Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Dummies Prove a Point

How well does your subscription process handle improperly entered—or clearly malicious—email addresses? If the findings presented in a whitepaper by FreshAddress are any indication, the answer might be: not so well.

For its study, the email marketing service created 13 dummy accounts that replicated typical errors. In addition to those with obvious red flags (eg, and misspelled domain names like yahoo and hotmial, they included basic syntax errors like:

-A comma instead of a period
-A missing .com
-An extra @ sign

Ideally, a website's sign-up system will recognize these problems and respond to the user with a prompt to try again, and brief suggestions on how to resolve the specific issue. But FreshAddress found that major online retailers accepted nearly twice as many invalid addresses as they rejected—a full 63.4 percent made it through to the list. Even the strongest performers blocked only 6 out of 13 bad addresses.

FreshAddress notes that these retailers did a better job of identifying syntax errors. What really tripped them up, though, were misspelled addresses, dead accounts and—worst of all—bogus accounts.

The Po!nt: Sloppy sign-ups can cost you. According to the FreshAddress whitepaper, “It is estimated that the typical Internet retailer who emails to its house list loses almost $7MM per year in net revenues due to invalid email entry on their websites.”

Source: FreshAddress. Download the whitepaper here.

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