Address Verification

Open Source Address Validation

By 1 August 2023April 11th, 2024No Comments
open source address validation

Open Source Address Validation

Open-source software is the best friend for companies with or wanting a significant online presence because of the numerous advantages it offers, including cost, flexibility, freedom, and security. In addition, open-source software is crowd-sourced, and its code is accessible by volunteers and community members. This means open-source software allows you to use, edit, and contribute to it to make it better suited for your unique needs.

open source address validation

Therefore it’s no wonder that businesses and companies that employ direct mail as part of their marketing efforts wish for open-source address validation. However, the truth is that you can not have an authentic open-source address verification for your business or company. Why? Because the address verification process accesses the confidential and authoritative database of the USPS. As the official keeper of the postal address of every US citizen, USPS can not divulge such sensitive information to just anyone.

Allowing access to USPS’s official postal address database could lead to many unnecessary complications, including attackers compromising address information leading to regular data breaches. Although there are certain limitations to open source address validation to access the USPS’s database, it does not mean that you have to sacrifice any address verification capabilities. There is a simple solution to accessing the data across USPS’s official address database, and that is to employ an open-source address validation API.

This article discusses open-source address validation in detail and elaborates on who needs open-source address validation and why. We further dive into the details of how open-source address validation is not the ideal choice for USPS addresses.

We further analyze the alternative to open-source address validation that you can employ for achieving your business goals, including address validation APIs. We also elaborate on different types of address validation APIs that can help you streamline your direct mail efforts so you can make a well-informed decision for your business.

Understanding Open-Source Address Validation

An open-source address validation tool is, as the name suggests, an address validation tool with an open-source code. An open-source address validation software implies that its code is accessible to the public. Anyone can access the code of an open-source address validation tool, read it, and even make changes to it if they so desire it. This sort of public availability and involvement can potentially enhance the code quality and also greatly help you in getting rid of any bugs in it. However, it also means that the tool is susceptible to security breaches of the original version.

Another thing you should keep in mind is that when an address validation tool is termed open-source, it does not necessarily mean that the tool is free. It is a common mistake among people and sometimes even businesses to mix up open-source and free tools together. Additionally, you must also be aware that open-source address validation is not as easy as it sounds because of the numerous practical challenges involved in it. Businesses and companies that require address validation for their communication efforts use specialized solutions for address validation.

Who Needs Address Validation Tools And Why?

An address validation tool is quintessential for any business or company that processes the address data of their customers. There are many organizations that regularly use direct mail as means of communication, which includes governmental bodies, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and many other enterprises. Direct mails can serve several purposes for the sender, including marketing and business purposes. Many business niches still consider direct mail to be the most effective marketing or communication channel.

The banking sector, for example, has always employed direct mail as a channel for banking & financial communications and has continued to do so over the past decades. One reason for this is that their customers often prefer receiving important documents such as monthly bank statements and invoices. Even with the digital world taking over all the business fronts, direct mail survived as an effective medium of communication because of its tangibility. Furthermore, unlike emails and text messages that often went unread by the customers, the direct mail generated curiosity in them to open and read the mailpiece.

However, for the direct mail campaigns or communication to work as planned, they need accurate data, and more precisely, they need accurate addresses. As businesses grew and modernized themselves, they were faced with an unprecedented challenge of bad data. More and more data kept pouring in, and finding good data among it became practically impossible. This was when address validation tools became a necessity for businesses. They could validate their extensive address database with USPS’s official address database and ensure the deliverability of their direct mails.

Benefits of Address Validation Tools

Address validation tools also provided the following benefits to businesses/companies:

Superior Database Quality

With an address validation tool at your disposal, you can easily and quickly clean up your address database. This effectively gives you access to a quality database helping you enhance the deliverability rate.

Lower Return Rates

Return rates are not desirable for direct mails because they are a waste of resources and can add up to a significant amount as loss for the company/business. Address validation tools increase the accuracy of the addresses, effectively reducing return rates.

Higher Return on Investment

By significantly reducing the number of return mails and ensuring that your direct mails reach your target audience, address validation tools to ensure a cost-effective campaign. Additionally, direct mail campaigns have a higher ROI than many mainstream marketing strategies.

Automation Capability

Most, if not all, address validation tools are paid and come equipped with several advanced capabilities, including automation. While some support partial automation, advanced tools like PostGrid allow you to run fully automated direct mail campaigns.

Regulatory compliance

To make sure that the address validation tool is well equipped to handle your unique requirements and ensure the quality of data, you need to check for regulatory companies. There are many CASS-certified address validation tools like PostGrid available in the market today.

Why You Can’t Use Open Source Address Validation for USPS Addresses

As we have briefly mentioned before, an authentic open-source address validation solution can not be used to validate USPS addresses. This is attributed to the fact that USPS can not allow free access to its official postal address database. However, even if an advanced open-source address validation were possible, you still need to stop and consider your unique requirements before running after an open-source solution.

Ask yourself this one question “Why do I need an address validation tool, and what purpose can it serve for me?”

Most likely, your answer is somewhere along the lines of wanting to enhance the accuracy of your address database and get rid of any bad data in it so that you can effectively reduce the number of return mails. You want to have an accurate address database for your business that can reduce the return rate of your direct mail and enhance the deliverability rate.

To sum it all up in a single word, you are seeking reliability through an address validation tool. Now the question becomes whether an open-source address validation tool can accomplish that.

