Why Email Correction Services are a Really Bad Idea

Published by: Andrew Paul    |   Category: Blog, Email Deliverability, Email List, Email Validation    


There are some companies who claim to be able to fix or correct an invalid email address. In this article I am going to discuss why this is a terrible idea and why you should NEVER have a company try and correct an invalid or undeliverable email address.

If you have an email list of customers or individuals who have signed up on your website and you haven’t mailed to them in a while, you should have the email list cleaned and validated. This should be your first step and the best insurance you have that you are sending your email campaign to a list of valid and deliverable email addresses.

Email Address Correction

The problem with companies who claim to be able to correct, fix or update an invalid or undeliverable email address is you cannot be 100% sure that the correction will be valid or accurate. This will cause you more problems, because now you could be sending to a person who did not optin to your email list. Email correction is no more than a guessing game.

Let’s look at some examples:

If joe@gmial.com is not valid and an undeliverable email address, you could assume that the correct email address is joe@gmail.com, but this causes a host of other possible issues. The first problem is that gmial.com is a valid domain. Just because you think that it should be gmail.com does not mean it is gmail.com.

If you get a signup and the email address is sam@mesothelioma.co. You might think it should be sam@mesothelioma.com but in fact, Mesothelioma.co is an actual domain and it sold in September 2010 for $76,000.

If you have an invalid email address of johnsmit@aol.com, you might assume the person forgot the “h” in Smith. Again, how would you know the person’s name is not John Smit versus John Smith.

There are also the companies who claim that they can correct an old email address and provide you an updated and new email for the person who changed it. Now if every single person who ever changed their personal email address went to a central database and updated it with their old and new email addresses, I could see this working, but that is not the case. After giving this a great deal of thought, I am not even sure how a company could make a claim to be able to update an old email address to a new email address that replaced the old one. Considering most people change their personal email address due to too much spam, trying to get away from someone who is annoying them or they want to start fresh. Therefore it is logical to assume that these people would not consider publishing this information, because it would defeat the purpose of changing their email address as well as becoming a haven for spammers to get fresh email addresses and follow them.

So now that we have discussed all of the reasons why you should never try and guess what someone’s new email address is, by using a company who claims to be able to do this for you, let’s look at how you can better collect emails on your website and ensure they are formatted correctly. You have a few options when it comes to this. The simplest option would be to add some code to ensure the syntax and format of the email address is correct.

Below is the basic explanation of validating that the email address format is correct.

joe @ aol .com – You would validate that the email address has all of the components and they are formatted correctly to be compliant.  Here is how it breaks down. The local part of an address (before the @ sign), the domain part (after the @ sign). You would also check to confirm that there aren’t any invalid characters and the email address is RFC Compliant.

Other options would be to require the person signing up to enter their email address twice or use a double optin process to send the person signing up an email to confirm that their email is valid and that they actually signed up on your website.



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