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Mailing List Accuracy Becomes More Stringent

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Mailers face additional penalties in not meeting new Post Service regulations requiring valid, deliverable addresses


The newest wrinkle from the U.S. Postal Service impacts businesses with substantial mass mailing efforts. New Mail Update regulations are intended to limit an unacceptable percentage of wrong addresses, which are costly for everyone concerned.

The key word here is "unacceptable."

Be warned: The threshold at which the Postal Service measures adequate mailing-list accuracy and the way it does it are changing dramatically.

Bad addresses already are costing businesses millions. When a letter or bill, package or flat, gets bounced as undelivered as addressed (UAA), the business and its mail house are on the hook not only for penalties, but also for poor customer communications and marketing effectiveness, lagging account receivables, fewer sales, and more unhappy customers.

As for the Postal Service, it doesn't want to eat the cost of hauling the bad stuff back to the mail facility, sorting it again, mailing it back to the mailer, and so on. It's no wonder the Postal Service has been levying compensatory costs on mailers with bad databases.

Now, as of March 1, 2018, that cost promises to become increasingly onerous--or shall we say increasingly motivating.

The old rules mandated that addresses be screened via a machine with the ungainly name of Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup Instrument. It's acronym, MERLIN, implies a certain magical ability to detect bad addresses, but in reality all these machines have been doing was randomly checking a portion of a submitted mailing list. If a generous 30 percent or more of that sample was faulty, the mailer was hit with a fee of 7 cents per piece for the percent of bad addresses above that threshold.


Now, the Postal Service will be leveraging its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) technology to check every single address a mailer submits in bulk for accuracy, not just a random sample.

Further, the allowable threshold of 30 percent of bad addresses is history. Now, if only 0.5 percent of addresses are faulty, failing to mirror Postal Services change of address (COA) records beyond a certain cutoff point, the mailer is hit with an 8 cent fee on each bad address beyond this vastly more stringent threshold.

The potential for thousands of dollars in penalties due to out-of-date mailing lists is now very real.


What are direct mailers to do to achieve 99.5 percent address list accuracy?

First, they should get current with all change-of-address requests ... if they can. Each year some 40 million Americans move, and only a portion bother to submit COAs, and those that are filed only gradually find their way into the Postal Service's system.

Further, mailers should assure that all addresses match official Postal Service formats of street address, apartment number, accurate city name, and the like. It's amazing how often an addressee himself doesn't know what town he lives in ("Is it Hollywood or Los Angeles?"), and these sorts of things can easily gum up a mailing list.

Yes, there are some Postal Service aids, but they're not particularly user friendly. One service allows mailers to electronically receive change-of-address information after a mailing--a little late to avoid penalties, wouldn't you say?--while another provides a database of 160 million "permanent" change-of-address records.

A "permanent" database? I saw you smile!

Fortunately there are easier, more accurate, and less bothersome solutions. 


·         Melissa's SmartMover cloud service provides fast, easy change-of-address processing for U.S. and international addresses that are accurate in real time. With SmartMover, direct mailers can be assured of staying on the right side of the Postal Service's new Move Update and COA regulations, while increasing customer lifetime value and mailing ROI.

·         Melissa's Address Verification Service verifies addresses in the U.S. and worldwide, also in real-time. We're talking complete, standardized, and accurate USPS addresses while correcting errors and adding in missing components like postal codes.

·        And Melissa's Personator cleans, verifies, standardizes, and completes names and addresses (as well as phone numbers and emails if you need those), matching names to addresses to authenticate the identity of a customer.


Staying on the right side of the U.S. Postal Service's new Move Update regulations is good business for direct mailers and mail houses. It avoids costly penalties while assuring optimal mailing accuracy and customer satisfaction.


And you'll want to do it with a partner who's the leader in data accuracy: Melissa.


Verify National ID like SSN with Personator

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by Michael Johnson, Sales Engineer

Personator has never yielded the crown of contact verification, and that is no accident.  Personator is the quintessential contact verification service.  Nowhere else can you find a fast, no maintenance, easy-to-use web service that will give you a level of certainty your data is not only good, but that it is correct.  One of our newest features in our flagship service to be released is Personators SSN Verify.

