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email list cleanup

Posted on 2012-04-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-18
what is a good software to clean email lists ?
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Question by:goodluck11
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5 Comments
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:DrDamnit
ID: 37826227
Umm.... it's a little more complicated than that. What's wrong with your list?
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Author Comment

by:goodluck11
ID: 37827870
Its old, has bounces, and not sure many are correct. There are programs for this, not sure which one actually works.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:shalomc
ID: 37848738
You have 2 issues.

Deduplication is easy, and can be done by any semi-competent dba or programmer. Any program that promises deduplication is likely to work.

Validation is hard. You have to actually send email to all of the list, track bounces, and clean the list accordingly. It is a whole process that takes a lot of time and effort.
I wouldn't trust packaged software that promises to easily validate your list. I would try to use a service that may already have validated millions of emails and validates by crossing your lists with their lists.

In any case, please don't do the despicable practice of using a return address out of your domain, dumping the bounces and rejects on innocent 3rd parties.  Pricks who do that eventually run into crazy bloodhounds like me who know how to track and how to bite :)
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Author Comment

by:goodluck11
ID: 37854098
Thanks, but there has to be some good software out there to text valid emails...?
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LVL 33

Accepted Solution

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shalomc earned 500 total points
ID: 37854873
the trick is in the word "good".

It seems easy to ensure that an email address is syntactically correct,  
BUT:
Does the domain exist?
Is the user a valid user on the domain?
Is the mailbox open to receive new incoming mail?

There is a technique to "knock on the door" of the target mail server using the SMTP protocol and the RCPT TO verb, but today most of mail servers will accept any email to their responsible domain, and bounce it later if it is invalid.

Validating a large number of emails is a challenging process, and not technically trivial, and I have grey hair :)

If you are serious about cleaning your email distribution list, I suggest that you find a service that specializes in this business and that you can trust to do this for you.
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