Monday, 4 September 2017

Email Hippo Trust Score Explained

What do the Email Hippo Trust Score Results Mean?



The Email Hippo Trust Score is unique. It's an expression of the results returned when an email address is verified using our validation API from our More* product.

It's a simple score out of 10, calculated from results of 74 factors, that are fed into an algorithm. The algorithm takes into account relationships between the factors, importance weightings and heuristics.

The algorithm is a window onto our IP, so we'll talk around it but won't publish the absolute detail.

Two simple examples;

  •  we think an email that contains profanity and is listed with Spamhaus should not be trusted, so an Email Hippo Trust score will likely be 0
  • an email that is role based is not such a high quality as an email that is not role based, so there will be a difference between role and name email addresses

When do you see the Email Hippo trust score?


The Trust Score surfaces in two places. On one-by-one email checks via the Email Hippo dashboard, and within the results available from the API when it's used in any other environment.

From your dashboard, if you enter an email address to check, the results returned will show a score. By clicking each element of the results, it's possible to drill down into the email address and see up to 74 individual elements of results about it.

Here's what the score looks like on the dashboard; The results are for our support email address, which scores 10/10, with a Risk Score of 0 and a Mailbox Verification result of OK. What these four boxes are saying is 'yup, safe to send, email won't bounce, this individual is credible and trustworthy.'


There is an overall Trust score and sub-scores that are foundations for it. The sub-scores are Quality (safe to send) Overall Risk and Mailbox Verification.


Within the 'At a glance' menu on the left hand side, results are grouped together. Clicking on any of the group titles results in greater detail being exposed in the right hand panel. The screen below shows information relating to the spam assessment for the email address.  It includes results of checks for profanity, gibberish, dark web, disposable email address and spam listing with Spamhaus. the component part of this assessment is shown as a risk score - where 0 is very good and 8 is very bad.

The screen below shows the dashboard view of the detail within the 'Infrastructure' group.  It includes detail about the email service provider, mail server location and the SMTP banner. Hopefully you can appreciate that the Trust Score is a simple way of displaying multiple, composite elements.



The Email Hippo Trust Score results within the More API

Away from the dashboard with its graphic interface, an Email Hippo Trust Score is also returned within the datapoints of the More API. 

The API results are multi-dimensional, and it's possible to profile data to give a picture of results overtime / by comparison. Running a list through the API would give a user the data to group and report on characteristics of the list.  Capturing results from single returns at point of entry (e.g. sign-up forms) will enable users to profile email address scores and model links with customer behaviour.

The Trust Score is displayed as a single result, so it's possible to use the score to profile data and enhance its value.

What is the value of Email Hippo Trust Score?


The scoring is valuable as a decision making aid, a time saving resource and also as a measurement tool that can inform future policy. For example, the scoring system enables experimentation with email address quality; you could mail all emails within two scores to see at what point you get diminishing returns on your campaign. Or use it to find a relationship between the higher scores and higher click through rates. Data brokers could use the score as a pricing tool or indicator for a quality mark.

The Email Hippo Trust Score is completely unique within the email validation industry. It's a reflection of the need for more information about email addresses, and a way for us to share our knowledge and experience in a way that's easily accessible and useful.

For more information about the results our More API returns, including references to the Trust Score;

Read our documentation 
*The Trust Score isn't part of our Core bulk email checking product. Lists uploaded and processed through the dashboard using our Core bulk email checking service will not include a Trust Score.




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