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Incentives & Input Errors

Fake it till you make it?

We live in a world where submitting fake email addresses is increasingly becoming a serious issue. More and more consumers are guilty of doing this when filling out forms, or giving out their email in response to surveys. It seems like an increasing percentage of people don’t want to be bothered by incentives, or else they feel like sharing information can be hazardous, or annoying, down the road. These changes in consumer actions are already starting to affect many businesses, and eventually, their potential marketing efforts.

Especially if the business doesn’t know it is happening. Fake emails or Disposable Domain generated addresses, can be extremely difficult to spot. There is no way to know ahead of time just how much of your email data could be relying on emails that are totally fake or expired. This can cause businesses to send marketing campaigns to email threats like spam trap accounts, malicious moles, bad domains, and many more hidden threats. All of which can result in a poor sender reputation, or much worse, noticed by a blacklist which has the potential to permanently or temporarily stop your account from sending any emails.

Businesses want to communicate with their customers. It is, after all, only natural. In some cases, they will use internal incentives to ask their consumer-facing employees to collect email addresses from their customers. This usually happens at a check-out counter, during a test drive event, or some other type of natural exchange. For every email collected the employee might receive some form of incentive. Input errors, such as typos, are common enough anytime a human interfacing with an electronic entry point like a computer screen, web form, iPad, or some other form of entry. But what if the employee is the one also adding fake or disposable domain addresses?

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For example, the recent Wells Fargo incident, where they had to pay $185 million in penalties and $5 million to customers because their staff opened more than 2 million credit card, checking accounts, and other types of accounts for their customers so that employees could meet sales targets and earn bonuses. Employees even created fake email addresses to enroll existing customers in online-banking services and issued them debit cards that they didn’t request. Due to this, the bank fired 5,3000 employees. And while this case is certainly much more than simply adding fake emails to a survey, it does serve to illuminate a major potential issue inherent in incentive-based efforts. That of oversight. In the case of email data, an API connected to a web form entry platform and a multi-method email hygiene service could help to mitigate bad email data entering the system in the first place.

Another company who had a similar problem was EDMC. According to The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “Lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice, along with Attorney Generals from 39 states, claimed EDMC illegally paid incentives to recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled. The suit demanded $11 billion in federal student loan money be returned and tarnished EDMC with allegations of fraud, deceptive marketing and steering students into debt they couldn’t pay back”. As in the case of Wells Fargo, this case is about much more than bad email addresses. But it again helps to highlight the issue of incentives and how important proper oversight can be.

Another similar situation happened with a grocery chain who recently sought Webbula’s help. The company incentivized their employees as part of a marketing program to collect email data on their customers in order to be able to better understand consumer wants and needs for future targeted campaigns. Nothing unusual, these types of marketing efforts happen all the time. Unfortunately, many of their employees struggled with collecting personal emails and decided to submit fake emails in order to earn incentives. At the end of the campaign, millions of email address were affected. And they had no idea any of this was happening. When it was time for the grocery chain to send out emails they got hit with a big surprise. Spam traps and many other hidden email threats caused this massive grocer’s email campaign to be blacklisted. They were suddenly no longer able to send, so they asked Webbula to help them get back on track.

Webbula emailHygiene was the solution their marketing department needed. With a combination of email verification and multi-method email hygiene, we were able to identify and flag the active and inactive email threats in their data. A simple verification solution would not have been enough to complete this task.

To learn why simple verification isn’t enough to check out the recent research report and Webinar by The Relevancy Group, co-sponsored by the data quality experts here at Webbula, “The Power of Email Verification and Multi-Method Email Hygiene”.

One way to help prevent input errors at the point of entry is by connecting to a solution that can detect typos, bad addresses, or Disposable Domains while they are being entered. This is done by what is known as an API connection. An API is a set of tools and protocols used to incorporate 3rd party applications to enhance the capabilities of your website. Multi-Method Email Hygiene is a marketing best practice and can also help prevent submission of fake emails at the initial sign up. By integrating the Webbula emailHygiene API into your webforms, emailHygiene can work to identify bad emails directly at the source.

There is much reason why it’s important to incorporate the Webbula emailHygiene API in your webform. It reduces the number of bogus emails you receive, which helps to mitigate the problems that can arise from bad email data finding its way into your database. Webbula emailHygiene is extremely customizable and can help your sales force become more focused. Think about it like this, if you have a webform on your site allowing people to sign up for more information on your product, then each submission goes into a rotation to your sales team. If some leads turn out to be bogus, it interferes with their chances of receiving good leads. All of which leads to wasted time and energy. To learn more about The Webbula API connection read our recent intelligence report.

In conclusion

The submission of fake emails is a growing problem. And while consumers sign up with fake emails when shopping or when responding to surveys, often it can be your own employees that are adding to the damage such bad data can cause. To avoid these situations, and be protected, you must be able to identify and correct the bad data that has found its way into your database. The solution is the powerful, customizable, solution of industry-leading multi-method email hygiene that can only be found inside Webbula emailHygiene.

So what’re you waiting for? Thousands of companies already rely on Webbula.


Be sure to check out these helpful Intelligence Reports:

The Trouble With Disposable Domains

Relevancy Group Webinar

The Cost of Poor Email Deliverability to Your Bottom Line

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