Can a free email checker be any good? Yes it can but you need to choose a service carefully. Learn what questions to ask an email verification service before signing up.
Email verification is a great way of getting good delivery results when your business sends out email based campaigns. Some of the advantages of checking email lists are:
- Reduced bounce rates on you email campaigns
- Protecting your business email send reputation score
However, if your business goes down the email verification or list cleansing route, it pays to be aware that not all email checkers are created equal in terms of the quality of results delivered.
Email Verification Is Not Easy
One of the reasons that various on-line email address checking services vary in terms of quality is that verifying email addresses is not easy from a technical standpoint.
Technically, there are a number of obstacles to overcome (I know most of them as our email verification system was designed and built several years ago by me) in order to deliver effective and accurate checking services for email addresses.
Some of the technical challenges are:
- Mail systems that have aggressive anti-spam policies in place preventing email box "pinging" (i.e. email verification) in high volumes
- Mail systems configured to prevent user dictionary inspections. Such systems respond "Ok" to every email address query issued against them. It is not possible to check email addresses effectively in these systems
Many developers think that building a system / software to do email address "pinging" is easy and can be accomplished in just a couple of dozen lines of PHP script. Whilst this belief is true to a certain extent, such simple scripts do not take into account the fine nuances of dealing with remote systems all with different levels of anti-spam protection. Also the simple PHP scripts can't scale to deal with the demands of processing large lists.
Many of our customers today, have previously tried the home-baked PHP approach and found out about accuracy, coverage and scalability challenges the hard way.
At the time of writing this article, there are a number of free email checkers on-line. Many are based on simple PHP scripts and suffer from the challenges mentioned above.
As a consumer, perhaps landing on a page with a "Check Email Address" box, it's all too easy to believe the results coming back but wait, how can you be confident that the results are correct? The answer is that, unfortunately, with the more simple script based systems, results are generally poor.
Beware Low Quality Results, They Exist - The Proof
Run this experiment for yourself.
Google search "Verify Email Address"
Run the following email addresses through several on-line free email checkers listed in Google search results:
- email@example.com [correct result should be "Bad"]
- firstname.lastname@example.org [correct result should be "Valid"]
- email@example.com [correct result should be "Valid"]
You should notice that several of the free services return incorrect results or perhaps just time out with a message similar to "Requested action not taken" (in other words, the service is not up to the job).
The reasons for this are that simple software scripts (as found behind many of the free services) are unable to deal with the complexity of doing email verification correctly and in a scalable manner.
If you commit your business email list to one of the lower quality list cleansing providers, best case scenario is that you'll be disappointed with the results. Worst case scenario is that your businesses email sender reputation takes a nosedive for an indeterminate amount of time affecting the delivery rates of future emails from your business.
Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)
Cheap things are not good, good things are not cheap.
So you understand the benefits of email verification to your business, great!
When assessing an email checking service, look carefully at the free / cheap options which could end up costing you more in the long run.
Click here to get started with our industry leading enterprise grade e-mail checker service.