Email list validation is an interesting business. Email Answers customers run the gamut from individuals, who run their own small business, to Fortune 500 companies. A percentage of our new customers come from ESP (Email Service Provider) referrals. ESPs usually send their customer to us to have their email list cleaned and validated, because when their customer attempted to upload a new file, it triggered some type of filter within their system, alerting them to a problem with the email data.
Why do ESPs flag some email data as problematic?
It’s not that ESPs flag the data as bad, per se, it’s that they usually run a compare to their internal database and if it meets certain criteria, they flag it for further review. This criterion can be a large percentage of undeliverable emails (hard bounces), known complainers, spam seeds or certain role accounts. As an example, you might only need to have a single email address of email@example.com for the ESP to flag you, where you might need to have more than 1% of your data match their hard bounce file.
Two to three times per week our sales team will get a call from someone who is using an ESP to send their newsletters or promotional emails and has this exact problem. They got flagged while trying to upload a new list to their ESP. The conversation is always the same – “I got my list validated by another company but my ESP still won’t let me upload it”.
Occasionally, depending on the size, experience and efficiency of your ESP, your email list might not be flagged when you upload it, but worse, after you start mailing to it. If this happened to you, you should definitely read, “What to do if you get banned or suspended from Constant Contact, MailChimp , iContact , Aweber or Campaign Monitor“.
The issue here is that not all email validation companies are the same. Most companies will simply check your individual email addresses to see if they are deliverable, period – that’s it. Their pricing is also usually 8-10 times more expensive than the more extensive service provided by our company. Email Answers offers an email list cleaning and validation service that is a much more involved and intensive process than simply validating the existence of an email address. Beyond simply checking each individual email address, to see if they are deliverable or not, we also compare and scrub for bad syntax, duplicates, role accounts, complainers, never-send-to domains, spam seeds, bots and throwaway and disposable email addresses.
Most email validation companies provide nothing more than email validation, that’s it. And here is where we have the problem when it comes to getting flagged while attempting to upload a new email list at your ESP. Back in July 2012, we published an article titled, “A Comparison of Email Validation, Verification and List Cleaning Services”. You should take a few minutes to read it and review the infographic.
The end result, as we have found to be commonplace, is the customer spends $800-$1000 to get their email list validated by another company, which still isn’t accepted by their ESP, and then comes to us to get it scrubbed, cleaned and validated again for $150.
So what’s the moral of the story?
Do your homework in advance and you can probably save yourself the headache, burning an extra $800-$1000 and a few hours of extra unneeded work. And don’t worry, there is no ‘Thank You’ required.