Friday, 20 January 2017

Information security systems in the email validation industry ISO27001:13

Email Hippo has raised the standard for the email validation industry

Great news!

ISO27001:13 is an international standard that’s the cornerstone of best practise for information security.

Our information security management systems are now ISO27001:13 certified. That means we offer ‘best of breed’ systems on an international level and that we are committed to maintaining and continually improving our systems.
To gain the certification we had to align with the most stringent standards. Our information security management systems have been audited in detail by an independent authority.

So why did we put ourselves through the challenge? To show that we are different. And better.

We sit proudly alongside just over 10,000 companies in Europe that have taken the time, effort and expense to invest in their information security systems and attain this standard. Better than that, we’re one of only 2 companies providing a standalone email checking service that is ISO27001:13 certified. (The other guys are an awful lot bigger and cost an awful lot more☺.)

At Email Hippo we’re committed to offering our customers ‘affordable excellence’.

It’s a proper ongoing commitment that’s at the centre of everything we do. That’s why we have taken the time, effort and expense to become accredited to an ISO27001:13 standard. We make excellent email validation accessible to all companies, whatever their scale by keeping our standards high and our prices realistic.
This day and age, with data breaches and identify theft making daily headlines, you need to be sure you can trust any company that has access to your data. But when you’re choosing an email validation supplier it can be hard to make ‘like for like’ comparisons. The industry is full of technical jargon and because email checking is usually delivered online, you rarely get to meet the people who will be involved. You can't look people in the eye, yet you are required to trust them with your data.
Our new accreditation is proof that your data is being treated with respect, that our systems are robust and that you can trust us.

ISO27001:13  - the little logo that is a big deal to Email Hippo.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Data we supply about your emails

What do we tell you about your emails?

Email Hippo customers have different reasons for using our services, so the information we provide about the emails we check is important for different reasons.

Here's a quick spin through the end-points that we report on.

One Time Lists

One Time List Dashboard options
When you send us a list of emails we take great care to give you your data back in the same order it arrived in. We simply add 5 columns to the end of your data. The columns show you the following;

1. Confirmation of the email address we checked
2. Status (OK / Bad  / Unknown.)
3. Additional status information
4. Domain country code
5. Mail server country code

These 5 columns give you the information you need to clean your email lists. In addition it helps you cross check the location of domains and mail servers, which may be useful information to you commercially.

Emails verified using Realtime API

Customers using our API to check emails receive additional information about each email address.
The columns are;
Realtime API Dashboard options
1. Confirmation of the email address we checked
2. Status (OK / Bad  / Unknown.)
3. Additional status information
4. Role (is the email address role based, e.g.
5. Free (is the email from a free email provider)
6. Disposable (is the email a disposable email address)
7. Domain  - the domain of the email address
8. User - named user

This information helps indicate whether the email is from a trustworthy source. Information about free and disposable email addresses is often used by our customers to filter against potential fraud. It's also valuable to indicate the quality of an email list.

Both sets of services are available to all our customers from their dashboard.

For all lists, we provide dynamic, useful reports that give visual information about your list and the characteristics of the email addresses.

Our development process includes further end-point reporting, to ensure the information we give helps customers make informed business decisions. We're especially active in developing end-points that help customers counter fraud. If fraud is a concern for you, please stay tuned for news of our upgrades and updates. We are doing lots of things that you will like...

If you're curious about the additional information we provide for each status, read about our codes here.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

EmailOnDeck Blacklisted in Spamhaus

Popular Disposable Email Address Provider Blacklisted

Email Hippo Dislikes DEAs

It's no secret that Email Hippo considers Disposable Email Address (DEA) services as dirty and risky (especially for online merchants subject to card chargeback fraud). For more information on DEAs, including a free online tool to check for Disposable Emails, see here.

Spamhaus Agrees

It seems that the worlds most widely used email anti-spam system agrees with Email Hippo it it's views on Disposable Email Address providers!

During pre-production testing for our soon to released Version 3 email verification API, we received and interesting assessment from Spamhaus on the current (as of November 16th 2016) EmailOnDeck alias domain.

