As database administrators struggle to keep email addresses in databases clean and accurate, web site form validation becomes key. At this point, the state of email address validation is poor. Feel free to prove it to yourself: go to your favorite site that requires registration, and enter email@example.com as your email address. More often than not, it will let you through no problem. Keep in mind that not only is it letting you through, but it is also storing that email address in an internal database. These databases get littered with bad addresses, which companies usually handle in one of two ways:
1. Ignore the problem and send emails anyway. This results in many bounced emails, and possibly getting blacklisted as a SPAMMER.
2. Hire temps to painstakingly pick out individual bad email addresses, or designate the duty to internal staff, this is a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Additionally, this is a reactive, not proactive, solution.
What you should be thinking at this point is “Why not stop the bad email address before it gets into your database?” It is essential to remove undeliverable email addresses and keep a clean mailing list. List hygiene will help you avoid sending out newsletters, broadcasts, and promotions to invalid addresses. Otherwise you’ll get tons of bounced messages. It’s not a secret that ISP mail servers can block senders’ IP for recurring sending to invalid email addresses.
As you might guess, there are different approaches to validating email addresses on web site forms. Generally, there is an inverse relationship between ease of implementation and quality of validation.
The following is an overview of the various levels of email address validation.
1. Base Level Validation – This is the type of email validation that most current web sites use. Code will generally be in-line and simply look for a @ and a . in the email address. This is extremely inadequate and needs to be upgraded. The reason that most sites use this method is that it is easy to code.
2. Base Domain Level Validation – This email validation is a step up from Base Level Validation, but still extremely inadequate. This level of validation only requires that the domain name of the email address be a valid registered domain. Many domain names are registered but cannot receive email. Additionally, the majority of registered domain names are not currently active mail servers. This is usually implemented as code or a component that does domain name registration lookups or possibly even standard DNS lookups.
3. MX Domain Level Validation – This email validation is currently the highest practical level. It is not 100% foolproof, but is a marked improvement over any lower form of validation. This level guarantees that the domain name of the email address is not only registered, but also that it is a live Internet host that can actually receive email. This is generally considered as the base practical level of email validation.
These days data is heaping around us at an alarming rate. We must strive to keep it clean and scrubbed if we expect it to be a productive and useful asset.
The following is a FREE Email Address Verification tool that uses all three of the above mentioned validation/verification methods. Enter the email address you would like to check and it will tell you if it is valid or not. If you would like to have your own website setup to validate email addresses before they are imported into your GoldMine database, or online database, contact First Direct Corp. today – Submit A Request
Finally, below is a SQL Query that you can paste into your GoldMine SQL Query tab and it will return all of the malformed email addresses in your system. This will help clean up the email addresses already in your GoldMine system. For instance it will return all email address missing the @ symbol or the .com or that have characters that are not allowed.
Note: Works with SQL based GoldMine systems only.
Because this query is looking for special characters it doesn’t display properly in a web page – please cut and paste the text of the query from here: Find Malformed Email Addresses
accountno, cs.contsupref AS ‘E-Mail Address’
(cs.CONTACT = ‘E-mail Address’)
WHEN cs.contsupref IS NULL
OR CHARINDEX(‘@.’,cs.contsupref) > 0
OR CHARINDEX(‘.@’,cs.contsupref) > 0
OR CHARINDEX(‘..’,cs.contsupref) > 0
OR CHARINDEX(‘”‘, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’(‘, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’)’, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’,’, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’< ‘, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’>’, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’;’, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’:’, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’[‘, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR CHARINDEX(’]’, cs.contsupref) <> 0
OR RIGHT(RTRIM(cs.contsupref),1) = ‘.’
OR CHARINDEX(’ ‘,LTRIM(RTRIM(cs.contsupref))) > 0
OR LEN(cs.contsupref)-1 < = CHARINDEX(‘.’, cs.contsupref)
OR cs.contsupref LIKE ‘%@%@%’
OR cs.contsupref NOT LIKE ‘%@%.%’ THEN 0
END) = 0
First Direct can offer other email validation strategies. If you’d like to work with us – send us an email.