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What are some solutions to scrubbing bad email addresses out of your database?

SeanWoodruff

Getting Refreshed
May 14, 2011
63
17
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First Name
Sean
My dealer group is looking for an easy solution to scrubbing all the bad email addresses out of our database. We have hundreds of thousands of customers and we use Autobase as our CRM, so that would be where we'd need to scrub them from.

Any easy solutions to this? What do you guys recommend?

Thanks a bunch.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,801
1,417
113
First Name
Alex
Have you spoken to AutoBase? They've been in the CRM business a loooooong time and probably have a solution for handling this.

There are definitely scrubbing solutions out there, but you should talk to AutoBase about what it would take to export a database and then reimport it. There may be significant limitations that make it best to go with whatever service they might provide over trying to find your own.
 

malinda.terreri

Getting Refreshed
Jun 4, 2011
67
25
8
First Name
Malinda
Sean,
I haven't worked with Autobase but here are a few options:

1. Make sure you've de-duped your database so you don't spend time and money cleaning the same email twice.
2. If you think your list is fairly outdated, you could run it through a list hygiene company to validate the list.
3. If you think your list isn't that outdated, you could send a re-engagement email: "Please confirm that you would like to continue to receive updates and service specials by clicking here." You remove the bounced emails and the opt-outs.
 

ZBennett

Getting Refreshed
Mar 4, 2011
38
6
0
First Name
Zach
I had the same question and what I found is that the methods being used by email verification software have maybe 50% accuracy and those email scrubbing companies are way too pricey and not much more accurate.

This forced me outside the box and I came up with my own process which cuts about 85-90% of the bad addresses. If you have a way of exporting them to me in some kind of CSV format and importing them back into your system afterwards, I can most likely help. If you want, message me and let me know what kind of flexibility you have with imports/exports of the data, how big of a DB we're talking about and if there aren't any big roadblocks for me I can probably help you out.

Another good practice which I've since implemented (and took me about 5 hours of hair-pulling research to finally uncover) is to setup a filter on your mail server and filter all the bouncebacks to a special "bounced" folder. Then what you can do is use a program to extract the addresses from all the failed messages into a list and run it against your database to remove the bad ones. Once every couple months, go through and remove all the bad addresses, which will at least keep the disease from spreading any more. =P HERE is a great tutorial on how to do it. They reference their email scrubbing software for the part of the process where you compare the bad addresses to your database, but you can easily dig around on Google for a cost-free piece of software that does the same thing and substitute it for this step.
 

Chip Grueter

Getting Refreshed
Jan 7, 2010
94
33
18
First Name
Chip
Another good practice which I've since implemented (and took me about 5 hours of hair-pulling research to finally uncover) is to setup a filter on your mail server and filter all the bouncebacks to a special "bounced" folder. Then what you can do is use a program to extract the addresses from all the failed messages into a list and run it against your database to remove the bad ones.

Does AutoBase sit between the mail server and client machines by chance? If not, you could also use a service like what ZBennett was able to do on his own with access to his mail server. Companies like Sendgrid sit between your outgoing messages and your customers and allow you to monitor bounces, opt-outs, open rate, link clicking....etc. Pretty useful info for low money and easy to setup.