SpamHaus Assessment of EmailOnDeck Alias domain - 11/16/16

It seems that SpamHaus takes a dim view of email services promoting scam material.

On a recent visit to, we received a pop-under screen promoting a well known "binary options" scam. Screen shot below:

EmailOnDeck promoting Scam Binary Options

For more info on the "Oxford Method" scam, see

More About EmailOnDeck

EmailOnDeck is a DEA provider. It prides itself on being evasive to detection. From the EmailOnDeck FAQ:

How is this different from other temporary email sites?
The short answer is this service was created by a team of professionals that know how email systems work.  It's pretty trivial for most websites to detect whether an email address is temporary or not.  When websites know your email address is temporary, they can block you from signing up with their services.  EmailOnDeck makes it very difficult for websites to recognize our email addresses as temporary.
Your emails are only viewable by you. Other temporary email address services allow anyone who knows your email address to view all your emails.
Does it work?
Yes!  We pride ourselves on giving you email addresses that work on all sites and apps.  If you ever come across a site that doesn't allow you to use our email address, please tell us.
*NOTE: Sometimes sites will claim an email address is "invalid" or "already registered" but really what they are doing is blocking you from their site by either your IP address or cookie.  Please try from a different IP address and clear your cookies, local storage and cache if our email address doesn't seem to work.
If you have tried the techniques above and it still won't work, please let us know and we'll investigate as soon as possible. 

EmailOnDeck rotates its domains roughly every 48 hours to avoid detection.

Email Hippo & Spamhaus Vs EmailOnDeck

Email Hippo is already identifying EmailOnDeck domains. As of 11/16/16, it seems that spamhaus taking the issue seriously too.


Firstly, please do not fall for the scams promoted at EmailOnDeck.

Secondly, Email Hippo is already working on the significant task of enhancing the tracking and identifying DEA providers. Our list of DEA providers is already substantial and engineering is now underway to implement a system that automatically tracks / identifies DEA providers and the many domains / sub-domains that are used by DEA providers to try to cover their tracks.

Dislike DEA's as much as we do? Email Hippo has your back with a bunch of engineers working on the DEA problem right now.

Contact us for more information to learn more about enhanced DEA detection.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Omnivore warning from Mailchimp. Account Issue. What to do to get back on track.

Looks like there's a problem? Learn how to solve Mailchimp's Omnivore warning issue with email list cleaning

Mailchimp is great. It enables thousands of companies to send effective email marketing campaigns. We're big fans. Mailchimp may be annoying you right now for giving you an error message that sounds like a bear may come and get you, but please, hang in there.

This article contains four steps explaining how to go about cleaning your email address list so that you get passed Omnivore when you resubmit it.

As you are trying to load up data to Mailchimp we'll be talking to you as if you are a marketer, or someone who makes decisions about how your company communicates with the outside world. We think we've steered away from being too techy and where terms might need explaining we've provided links.

At the end there is more information about the likely reasons why Omnivore will have said "no" to your data. Just in case you're interested.

All you need to do to satisfy the Omnivore artificial intelligence system is clean up your email address list and resubmit it.

How to please Omnivore? Here's what you should do

Mailchimp's Omnivore System protects Mailchimp from bad data. Image is  a trademark of Mailchimp.

Step 1 - Use an Opt In Email Address List and proper names

Your goal is to have a list of email addresses from people who have double-opted in. (Not sure what double-opt in is?) If you are marketing B2B your email address list will be better for Mailchimp is it includes real names rather than anonymous job title addresses. Omnivore doesn't like some job title emails as they get out of date quickly. If your list contains  admin@ and support@ addresses they will be blocked by the Omnivore.

If you don't collect email addresses through a double opt-in process,  you should take steps to change the way you gather your email address data. This will benefit you in all sorts of ways in the long run, including saving costs, improving returns and improving customer satisfaction.

If you are happy with the way your data has been collected and you simply want to clean it and try uploading it to Mailchimp again you'll need to identify all the bad email addresses in your list and remove them. You'll need some help with this from an email validation company.