Personator SSN Verify adds an integral feature of contact verification to Personator that had not existed before: the ability to verify that an individuals' SSN belongs to them.  Personator now has the ability to take in a social security number and full name and tell you whether or not they match.  We chose not to stop there, but we give you the power to dictate how much of your SSN and name to verify.  Do you want to know if your last name was correct to the SSN? 

What about the correct full name to last 4 SSN?  Our newest option, SSNCascade, allows you to determine whether or not we attempt to drill down and verify multiple segments of your social security number and name combination.

·         Full Name and Social Security

·         Last Name and Social Security

·         Full Name Last 4 Social Security

·         Last Name Last 4 Social Security

We don't just stop at verifying the social security number and name; we crank up the volume to 11.  If the SSN and Name are verified as a match, we allow you to have the option to append information regarding that person.  We are able to append the address, phone, email, demographic data, and census data all regarding the matched individual.

Personator is our flagship product which leads the industry of contact verification. You will be hard pressed to find another single product with so much potential.  We continually add new features and sources to our arsenal, which not only gives the end user more options but will give them more confidence that their data is correct.


Looking for Someone? Try our New Personator Search

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Personator Search is a new cloud based solution provided by Melissa that allows users to retrieve multiple verified contact records based on an input address, name, phone, or email. With this service, power users can easily parse through multiple individuals at a single address, multiple individuals with the same name, and more to get precisely the record they are looking for.

In a Nutshell

In essence, our Personator Search will take in a user's input information, search against a massive multi-sourced database, and return all information we have associated with those inputs. The user can then parse through their results to find the individual, address, phone, or email they are looking for.


A Full Suite of Information

As stated above, Personator Search can return contact information based on an address, name, phone, or email input. More specifically, the outputs include:

·         One full name per record

·         One current address per record

·         Move date for the current address

·         All previous addresses associated with the record

·         Move date for the previous addresses

·         All phone numbers associated with the record

·         All emails associated with the record

·         Date of birth

·         Date of death

What an example XML format response may look like:

XML format.png

Complete User Control

Data Management

While Personator Search will return up to 500 individual records with an extensive amount of information in each, the user can impose limits on responses to prevent overwhelming intricate data retrieval and management processes. Each response is split into pages, which by default contains 10 records per page. However, the user can use built in options to change the amount of records per page, the maximum amount of phones or emails returned, or even return every record simultaneously.

Search and Sort

In addition to controlling the amount of data and what kind of data is returned, the user can also control how their information is used to search Melissa's massive contact database. The search type option will allow the user to select what piece of input data is the primary pivot when verifying or appending information. Let's say for example, an address, name, phone, and email are all entered as an input. Search type will allow the user to find all individuals associated with that address, all individuals of the input name, all individuals with the input phone, or all individuals with the input email, depending on the search type they choose. And if left blank, it will cascade through those options in order until records are found.

Search conditions also allow the user a higher degree of power with Personator Search. When set to strict, the service will only return records that match the inputs exactly. When set to loose, the service will return all records that fully and partially match the input information. Lastly, the progressive option will at first run a strict search, but progressively drop inputs if nothing is found initially. In addition to this, an age filter can be applied to return individuals of a certain age range.

Lastly, the sorting option tells the service to return records in a certain order. The response can be sorted by postal code, city, address, name, date of birth, date of death, move date, and Melissa Address Key, in either ascending or descending order.

Using Personator Search

Personator Search is currently available as a cloud solution, hosted by Melissa. Users can access the service through REST request, and responses are returned in either XML or JSON format. More information about Personator Search can be found at the link below.


By Samuel Chung, QA Programmer

Microsoft Dynamics® CRM has served as an important tool for many organizations to keep track of various key details such as Contacts, Leads, Competitors, and Invoices--in order to maintain overall business success. With Melissa's Dynamics CRM plugins, you can easily verify contact information at the click of a button.

Our plugins are easy to install, configure, and use. Know your contact information is clean and verified when you choose our data quality solutions. Install Global Verify, Personator, or Business Coder and ensure that your contact information is accurate and up-to-date.

Global Verify

Do you have data in your Dynamics CRM environment that requires validation on the global scale? Then, our Global Verify Solution may fit your needs. Global Verify validates names, email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses for over 240 countries.

