Email Verification: Checklist to Choose an Email Verification Vendor
There are many reasons a company is looking for email verification services. Most of the time, it’s for form pages when a prospect fills out a questionnaire or information portal. Instead of just trusting that the consumer filled out the correct information or the person filling out the form is not competition or worse, a person planting a seed for spam fighting purposes, one must either choose several types of verification platforms or find one that can do all things. But is there someone out there that can do all the above? Let’s examine:
Email validation is not verification. It’s close, but doesn’t do a complete SMTP handshake. It actually does a lot more and is one of the most crucial elements to email list hygiene. You cannot do verification without doing validation first, however.
Email list validation does several things:
• Removes departmental emails like firstname.lastname@example.org
• Removes syntax errors
• Removes incorrect spelling (yahooo.com)
• Checks mx if setup correctly
• Verifies RDNS
• Performs open relay checks
• Checks if parked or other warnings
• Checks for index.html or index.php
• Checks for text on website or other warnings
• Static list removal like bounces, traps, complainers & litigators
Validation cannot be ignored if you have a database of 100,000 or more. Usually people come to validation companies if they either bought/purchased, traded, rented or leased a list or if the list is old. Email deliverability goes up when a list is validated but even more when verified after.
Email List Verification
Email verification can be achieved through numerous ways. Intelligence, SMTP handshakes, appending or all the above. The goal for email verification is to remove bounces (hard or soft), vacation emails, challenge responses, replies from list servers, feedback reports (if needed), mail block relays, forwarders and false positives.
Email Intelligence is information gathering and reporting. It fits along with the appending model below but goes much further. Many companies have access to data that offers a clue to an email’s existence. For example, if a company has a list of all Facebook user email addresses (the ones they use to login to Facebook) then this kind of intelligence can be classified as deliverable or be set as some type of priority. Some verification companies combine many intelligent API platforms together to give an email a rating rather than sending an email itself through an SMTP handshake to get the results. Intelligent platforms save time and is faster than SMTP .
SMTP handshake verification is the act of physically sending an email with text or blank to achieve a response from the recipient’s admin. This process is tough and is quickly blocked, blacklisted or both which produces many false positives in its path. Collecting data this way is tricky and time consuming but can achieve a level of success if you understand each ISP deliverable threshold per IP and through pmta tricks.
Appending verification is the most common form, but most verification companies will not tell you. Most if not all verification companies send advertisements themselves and keep a track of the deliverables and bounces with date/time stamps. It’s easy to build an appending platform and track emails but the problem is, unless you are sending emails daily to the entire list, you will not have a real up-to-date list of deliverables and bounces. Appending verification works well with small lists but not in the billions.
This is why email verification companies have different pricing. If you combine all 3 above (intelligence, SMTP & appending), then the odds of an email being a false positive becomes really rare. In this case, the more you spend for verification, the more accurate the results. Prices for verification can range anywhere from $300 to $10,000 per 1 million records. The more you spend, the more intelligence is/are behind the results.