Email validation companies take email addresses and check each one to make sure it is deliverable. No reputable email validation company does this by actually sending an email to the people on your list. They simply "ping" an email address behind the scenes to verify it. There are a few email verification companies to choose from and they all provide services online.

But wait. What NOT to do

If your list is small, say, less than a thousand addresses, you might be tempted to save a few dollars and send a quick email through your usual email service provider,( ESP) inserting all the email addresses on your list into a BCC field and asking recipients to respond if they want to stay on your list. You could then use all the bounce backs and undeliverable messages to delete the bad email addresses from your list  - right? WRONG. Don't do this. You run the risk of having your ESP prevent you from sending any more emails.

Step 2 - Clean your emails using cloud-based software services

Whatever the size of your list, go online and look for "email address validation."  There are companies (like us) who will validate your email addresses and tell you which ones are OK to use and which ones are bad. Some will also tell you which addresses they just aren't sure about. No company should delete any addresses from your list. Use a company that will return your list intact, with added information to show which email addresses are good, bad or unknown.

Of course we'd like you to use our services because we know how good we are. We validate about 10,000,000 emails a day and we're excellent at it. We're the only people who can validate Yahoo addresses, so if you have lots of those it makes sense to use us. But you have choices. Generally speaking, with any email validation company you upload your email list, it is validated and returned to you with each address verified so that you can identify and remove the bad ones.

As a guide, every email address should take less than a second to check. The site you use to validate your list should offer a guarantee of at least 98% check rate. Remember, your data is an asset, so be careful who you give it to.

Verifying your email addresses is not generally expensive. As with everything, services vary and prices change. To give you an idea of what to expect, we're talking tens of dollars for tens of thousands of email addresses.

Less than 200 email addresses to check?

If you have just a few emails there are a couple of sites where you can upload them one by one to check. At Email Hippo we let you check up to 100 addresses for free and you can upload them all at once so it's easier than one by one by one...  You can also see our prices here and find out how easy it is to use our products.

Step 3 - Clean your list

Your emails will be returned to you validated. You'll need to clean the bad ones out. We can't cover off every system here but if you receive your list back and import it into an Excel or Access file, you simply need to sort the data and remove the addresses that are marked as bad. If you aren't sure, ask for help from your email validation company.

Step - 4 Get back to Mailchimp with your head held high

Once you have cleaned your list, removing all the addresses that aren't OK, you will be able to go back to Mailchimp and upload your revised list. As long as you've had your list validated well, Mailchimp will be happy and Omnivore will leave you alone. Phew.

Read on if you want to understand why Omnivore shut the door on your list

Something that we really like about Mailchimp is that in this world of spam traps, stale lists, black lists and bounces, Mailchimp is holding the fort and trying to keep things clean. Just like us.

You've seen an Omnivore Warning because the email address list you tried to upload simply isn't good enough for Mailchimp to use. Your list probably contains old addresses that are out of date. (Did you know that within a twelve month period, an average of 40% of email addresses will become invalid?) It might contain addresses that have bad syntax, job titles instead of names, or email addresses that have been flagged as spam-traps. (What's a spam trap?)

You might be thinking that Mailchimp is being picky and is out to get you. Not so. Mailchimp is just trying to stay out of trouble so that it can keep on helping people send better emails.
When emails are sent that have high bounce rates, (think of them "bouncing" off in-boxes instead of getting delivered into them) the email service provider responsible for mailing to the bad email address has done a bad thing. If this act of trying to deliver to bad email addresses continues, Mailchimp (or any other email service provider you use) could end up suffering by being blocked.

What does being blocked mean?

To be blocked is to be stopped by the internet police and prevented from sending emails. Imagine if Mailchimp got blocked. It wouldn't be able to send any emails, this would damage the company and also impact other people like you who use Mailchimp for a great service. Mailchimp exists to help people send better emails. It puts its' chimpy reputation on the line every time it sends an email on behalf of someone else. That's why Omnivore is the ultimate gatekeeper, it helps make sure Mailchimp stays in business.

