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Understanding Email Verification and Hygiene | What’s The Difference?

If you’re an email marketer there’s no doubt that there is a constant misconception between the services of email hygiene, verification, and validation. Getting any two email verification companies to agree on anything can be harder than wrestling a grizzly bear, especially when it comes down to terminology. One company’s verification is another’s validation or hygiene. The difference between the three can be misleading, and often confusing. Now that Verizon’s Oath controlled emails (Yahoo, AOL, Verizon, etc.) are no longer valid, more and more verification providers are changing their ‘language’ from verification or validation to hygiene. This is a serious topic that needs to be addressed for the sake of all email marketers. You need to be able to rely on a verification AND hygiene provider that can detect all types of email threats, not just the detection of valid or invalid emails.  

In this article, we will discuss the difference between email verification, validation, and hygiene, how to tell if your provider is really conducting email hygiene and dig deep into a few threats that could be hiding in your data. 

What is Email Verification?

Email Verification is a type of service that identifies valid or invalid email addresses, typos, and greylistings. In other words, it “verifies” that the email address on your list is connected to an active inbox. That’s it. You heard it here, verification cannot detect malicious threats such as spam traps, bot, honeypots and much more. Validation services can’t detect these problem accounts either. 

What is Email Validation? 

Email Validation goes even further than a simple server ping. Validation uses a third-party data source to confirm that the email address in question is indeed valid. The point is, when it comes down to it, that verification and validation have the same purpose. They detect if your email is active or inactive, by asking the domain server and confirming that information with a third-party source. But neither of those methods address the real issue. Spam traps, honeypots, malicious moles, bots, screamers, seeded trackers and other threats that cannot be detected by simple Yes/No ping. Real-time verification/validation is a necessary tactic to ensure that your emails are invalid, but it is an incomplete defense. There is only one method that can detect them all, email hygiene. 

What is Email Hygiene?

Email Hygiene is the process of identifying “problem” email accounts from email lists. Email Hygiene can go way beyond simple verification and validation by identifying harmful email addresses hiding in your data. Some providers will remove these emails from your list, but at Webbula we simply identify them and tell you what the actual risks are in using them. This gives you the opportunity to judge your own tolerance, and it doesn’t destroy any data. Threats are categorized and rated to make the final decision as easy as possible. Reputation, Fraud, Delivery, and Conversion threats are identified and labeled for you. 


Know Your Email Threats 

It’s crucial to know the types of threats that could be hiding in your list, more important which threats are detected by email hygiene, verification, and validation. Our marketing team has created this handy guide about a few common threats that as an email marketer you could be dealing with. Now you will have the ability to know which provider is best for your threat needs. 


So Why Is This Important? 

Now you can see there isn’t much of a difference between email verification and validation. The only functionality they have is informing you if your email data is active or inactive. As an Email Marketer, if you’re serious about improving your deliverability, which then leads to better open rates, clicks, and conversions, then you need a total email hygiene solution.  

Improving deliverability starts with a good sender reputation. If you’re sending to a list that hasn’t been email hygiene approved, you are asking for your sender reputation to suffer. Your sender reputation measures how often you send, how many emails you send, and the bounces that occur, spam traps hit, among other factors. These results are based on your IP or domain. This number tells you how often you are hitting someone’s inbox or getting bounced into a spam folder.

An International Dating Website came to Webbula in need of emailHygiene to help improve their deliverability and sender score.  “Webbula told us not only which email were invalid but also flagged which emails were malicious and needed to be segmented, it was very helpful. Thanks in part to Webbula’s services, we’ve seen a significant increase in revenue” -said by a member of the organization responsible for their email marketing.


To create a successful email campaign you need email hygiene, not the email hygiene that verification providers say they can do, but true emailhygiene – Webbula emailHygiene. 

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