Here is an example of our service in action: input with a name, email, phone number, and an address into the contact record.


After running our service, the results are as shown:


Scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see more detailed results as returned by the service. Here is an example of our phone and address details.


In addition, our premium Global Email and Global Phone services offer options such as live validation of those inputs. These services come at an additional cost, but will give you results in real-time. To activate, change your configuration from "Express" to "Premium" for each respective service.


The Personator web service will help you enrich your data for records within the United States and Canada. If your contact record is incomplete--say you only have a name and address--Personator will enrich your record by appending contact data such as an email address or phone number. In addition, it can also append demographics as well as census data.

Here is Personator at work:

After the input has been analyzed, here are the results:


Again, if you would like to see the details of the response, please scroll down to the details section of the page.


For a full list of all possible outputs, please visit the wiki page for each service.

Business Coder

Our Business Coder Solution will append firmographic information, such as revenue, number of employees, SIC/NAICS codes, and business phones. Input using various options, such as website, stock ticker, or address details. Choose which information you want to display or hide.


Dynamics CRM Options

In order to allow users to have more control over how our solutions might work in their environment, we have put certain options in the Configuration of each of our solutions.

Limiting Output

Often, you may not require every single service or field that our solutions offer. For example, if you are using our Global Verify Solution but do not require the use of service outside address verification, you can choose not to run those services. 

In the Configuration tab in the solution explorer, you can uncheck the undesired services at the top. Once unchecked, these fields and tabs will be hidden on the form in order to prevent users from being overwhelmed with unnecessary information. 

This is also true for our Personator and Business Coder solutions. In the section titled "Output Options," you can select which columns to output. The output options that are left unchecked will be hidden on the form as well. All of the output options that are left unchecked will not be sent to the web service. In other words, you will not be charged for fields you do not need on your subscription. 

Here we have a contact with all the output fields available.


We disable some of the options that we do not need:


And all the corresponding fields are now gone from the output.


Verify On Save and Hide Button


These two options work hand in hand. The "Verify On Save" option will allow users to fire the desired service, such as Personator, every time a record is saved. The "Hide Button" option will allow users to hide the "Personator" button that is present on the command ribbon when creating or editing a record. This will allow users to customize their use of these services; particularly if they find certain options undesirable.

Overwrite Input

This option will allow users to choose whether or not they would like our services to fill in the out-of-the-box fields in Dynamics CRM. For example, if a user would like to correct the user input for the address using our Personator service, they can leave this option checked in the configuration. In addition, this will allow users to fill in other out of the box fields wherever applicable, such as the longitude and latitude fields when using our Personator or Global Verify solutions. As you can see in the image below, the phone number was added to the Contact as well as the Street Name corrected from "Glenmont" to "Glenmont Dr."


5 Ecommerce Issues You Forgot--And How to Fix Them

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Want to increase conversions, provide customers with a better shopping experience, and cut down on cart abandonment? Check out these five ecommerce issues you probably forgot and how to fix them to solve these problems and more.

1. The Fat Finger Syndrome

Customers are terrible at typing--especially when it comes to filling out incredibly small contact forms on their smartphones. The fat finger syndrome accounts for many name misspellings, incorrect addresses, email bouncebacks, and invalid order submissions. To take the burden off the customer, try implementing a real-time autocomplete solution. By automatically showing verified addresses and emails as the customer types, you'll help alleviate fat finger syndrome and cut down on form abandonment.


2. International Postal Standards Vary

Did you know that in Japan, the last name goes first on shipping labels? And in Canada, the postal codes consist of letters and numbers arranged in a specific way? Those are just two examples of how address standardization can differ from country to country. So, if you're planning to go international, be mindful of varying postal requirements and make sure you have an address verification solution that can verify, standardize, format and transliterate. Solutions like Melissa's Global Address Verification do all of this and more--like adding precise lat/long coordinates to addresses for 40+ countries.


3. Upfront Shipping Matters

Amazon has shown the way towards better conversions, more sales, and cost-effective shipping with upfront shipping costs and delivery dates shown at every step of the order process. Now, you can, too! With Decimal, a comprehensive shipping rates manager and delivery dates predictor, you can provide your customers with calculations for shipping while they shop, without interrupting their purchase. That means more customers hitting Submit Order without delay.


