BIG Address Verification Improvement!

We’re excited to announce a major improvement that will take our postal address verification and cleaning to a “whole notha’ level.”

NOTE: If you don’t want to read all of the history and just want to know what we changed, skip down to, “Now, It’s Amazing.”

Just OK…

If you were to ask us what we thought of our postal address verification, we would say, “just ok.” In theory, it should be awesome. When you send us a postal address to clean, we literally send it to the United States Postal Service. You might be thinking, “how could you get any better than that?”

We thought the same thing, but we found that the USPS service is super picky. If one thing is out of place, we get a response that basically said, “sorry I can’t help you.” The only choice we had was to mark it as “Needs Attention” and ask you to ask the attender. Although it wasn’t a lot of profiles relative to the size of your database, we felt like we could make it better.

Don’t 100% Blame the Postal Service

Believe it or not, there are an arcload^ of physical addresses that don’t receive mail. That means that they don’t appear in the Postal Service database. How many, you ask? Into the MILLIONS! (I was surprised too.) All of those addresses were being marked as “Needs Attention” and sent to you.

And…Us humans do some pretty goofy things when entering our postal address. Strange spellings, putting the house number on the second line and the street name on the first line, and even writing their living situation. After analyzing literally millions of records, we couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve seen something like, “Live here for 6 months and live down south the other 6 months” AS THEIR ADDRESS.+

The Postal Service address verifier doesn’t know what to do with that so you were having to fix it manually.

Bottom Line…we knew we could make it better.

“Although it wasn’t a lot of profiles relative to the size of your database, we felt like we could make it better.”

Now, It’s Amazing!

Some companies make it their job to solve this problem and they do it well…a lot better than the U.S. Postal Service, it turns out. They pull in data from multiple sources rather than just the Postal Service and they correct many of the human errors we looked at earlier.

So here’s the new way it works:

Step 1: Before we send it off for verification, we eliminate some of the addresses that absolutely cannot be verified. Things like a street name without numbers, people who write, “Would rather not say”, or anything we know won’t verify.

Step 2: We send the address to the U.S. Postal Service. This hasn’t changed. The Postal Service is all we need for most addresses.

Step 3: If the Postal Service returns an error, we send to another service. This is one of those services that can correct the more difficult addresses.

In the past, Step 2 was how we fixed postal addresses. Steps 1 and 3 are the new additions.

How Well Does it Work?

To measure the improvement, we ran lists of 100 records that the Postal Service rejected in the past, through our new cleaning engine. Of those 100, an average of 56 were eliminated from the list leaving only 44!

So doing a little extra cleaning before

We are SOOOO happy with this result!!!!

Remember, there are addresses in your database that are invalid so we’re not trying to get the list down to zero. We want to identify the truly invalid addresses so you can take action.


Why not just run it through the new service and skip the Postal Service?

The Postal Service doesn’t cost much. These other services are more expensive. The less we pay, the less we can charge you.

What took so long?

We’ve ran more than 3 million records and have the luxury of learning from that experience. The data we’re gathering from those records is helping us make the service better.

Are there other exciting things coming from this?

Yes! We’re excited about the demand we’ve seen from Canadian churches but disappointed that we haven’t yet offered them address verification. Soon, we’ll have the ability. Also, for churches in other countries.

*- Pardon my dated cool kids phrases.
^- Get it? Arcload? Kind of like, boatload
+- Bless their heart

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