email verification
Created on:
May 22, 2015

Email Verification: A Dummies Guide to Selecting a Vendor

Email Verification Vendor Checklist

Congratulations on your decision to join thousands of other brands that have made their web forms clean and Inboxes happy.  Now comes the fun part; deciding which email verification provider is best for your needs.  A well-constructed vendor evaluation process will help you identify the email verification partner that is best able to make your email addresses shine.

To take the guesswork out of the selection process, follow the below 4-step program to protect yourself from making the wrong decision.

Step 1: Credibility and Data Security?

Selecting a small, but reasonably sized, test group of email verification providers should be easy and take no more than a day or two.  Ask around for credible referrals, use tools like Google to find options that seem right for you, and research your options before making the invitation to join your test.

During the selection phase be sure to consider the importance of data security, privacy commitments, global presence, certification programs, and any other criteria you deem important to you.  After all, you are entrusting other companies with your customer data.  Don’t be shy when asking a potential vendor to prove its commitment to the protection of your business assets.

Step 2: Reasonable Scalability

Test volumes of 5,000 to 10,000 records are generally considered good tests.  Unreasonably high ‘test’ volumes are considered by vendors as attempted free verifications.  Accordingly, asking for unreasonably large tests will eliminate the best potential partner vendors and attract less reputable vendors.  If your goal is to find the best email verification partner for your business, be reasonable with your test volume.

 

Step 3: Select Your Verification Method(s) Before the Test

It’s very important that you only test verification method(s) that you plan to use after selecting a partner.  For instance, if you plan to use transactional APIs, but test a vendor’s files platform, you will have no idea how reliable this vendor’s production APIs are. To get the most accurate test, make sure you only test what you plan to use.

All vendors will offer the following email verification methods:

1)   Transactional APIs for web forms or databases.

2)   Batch file verification.

3)   Both API and batch.

Decide which methods you plan to use and don’t allow yourself to be talked into testing other options that are irrelevant to your business.

Step 4(a): API Test Verification

To properly test transactional APIs, make sure you test each vendor’s live production APIs.  Testing non-production APIs will inevitably give you results that could be very different from production results.  Production API testing will help you determine the following:

1)   Are the APIs easy to use?

2)   Are response times acceptable for your business?

3)   Is the API reliable or are you receiving responses for less than 100% of your requests?

4)   Are the API results accurate?

The above variables will give you a real sense of how each vendor will perform for you.  There is simply no substitute for a real test of the vendor’s live production APIs.

Step 4b: Verify Files Tests 

When testing a vendor’s batch verification service, it is important to set the test up in a way that accurately and equally tests each vendor against one another.  Make sure you take the following steps to get the most realistic apples-to-apples comparison of your email verification vendors:

1)   Seed your test file with 3 to 5 consumer addresses that you own or can create.  This will allow you to monitor these Inboxes to make sure a prospective vendor does not send email to your test addresses to provide their verification results.  Believe it or not, this can happen if you test the wrong vendor.

2)   Use the same test file for each vendor.  This will allow for an easy comparison of the test results.

3)   Send your test file to each vendor at the same time without advanced notice.  This will test each vendor’s ability to handle your request in a timely manner during normal business operations. 

4)   Set a maximum turnaround of 2 hours for your test file.  Legitimate vendors will process a reasonable test file quickly.  Setting a limit on turnaround will keep sneaky vendors from using alternative methods to verify your test file.  When this happens the results will not reflect what you can expect in production.  If a vendor tells you they need at least a day to process your test file - run the other way.    

Step 4c: Running a Multi-Method Test

If you plan to use both APIs and batch files you owe it to yourself to test both.  Use the above guidelines for testing in order to get a comprehensive view into how reliable, accurate, and trustworthy each vendor is during the selection process.

Email Verification Vendor Checklist Summary

In closing, a well-structured test process allows you to efficiently test the right email verification vendors, using the best methods to get the best results - all in a very short period of time.  Using the controlled process outlined above will prevent your test program from dragging on for weeks and yielding limited value.  Good luck, and we hope you’ll include our real-time email verification service in your search to find the best fit for your company’s email verification needs.

BriteVerify is proud to be a global leader in providing the highest quality email verification and real-time email validation – we have over 14,500 clients in over 130 countries. BriteVerify is committed to offering the best quality of service to brands of all sizes, all over the world. For more information on BriteVerify’s email verification solutions, please feel welcome to explore our main site.

Michael Flaum
Michael Flaum is a Founding Partner of BriteVerify Email Verification with a background in lead generation and affiliate marketing. He is currently focused on business development and global enterprise sales.