email_validation_services.jpgEmail validation refers to a method of “pinging” an email address to see if it is valid or not. This process can help you determine which email addresses you should send to and which ones you can delete from your contact list.

There are many services online that will validate email lists for you. While email validation can be valuable, it’s not a perfect process. There are a few things you should know before you decide to invest in an email validation service to clean your email list.

  1. 40% of email servers don’t answer pings

A huge number of email servers don’t bother to respond to any type of ping, which means a validation provider has to look for other ways to determine if an address is valid. Since these other ways are usually based on existing information that the company has (see number 4), it’s not guaranteed that an address validated without a ping will be accurate.

  1. Some email servers use catchall addresses that answer every ping

On the other side of the spectrum, some servers answer every email ping, even if the specific address in question is no longer valid or in use. It’s also possible that an email account could still be active but is no longer being used by the owner, meaning even if the address is validated there’s no point in sending correspondence to it.

  1. Many providers err on the side of caution

Some companies will classify an email address as unverified and take it off your list, even if there’s a chance that the address could actually be valid. If a provider isn’t sure, they would often rather delete an email address from a list instead of taking a chance on allowing a client to hurt their sender score by emailing an invalid address. This might not seem like a huge deal, but imagine if even 15% of the addresses deleted from your list were valid, active email addresses. You could miss out on a high-value customer without even knowing it.

  1. Email validation companies are only as good as the data they match against

Even the largest and most reputable companies that manage or verify contact records will have some errors and inconsistencies. Take LinkedIn for example – although the site claims to have over 128 million members in the U.S., when you account for spammers and fake profiles, the number is really closer to 100 million. Find a validation provider who can prove to you that their verification database is as close to perfect as possible – or at least closer than any of their competitors.

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