An Adventure in List Cleaning

photo by perthclotheslines

It felt like doing laundry. Throw in the dusty email addresses and out come clean ones, with all the grime left behind.

List cleaning involves 2 basic steps:

  1. identifying email addresses in your database that no longer exist or have been spelled wrong
  2. removing non-existent email addresses and correcting obvious typos

List cleaning was a new experience for us. We had anticipated it might be needed at some point so had done some research – enough to know that there were many options available online. We figured it should be easy to do when the need arose.

When the need did arise recently, I clicked my way to those apps we’d flagged as promising. I quickly discovered that it wasn’t going to be as straightforward as I had imagined (and hoped). The first 2 apps I tried left me scratching my head in puzzlement.

With no time to waste on a big learning curve, I did a new search and decided to try ListWiseHQ. What a pleasant surprise! It was easy to see what my options were and the applicable prices.

The reason for the list cleaning is that a client had old contact lists and wasn’t sure how valid some of the email addresses would be anymore. It turned out to be a useful process because only about 70% turned out to be clean email addresses. The application also corrected about 5% more. If we had sent his first newsletter to the ‘dirty’ lists, our client would have had a high enough bounce rate to flag his bulk email account. This has a variety of negative results and can lead to blacklisting.

When in doubt, clean. My recommendation for a list cleaning application is ListWiseHQ.