The answer is no, and an open-source address validation tool can not be considered reliable. Why? Because, for one, allowing an open-source address validation tool to access the official address database of a country is not safe. USPS will not jeopardize the sensitive data of all US citizens just so that businesses/companies such as yours can have easy access to their database. Although the open-source solution may be cheaper and perhaps even more flexible than paid address validation APIs, businesses must always put reliability over cost if they want viable results.

An open-source solution may have worked wonders for your business in the past for countless scenarios and requirements. But, when it comes to postal address validation, that is not the case anymore, and that means you need an effective alternative for the job. The most obvious choice is an API-based tool that can access USPS’s data easily.

Furthermore, they provide additional capabilities like connecting with your database or CRM to make address validation even more simple for you. Throw automation into the mix, and you can potentially run successful campaigns with minimal effort.

Also Read About: Address Validation Service

Alternatives to Open-Source Address Validation

Address validation APIs are evidently the best alternative to open-source address validation. And you’d be mistaken to think that there is an open-source address validation API you could use because there isn’t one. What an API does is pretty simple. It takes your business’s address database as its input and then compares the same against the official address database of USPS. Advanced systems such as PostGrid can detect and correct minor errors in your database. Furthermore, the address validation API can be integrated into your website or your internal system.

The integration can make the address validation process significantly faster and also use the same for implementing an address auto-complete feature on your website and landing pages. This means you can ensure top-quality data right from its point of collection. Not every address verification service provider needs to be equipped with similar features. There are both free and paid versions of address validation APIs in the market, and naturally, you’d need a paid one if you need advanced features like address auto-complete.

Address validation APIs can be broadly classified as two USPS-powered address validation APIs and third-party address validation APIs. Below we discuss both types so that you can make a well-informed decision on which is ideal for unique business needs.

USPS-Powered Address Validation API

We know that the USPS or United States Postal Service manages the official address database of US citizens residing anywhere in the country. USPS is always the first agency to know about any address changes, updates, or alterations because it’s them who processes change of address requests. Therefore, it is no wonder that the USPS address database is the golden standard for address databases inside the US, effectively making them the most reliable source of address information.

What you may not know is that the USPS allows access to its database to mailers and other companies. The access is provided through an API so as to ensure the safety of the data, as the mailers or other companies can not alter the database through an API. The Address/Standardization “Verify” API powered by USPS enables you to correct errors, add missing information, and even provides a full ZIP+4 code for the addresses. However, there is a catch. The “Verify” address validation API only lets you go complete five lookups per transaction.

Additionally, the performance of the API is not really impressive either, which makes it perfect for short address validations that amount in a couple of dozens. Anything more could prove to be greatly inconvenient for the user. Another downside of USPS-powered address validation API is that they are not equipped to handle international mailings, which makes it not so ideal for businesses or companies with a significant number of international connections.

Ideal Use of USPS-Powered Address Validation APIs

The USPS-powered address validation API works best for personal use or if address validation is not an essential part of your business operations. Additionally, you can also use this type of address validation APIs if your business is relatively small with low-volume mailings or if there are no tight deadlines that you need to follow. Essentially, the USPS-powered address validation APIs can work well for meeting basic mailing needs, but it is not recommended for businesses with regular direct mail activities or if the volume of mailing is relatively high. If you need more sophisticated address validation features like bulk-address verification, it is best to go for an advanced third-party address validation API.

Third-Party Address Validation API

As we mentioned before, USPS does share its official address database with mailers and other companies even though it does not allow third parties to alter any data inside it. However, that does not mean just about any mailer or company can have access to the USPS database. USPS employs a CASS or Coding Accuracy Support System certification to determine whether the software is eligible for accessing its precious data.

This means that a CASS-certified third party could access the USPS database and create an alternative tool for address validation, more precisely, APIs. If you are going to use a third-party address validation API, make sure that it is CASS-certified. Employing a CASS-certified API ensures the quality and reliability of data. PostGrid is a CASS-certified address validation API that is popular among businesses and companies with a relatively huge address database because of its easy bulk address verification feature.

Ideal Use of Third-Party Address Validation APIs

Third-party address validation APIs are much more advanced than USPS-powered APIs. It is essential for businesses and companies that use direct mail as one of their major communication channels. Third-party address validation APIs such as PostGrid allows for easy bulk address verification using a simple CSV file. They provide a more convenient and function-rich way to validate your address database, and a CASS certification ensures that the quality of your database is just as good as USPS. This means that you can ensure maximum deliverability for your direct mails. So, if yours is a company that regularly uses direct mails as means of communication or for marketing purposes with a moderate to high volume audience, then the third-party solution is an ideal fit for you.

Conclusion

Strictly speaking, open-source address validation or open-source address standardization is not possible because it would require directly accessing the official address database of USPS. The postal address database includes the recorded address of every citizen living inside the United States, and USPS can jeopardize such sensitive information by allowing unwarranted access to it. You can ensure proper address validation using the USPS address database by employing address validation APIs.

Although both USPS-powered and third-party address validation tools are available in the market, the best choice is the latter because of its advanced capabilities. USPS-powered address validation API can work well for personal use, but businesses, need advanced capabilities. Tools like PostGrid allows easy bulk-address verification of address database along with many other advanced and useful capabilities, including full automation of the direct mail process.

Ready to Get Started?

Start transforming and automating your offline communications with PostGrid

SIGN UPREQUEST A DEMO