By cleaning your email address list you can help Mailchimp stay clean whilst delivering your email messages.

Want to know more?

If you'd like to know more about cleaning your email address lists please get in touch. We are always happy to share what we know.

Was this useful? Is there anything else on your mind?
If this was useful, please share. If you think we can help with anything else, just ask. Always happy to give Hippo Help.

Useful links:
What is double opt-in? Forwarding you to the Direct Marketing Association. Lots of marketing articles to read here.
What is a spam-trap?  Forwarding you to What is My IP Address, information about tech stuff explained.
What is Omnivore? Sending you back to Mailchimp to read a bit more about Omnivore
What do you mean - "ping" an email address? A step by step article for technical people who want more information about how email verification works.

Monday, 10 October 2016

UCEPROTECT. Email Hippo views and update to our services

UCEPROTECT blacklisting

We have worked in the email business for many years and have frequently come across for a variety of reasons.

The company creates and maintains a black-list of IP addresses. It charges for removal from the list.
As a spam filter service it is falling in popularity, but domains associated with it remain live and individuals and companies continue to have their IPs black-listed as result of mailing to these domains.

We have knowledge of Uceprotect contacting data center(s) to  alert them to apparent user mal-behaviour. Once data centers have been contacted about a supposed spamming activity, the outcome can quickly result in denial of service until the IP is removed from the Uceprotect list.

Although promises are made about automatic, time-related, free removal, we're not so sure that happens effectively within the terms of the Uceprotect published policy.
We think IP addresses aren't always on the list for valid anti-spam reasons.
We disagree with block-listing IPs.
We believe that charging for removal of an IP address is bad practice, and when we hear it called "extortion" we think the hat fits.

We have a list of UCEPROTECT associated domains

For years we've been capturing domains that feed Uceprotect. We have decided to flag to our users if the emails we're validating are associated with Uceprotect. That way people have a choice about whether to mail to those domains.

Soon customers will see these domains flagged in their email reports as specific infrastructure. If you use Email Hippo to check your emails you'll see UCEPROTECT in a similar way to Yahoo, Gmail etc.  We hope this will help save some people from the stress, time and money of trying to delist their IPs from Uceprotect.

If you'd like to remove Uceprotect domains from your email data please keep an eye on our blog. We'll let you know when the service is live. Of course there will be no extra charge for this addition to our service.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Welcome to your new bulk email verification service from Email Hippo

Our gift to you - the best just got better!

More good news for bulk email verification users.  Your scheduled free upgrade v2.6 is live and includes the following new features;

Bigger file uploads - scaleable for your needs

We've increased the upper limit for your one-off upload files. You'll see a new limit when you log in to your portal. This increase will be of huge benefit to customers who routinely validate large files.

"How fast is it Simon?" "Lightning Fast!"

We've re-assigned our server workloads and introduced new servers in more countries. We've always been quick but we asked our Cloud Solutions Engineer, Simon to describe it. He isn't one for exaggerating, so when he said; "Lightning Fast" we knew we had something special.

Our IP is important to us, so without sharing secrets about Bulk Email Verification v2.6, the background processes you never see are extraordinarily efficient. Every milli-second we shave off our response time benefits you and we're very, very happy with our ability to deliver quick, accurate results.

Even easier to use; enjoy your new Match-Back feature with unlimited columns

If you upload CSV files with hundreds or even thousands of columns we'll extrapolate the emails, validate them and match the fresh data back. There is no limit to the number of columns in the files you upload. This new feature makes it easier for you to upload files and easier to use the data we return.  We think it will also help you as it means the email validation service we provide is easy for new members of staff to understand.
Special Notice: We receive entire databases and CRM records from time to time and fields can include sensitive information. Our data handling is secure and we conform to ISO 8000 Data Handling protocol but we want to point out that it is better practise not to send all your customer data outside of your environment. If you do choose to send us your entire database complete with customer information, rather than just the emails, be assured that it is secure and we'll match back the results to make it easy for you to absorb. If you'd like to know more about our data security we're happy to answer your questions.

Here is a useful article about data security in the cloud.

Can your business cope with a successful marketing campaign?