4. Clean Data Affects Everything

Are you sure you're only storing accurate customer data? The data you collect directly on your site, via call-in orders, through internal systems, and mobile all need to match to show accurate customer records in order to better know your customers, increase upsell opportunities, and provide good customer service. By cleaning data before it enters your database and maintaining it after, you can ensure that every customer's name, address, phone, and email are accurate and verified.


5. Fraud Costs More than Lost Sales

Let's look at some stats--every year, businesses lose $3.5 trillion in revenue to financial crimes, and 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft in 2016 alone. Don't let fraud and chargeback costs steal your bottom line. Instead, use an ID verification solution like Personator®, which combs through 2.1 billion records to match name-to-address and verify that every customer is exactly who they say they are.


How to Know Customers Are Who They Say They Are

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In 2015 alone, 62% of companies were targets of payment fraud. As customers increasingly conduct their financial affairs online and via mobile devices, risk management and fraud prevention become more and more difficult. So, how do you know customers are who they say they are?

Short of reaching through the computer, tablet, or smartphone screen and verifying a customer with your own eyes, there are a plethora of ways that help you better know your customer, manage risk, and even prevent fraudulent transactions.

Age & National ID Verification

The first step to customer authentication is to match a customer's national ID (for example, their social security or driver's license numbers) and date of birth. Better authenticate a customer's ID documents and simplify compliance with any age restrictions or purchase laws, while improving customer service at the same time. Instantly verify that the customer purchasing your age-restricted goods is old enough to legally make that purchase.

Name-Address Matching

The second step is to match name to address to confirm the person buying your product or service isn't giving you false information. Personator leverages a comprehensive dataset containing billions of records to confirm and match current names and addresses with the highest degree of accuracy. Our powerful, real-time tools and services help you achieve entity resolution and compliance, as well as better know your customer and reduce, or even eliminate, the need for manual review.

Address Correction & Formatting

Next, you'll want to add in what's missing from customer data entry, legacy systems, sales input, and anywhere else your records come from. Add missing street suffixes, state/province/administrative area info, and standardize addresses to specific country formats using Advanced Address Correction (AAC) to verify that addresses are accurate and deliverable to real locations.

Contact Data Validation

Validation concerns more than just a name or address - it needs to look at all aspects of people data, from names and addresses to phone numbers, email addresses, geocodes, IP locations, demographics, and more. Determine that the given postal address for every customer is deliverable, the email address exists, the name associated with a mobile device and whether the phone number is active and callable, and the given name is in a valid format. You can even trace customers with geocodes and IP locators to manage risk and ensure compliance.

Melissa's Personator® World Edition can help meet all of these needs. Personator is a customizable web service that fits all your ID verification process and risk management requirements. It can help optimize onboarding and fraud detection in Ecommerce, AML Compliance, Customer Due Diligence, Card Not Present, Know Your Customer (KYC), and FinTech/RegTech arenas.

Try Personator free for 30 days to see how it can transform your business's safety and compliance.

Melissa's Improvements in Dynamics CRM

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Dirty data, in all forms, is bad for business. Here at Melissa, our primary concern is cleansing it from all of your platforms, including Microsoft Dynamics® CRM. Melissa currently offers many solutions for Dynamics CRM in order to combat problems with bad data.


We offer the Personator® solution in order to cleanse and enrich your U.S. and Canadian data. We offer the Global Verify solution to correct and verify your addresses, phone numbers, names, and email addresses on an international level. Soon, we will release the Express Entry® solution in order to prevent bad data from entering your environment. As we strive to offer you the best solutions, Melissa constantly seeks to improve its solutions to better suit your needs.


Coming in a future update, we will offer the following new features to our Express Entry service:

•          Personator Workflows

•          Reverse Lookup for Express Entry

•          Express Entry Integration into Global Verify

Personator Workflows

Dynamics CRM is utilized in many different ways in the business world. The creation of contact, account, and lead records is handled through many different environments that may not leverage the standard form. In addition, sometimes users may forget to use our services to cleanse and correct information before saving and storing a record. 

To address these issues, we have created workflows for the Personator solution for the currently supported out-of-box entities. These workflows can be activated to leverage our Personator service on records automatically, such as upon creation of a new record. This will allow users to create records from a different environment, such as a separate portal, to have their information automatically validated through our workflows.


