More and more online businesses are now realizing the importance of email validation. It is a process that must be done regularly to keep your business mailing list up to date and prevent sending out scores of unnecessary emails that bounce back to you. The higher your bounce rate, the more business you end up losing. Email validation fixes this problem and in turn improves the business’s sender reputation.

Brief Introduction

In general terms, email validation refers to the process of checking whether a given email address exists. The entire process involves validation and verification. Validation is also called scrubbing as it removes all the unnecessary garbage from the business’s mailing list. This garbage comprises of spam traps, dead email addresses, misspelled emails etc. If these garbage email addresses are not removed from the business’s mailing list, email messages will constantly keep bouncing back from the dead addresses. This in turn will cause unwanted traffic on the server affecting communication with your potential and established customer base. After scrubbing comes verification. First let’s try to understand the points in the validation/scrubbing process:

Checking against known bad domains – certain domains are notorious for being spam related. It is best to remove all email addresses with these domain names.
Removing emails with unwanted extensions – if your business is only targeting customers domestically or in a certain set of countries, email addresses that go to other countries like .uk, .ru etc. should be removed.
Removing duplicates – having duplicate email addresses just makes your list longer without bringing in any extra business.
Removing email ids that contain only numbers – email ids like [email protected] or [email protected] are generally spam related.
Removing improperly formatted email addresses – legitimate email addresses will have correct formats like [email protected].
Detecting and removing disposable email addresses – mailing temporary email addresses is just a waste of time.
Removing of frequent complainers – some people do not appreciate marketing emails and regularly mark them as spam/unsubscribe from lists. It is best to remove these email addresses from the mailing list.

Weigh the pros and cons

Just like any process, the email validation process is not 100%. There will be a few percent garbage email addresses that escape the scrubbing and remain in the mailing list. Also, you may lose a few good email addresses in the process. The business’s scrubbed and verified mailing list will get contaminated again over time. Thus, unfortunately email validation is never a permanent process. It should be re-done regularly to keep the mailing list as clean as possible. As the overall positive impact of email validation is much bigger than the negatives, it is highly recommended for web related businesses.

Email verification

Next comes the email verification process. The verification process takes each email address individually and checks if it is valid. This is way more expensive when compared with the validation/scrubbing step. Hence, it is important that scrubbing is done efficiently to reduce the verification cost. This step individually analyses each remaining email address in the list and declares it valid or invalid. This is important because constantly sending emails to invalid addresses will badly affect your business’s send score, IP and server. Unlike the first step of email validation/scrubbing, email addresses are not removed from the list. They are only declared valid or invalid.

Good email validation services

There are many good providers catering to the email validation services. The free versions usually result in lower accuracy than the paid ones. The service you choose will depend on the size of your business’s mailing list. The process can be carried out individually for each email or in bulk. Following are some email validation providers rated very highly by experts. Each of these have recorded an accuracy of over 95% in their email validation service.
1. Zerobounce
2. Xverify
3. HuBuCo
4. BriteVerify
5. QuickEmailVerification
6. EmailListVerify
7. NeverBounce
8. MailboxValidator
9. CaptainVerify
10. Kickbox

To summarize, spam traps, honey pots, dead email addresses and misspelled email ids will always enter a business’s mailing list. These will increase the bounce rate, spoil the business reputation and in turn affect the customer base. Ridding the list of this garbage is of utmost importance. Email validation is a process which if done regularly, helps online businesses keep their mailing lists clean and indirectly gain and maintain a good customer base.