Silo alert! 10 Stages and questions to help you deliver better campaigns this season.  

What does success look like for your next online retail campaign? If your business is organised in silos, your successful campaign can show up weaknesses in other departments. Not ideal for team morale... it can create negative views of your campaign and hamper future campaigns.

Whatever your sector, here is a useful set of 10 key stages with questions to help you identify silo risk points and build  a successful online marketing campaign this season.

1. What will success look like? 

Increased revenue? Profit? Volume? To be better than last year?
How will you measure it?
Do you have systems in place to measure the impact of your campaign across the silos?
How will colleagues learn about your plan?
Is your internal communication going to support you or let you down?

2. What products are you offering?

Is your range ready?
What are the hero products?
What are your messages?
Does your warehouse have stock?
What are your low-stock trigger levels?
Can you restock within the right time frame?
Does the warehouse know what the heroes are?
What are your stress-test limits online and in fulfilment?
Does fulfilment need to change any processes to deal with increased sales?
Will your delivery system  / carrier cope with increased orders of particular products?
Any issues with contract parameters or service levels?

3. If you have bricks and mortar 

Are you promoting across physical channels as well as online?
Do you have collateral ready for an in-store campaign?
When will it go live - is it planned with your merchandisers? Any issues?
What incentives are you using off-line? How are they being communicated?

4. Are you running consistent messages across all your channels?

Is you off line marketing booked, ready and relevant?

5. Is your direct marketing ready?

Who will you be contacting? How? What message?
Is your data ready - lists clean?
Is your artwork good to go and your hero product imagery consistent?
Incentives in place?
Delivery scheduled?

6. Imagine someone wants a red dress - one of your hero products

Do you know your keywords?
Are you visible online in relation to your chosen bid words?
Anything you can add to your content now that will help your SEO?
Is your online merchandising the best it can be? Photography, zoom, descriptions, pricing and terms all good?
Do you need to improve website features?
What are the priorities that will make a difference if you are up against time?
Is you budget set and your campaign ready to run?
How are your campaign limits triggered?
Who is responsible for monitoring spend and interpreting unexpected negative words and competitor activity?
Do you have a training gap in online advert management?
Do you have time resource in your calendar to deal with changing your bids?
Have you got parameters agreed for any budget changes?
Are your landing pages designed and the URLs linked up with your adverts?

7. That shopper keeps searching for a red dress

Do you have a wish-list feature?
Is your re-marketing campaign set up?
What channels will you re-market through? Display / Search / Mobile / Social Media?
Is your re-marketing budget in line with end goals, or are you chasing unprofitable sales?
Have you looked at historical data to see what your re-marketing success points are?
If you offer online or telephone help, do your service team have good product knowledge?

8. Customer buys your red dress

What happens online - do you offer bundles, related products and free delivery?
Guest check-out?
Email validation?
Is your merchandising good enough to overcome risk concerns about key product characteristics?
Do you have enough stock of your support products if you are bundling goods, or will you have to split despatch and erode profits?
Will goods arrive quickly and in good condition?
Will your auto-emails make related product suggestions and remember anniversaries?

9. Customer returns the dress

Are you a no quibble company?
Will your refunds work?
Do you have auto-emails to get in touch with relevant messages?
Will you send voucher incentives to encourage more shopping?
How will you learn from the return?

10. Relationship building

How do you stay in touch?
How often?
How do you measure engagement?
How will you capture ideas and data this season to guide your campaign in 2018?

These ten stage questions might have made you spot a gap in your campaign this season. If you're all on target and have time to spare for a quiet read with a coffee, here are a couple of interesting articles.

For a recent look at the economic impact of Black Friday on seasonal trading in the USA, this article from The Balance might surprise you. Seasonal trading statistics for the USA.

A UK daily paper, The Guardian gives insight into the effect of Black Friday on the UK high street in 2015.  Black Friday - The Guardian

From the same source, this article explains why one high street retailer failed to deliver a successful campaign - because demand outstripped delivery capability. Argos - The Bad Black Friday story. Don't let it happen to you!