real-time, your team will have instant access to this rich data, allowing them to contact their best prospects immediately. This will insure that you're always one step ahead of your competition.
What is the difference between DOTS Demographics and DOTS Demographics Plus? (D/DP)
Service Objects DOTS Demographics provide ZIP code level information for contacts in the United States. DOTS Demographics Plus provides enhanced neighborhood-level demographic information. DOTS Demographics will provide a general overview for a specific ZIP code, while DOTS Demographics plus will drill-down to a specific neighborhood provided a much more accurate picture when compared to the ZIP-level data.
What type of information do your phone services provide?
Our validation services return a wide array of data. To start, they will let you know if the number is valid and how long it's been in service, who the carrier is, whether it's a business or personal number, and whether it's a wireless phone or a landline.
Do you match record name and address to each other when returning a phone number?
We do not have any data linking names to address at the moment, but both are simultaneously used when comparing to the phone record. We don't look for phone records that have the given name and we don't look for addresses that match the given address. Both name and address must appear in the phone record for a match. This sometimes leads to less overall matches but more accurate ones.
What is the anticipated percentage of records returned with phone numbers?
We generally expect around a 40-45% match rate. We see wildly varying results from client to client (usually dependant on data quality). Clients that see good results generally continue to see good results. Even with good data, finding phone numbers from names and addresses is one of the most challenging services we have due to the inconsistencies in the phone records (missing address information, abbreviated names etc…) which is why the match rate is lower.
What if more than one phone number is returned, do you give me both?
At the moment, only one number is returned. If there are more than one numbers returned from our search query, the best number is returned. The best number would be the number that best matches the original input.
I've seen times when a record is returned with a phone number that is outdated by as much as 3 years. Will this be the case with your company?
No, this should not be a problem. Our phone data comes from some of the most accurate and reliable sources. It is updated nightly with a promise of about 99% accuracy. If a number becomes disconnected for example it should not return a contact the next day.
How often is your phone data updated? (GP/GPPL)
Our phone data is updated nightly. Each night we perform over 2 million database updates provided directly from the carriers.
What is the difference between DOTS GeoPhone and DOTS GeoPhone Plus? (GP/GPPL)
DOTS GeoPhone provides contact information for traditional wired phones. DOTS GeoPhone Plus provides contact information for wired phone information and information for an ever increasing number of wireless phones.
How do I download the Data Tumbler?
You can download our PC-based DOTS DataTumbler on our web site free of charge. The download link can be found in our Developers section, click here.

API Integration
How are the Service Objects DOTS implemented?
Service Objects DOTS are implemented as a XML-SOAP-WSDL Web services. The service supports several POST, GET and SOAP methods; these are described in an accompanying WSDL file that can be imported into your favorite Web services programming environment.
What is SOAP?
SOAP is the Simple Object Access Protocol. It is used for information exchange and RPC, usually (but not necessarily) over HTTP.
What is WSDL?
WSDL is the Web Service Definition Language. It provides a formal description of a Web Service, much like CORBA's IDL. The WSDL file is all you need to know how to call the Web Service; there are many software toolkits can generate proxy code from a WSDL file directly.
Is there a limit on the number of results I can receive per query?
Sometimes. Certain web services can retrieve a maximum of 20 results per query in the trial mode.
Does this service work through HTTP proxies?
Generally, Yes. The service should work through HTTP proxies, but in practice some HTTP proxies have trouble correctly forwarding SOAP.
How can I track the number of queries I have submitted each day?
There is an HTML report and a special web service you can use to see your usage. You can log into the reports here: http://www.serviceobjects.com/support/usage-reports
What programming languages do you support?
We test our services with ASP, ColdFusion MX, PHP, Java (Apache SOAP and Apache Axis), Perl (SOAP::Lite version 0.52), and C# in MS Visual Studio .NET. The service has not been tested with clients in other languages but it should work with any language with web service support.
How can I look at my own SOAP packets and debug my communication?
There are many tools that let you "sniff" your SOAP packets on the wire, usually implemented as an HTTP proxy. We like the Apache Axis tool org.apache.axis.utils.tcpmon.
Why do you provide client code if it can be generated from WSDL?
We wanted to provide the simplest possible start for developers; shipping a complete Java implementation was the easiest way to do that. The custom C# client also has some convenience features such as default values for seldom-used parameters.
What languages in Microsoft Visual Studio .NET are supported?
The service has been tested with a C# client auto-generated from WSDL by the wsdl.exe tool. It should work fine from any .NET language. We have created an application note for using DOTS within VB.NET. Download the application note here.
What C# packages do I need to use to write a client?
You need the standard .NET framework; either from Visual Studio .NET or the Framework alone.
Can I invoke Service Objects' Web Services from Office XP applications (e.g., Excel)?
Yes, Office XP's SOAP implementation supports simple SOAP types.
Can I invoke Service Objects' Web Services from FileMaker?
Yes, hereto, newer versions FileMaker (6 or better) supports SOAP GET requests.
What types of data inputs can we send through your processes?
We can filter, correct, format, enrich, and cross validate the following types of data: First and last name, postal address, email address, and internet (IP) address, home, work, and cellular telephone numbers
Are your services consistently available?
Yes, we guarantee that you'll be able to call our services 99.999% of the time. Service Objects has verified more than 2.5 billion contact records - with uptime of 99.999 percent over 15 years.
How simple is your XML integration process?
After we assist you in determining the best way for you to integrate our web services, our courteous and experienced engineers will guide you through any necessary steps to have your services up and running as quickly as possible, often within a few hours.
My data is in CSV. What software do you recommend for mapping, and conversion to XML?
This depends on a lot of factors. Many programming languages work very well with our Web Services and in most cases it's very easy to integrate with them. It depends a lot on your preferences. We have a ton of example code available and we can certainly help you more when you are looking to integrate in real-time with our services. If you do batches, then you don't really need to do anything else.
Will this work with my web form?
The API interface will work with will most type of web forms such as Java, .NET, PHP and others. We provide sample code for many types of programming languages.
What is the API Service Path? (all products)
The service path is the location on the Internet of our API. This is often referred to as the server endpoint or service URL.
Watch Service Path Tutorial
My application makes requests coming from different IP addresses. Do I need to register these IP addresses with you? (all products)
Our DOTS Web Service can handle HTTP requests from anywhere on the Internet. Each request to our DOTS server requires a valid license key for authentication. We do not require API customers to register their IP addresses with us.
Do you have Sample Code? (all products)
Service Objects provides a catalog of sample code for various programming languages. Sample code can be found on our web site under the Developers :: Sample Code section our web site. We provide multiple examples for common programming languages such as C#, VB.NET, ASP, JAVA, SQL and many others.

Batch
Can you process my list of contacts? (all products)
We do provide list processing services. Files can be in comma separated value (CSV), Excel, or XML format. Qualified prospects may submit a list for testing up to 100 records free of charge.
I’m not a developer, what can I do with Service Objects API?
Service Objects API are tools for web developers to provide data quality functionality into their web apps and business processes. Alternatively, Service Objects does offer batch list processing and a PC based desktop tool for smaller lists. However, most of our clients have an experienced developer on their team. If you’d like to learn more about how you can use Service Objects to streamline your business's systems, please contact our sales team.