Reverse Lookups for Express Entry

Different users enter address information in different orders. With Dynamics CRM's ability to customize forms, it is apparent that not everyone will start by entering a street address. With our new feature, Reverse Lookups, users can enter information starting from the most general piece of information down to the most specific. For example, now a user, after entering his or her default country, can begin by entering the postal code to determine the city and state of the particular record. After filling out these fields, the user can then enter in the street address and select from a list of addresses only in that particular city, state, and postal code.


Express Entry Integration into Global Verify

Many customers require different methods of verification. In order to address these concerns, we have integrated our Express Entry service into our Global Verify solution. Now, you can utilize the Express Entry service to autocomplete addresses when entering data as well as verify phone and email with the click of a button.

Fraud Prevention for Ecommerce Merchants

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fraud prevention blog article image 2.jpg

With online sales booming, creating a fast and seamless experience is key to customer satisfaction. However, creating a quicker yet safe transaction is essential as a merchant. According to LexisNexis, merchants are paying $3.10 (replacement costs plus fees) in costs for each dollar of fraud losses incurred.

How can you provide a seamless transaction for both your consumer and your business? Here are three steps for E commerce fraud prevention:

Step 1: Auto-Complete Addresses with Verified Information:

Customers are seeking a simplified checkout system, and when provided, it becomes beneficial for both you and the consumer. An easy way to do so is to integrate real-time address auto-complete solutions into Web forms that will help speed up order entries with reduced keystrokes. Not only will this make it easy for customers to enter an address with a type-ahead function but you will also be able to ensure that only clean data is entered into your database.

Step 2: Capture Clean Data & Verify ID

Data entry errors include inaccurate data (44%); typos (22%); and spelling mistakes (19%). The key to avoiding these data entry errors is to employ what we like to call a "data quality firewall" in order to verify accuracy of information. Capturing clean data from the moment it is entered will help save time, money and improve customer satisfaction with more timely shipments.

Step 3: Prevent Fraud with IP Local

IP local helps you gather information to protect web forms from spam and abuse as well as to identify problematic IP addresses or ranges. It can help avoid credit card fraud by flagging invalid transactions and in turn minimizing financial loss.

The successful delivery of products and services while being protected from online fraud are all dependent upon accurate data. Implement this easy 3-step process to successfully manage cleaning and maintaining data while keeping customers happy and preventing business fraud.

Check out our video to learn more about how to prevent fraud. Or visit our website and see everything we have to offer. 

Comprehensive Business and Lifestyle Data Enriches Customer Records, Improves Marketing Business Intelligence

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF - January 28, 2015 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and address management solutions, today announced the addition of demographic data to Personator, the company's flagship contact verification and append service. An all-in-one cloud service to correct and complete contact data, Personator now includes real-time lifestyle and segmentation data that helps boost targeted marketing efforts and business intelligence initiatives.

Personator is a full-contact authentication web service that goes beyond basic, discrete component data validation. Personator cross references the validity of the data as a whole, verifying customer records are deliverable and that names correspond to address, email and telephone data. This provides the basis for data quality uplift; records are completed with all contact points appended and enriched with missing information such as name, phone, email, address, demographic and geographic information. Adding to this are Personator's new demographic capabilities, which include date of birth or death, presence of children, renter or owner and length of residence, gender, household income range and occupation - providing users with the business and consumer information to understand current customers and better target new prospects.

"Personator's full contact authentication capabilities leverage multiple data sources to help companies gain a valid and singular view of their customer," said Bud Walker, director of data quality solutions, Melissa Data. "Diverse demographic data adds tangible value in real-time - appealing to a large cross-section of industries and companies looking for greater insight into how to speak to customers effectively for omni-channel marketing, cross-sell/upsell, and customer loyalty."

Personator is a unique convenient cloud service with no files or software to maintain. The service supports multiple protocols such as JSON, SOAP, XML and REST and is available in flexible packages for verification, updating and/or enrichment of contact data as needs require. Take a test drive of Personator in our easy-to-use Listware for Microsoft Excel application which can be downloaded here, or call 1-800-MELISSA (635-4772) for more information.

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