Almost every business in today's landscape has some sort of database of contacts and email addresses acquired over time. As we have covered previously, the importance of performing constant email verification is critical for ensuring that your domain reputation stays reliable and that you do not waste the time of your employees by actively holding onto addresses that are wrong or do not exist, where outreach attempts can fall onto deaf ears. Consistent email verification is extremely important, but a question remains about what service to choose.
As with any rising need within the business landscape, it is safe to say that there are a multitude of services and options to choose from with email verification service providers. Many of these services on the outside appear to do the same exact thing where you upload a list or link your CRM with their services, and it tells you which email addresses are good or bad. The input and output and generally the same thing, but how these services go about performing these validation services can vary greatly depending on their in house technology and experience and knowledge within the field.
Email verification is a complicated process that gets even more complicated when you attempt to perform it on a larger scale alongside offering your technology as a service. It’s very difficult to properly assess the accuracy of any of these services without putting it through a test yourself, which is why we took it upon ourselves to do just that. Based on our knowledge and experience with email verification, we decided to put multiple of these services to the test for the sake of curiosity.
In this blog post, we will be exploring the process by which we will test out each service and explore the results and reasons for why certain services may perform worse than others. Alongside the benefit of knowing which services perform better than others, this will be a good learning experience for small businesses on performing general product research before committing your workflow towards it. Let's explore the topic further.
For any good experiment, we felt that it would be good practice to follow the scientific method as closely as we can to ensure results that can give us a better understanding of the accuracy of each service. Our question was simple, which email validation service provides the most accurate results. The ratio of accuracy to cost is another important factor when deciding on a service, but we will be considering this a secondary factor to weigh on as for most businesses accuracy is the most important consideration for utilizing such a service.
For our test data, we compiled a list of 100 emails we have 100% confirmed to be valid inboxes and 100 emails that we 100% confirmed to be invalid addresses. Both of these lists were manually verified by us through actual attempts at sending mail to their inboxes, so we can completely confirm how accurate each service is if they can catch every email correctly based on our experience.
Our rationale for utilizing a list of correct and incorrect email addresses is to get accurate results on how many of these email addresses get potentially misclassified by each service. As these two lists will be consistent throughout every service we test, we can compare and contrast on which service is the most accurate and which service is the least accurate.
Our test process began with compiling a list of the 20 most popular email validation services we could find.
- Email Checker
- Bulk Email Checker
These services ranged from being cost effective to very expensive. If the service offered any type of free trial/sign up credits we took advantage of that, but for all these services we purchased enough credits to process our tests and gather accurate information. Once we determined our results, we calculated the percentage of correct validations vs wrong validations for each of the valid and invalid categories of results.
To put it bluntly, our results were heavily inconsistent as almost every single service we have tried seemed to spit out wildly different results. The results for our valid and invalid tests ranged between 26% accurate to 87% accurate between both our valid and invalid tests. We will cover certain examples of these services in our next section. Below we have listed a few statistics of our results.
For our list of valid email addresses, the average number of correctly identified emails was 51/100 across 20 different services tested with identical lists. The most accurate results from our tests were from Xverify with 87/100 results correctly identified. For our list of invalid email addresses, only 47/100 email addresses were correctly identified as being invalid on average.
Below are the results of our experiment. Please note that these values represent the total amount of correctly identified entries in our list.
|Service||Valid Test (Correctly Identified)||Invalid Test (Correctly Identified)|
|Bulk Email Checker||52%||42%|
To save time for the reader we didn't want to break down every single experience from each of the 20 services as for the most part, it wasn't much different aside from the results. Below we highlighted three of the best and worst services we had experienced along this experiment.
Pricing: $165 (per 100k emails)
Valid Accuracy Rating: 29%
Invalid Accuracy Rating: 45%
Free Trial: No
Pabbly is a one stop shop for many services that growth-focused businesses utilize to increase their online presence. They offer email marketing software, workflow automation services, and an online form building service alongside their Email verification services. They have a clean, straightforward website that is easy to navigate and is very straight forward with telling users who they are right off the bat. Signing up is a painless and quick process and gives you quick access to their user interface, displaying all their offers in an easy to view format. Unfortunately, they do not have a free trial but if you want to test out their email verification services, their lowest buy in for credits is $5 for 1000.
Pabbly’s accuracy in our experience at the time of writing however, is something that needs to be improved based upon our testings. Only 29 out of our 100 valid emails were correctly identified. As for our invalids, their verification correctly identified 45 out of 100 of our invalid emails. We cannot speak on their other services but based on our experience, we would not recommend utilizing their verification services.
Pricing: $120 (per 100k emails)
Accuracy Rating: 26%
Invalid Accuracy Rating: 48%
Free Trial: Yes
MyEmailVerifier is a one stop shop for email verification services that is extremely straightforward and advertises up front the features of their service. Their verification process involves syntax verification, domain/mx record checking, catch-all identification, and many more helpful features that any business would find useful when validating a list of emails they have.
While their verification process has a very fast turnaround time, the lists that we tested out with them had under par results that were surprising. Out of the 100 valid emails we uploaded, only 26 of them were properly confirmed to be valid (with a few marked as Catch-All addresses which is confusing on our end as we know for certain that the emails associated with these domains are not configured in this way). For our invalid test, they only managed to catch 48 out of 100 of the incorrect email addresses.
MyEmailVerifier was one of the cheapest services we tested in this experiment, so that is something to keep in mind when seeing our results. Overall, their results were not ideal but there is room for improvement for them in the future if they can maintain their price.
Pricing: $300 (per 100k emails)
Accuracy Rating: 28%
Invalid Accuracy Rating: 29%
Free Trial: Yes
DataValidation is a relatively small email validation service with an extensive amount of information and documentation provided on their website to assist with helping you get started alongside understanding their process of validating data. They provide multiple helpful integrations as well to allow you to easily implement their services into your business and it’s workflow.
For our tests, their validation service did not end up doing very well for catching our valid emails or invalid ones. DataValidation only managed to correctly identify 28 out of 100 of our valid email addresses and only 29 out of our 100 invalid email addresses. Out of all the services we have attempted in this experiment, this service performed the worst, along with being one of the mid tier services by cost per email. At this current time we would not recommend utilizing them if you need validation services.
Pricing: $400 (per 100k emails)
Accuracy Rating: 87%
Invalid Accuracy Rating: 59%
Free Trial: Yes
Xverify is one of the leading data verification services on the internet, providing extensive email, phone, and address validation services at reasonable prices. They are a pay as you go service, where you only buy the credits that you need. Thankfully they offer a 100 credit free trial so you can freely try out their services and see if they are a fit for you or not.
Xverify’s user interface on their platform is something to be desired, as it is not very straight forward at first glance on where to begin verifying lists. All the services they offer are front and center, with a menu on the left hand side that is straight forward for navigation. Navigating to where you upload lists requires you to scroll down to the bottom of the page and find a small orange Upload button that opens up a drag and drop interface for uploading lists, with options for getting an email alert when your list is ready to download. We personally did not find this interface to be very straight forward and users not accommodated to using platforms like this might get lost easily.
Xverify does shine in one aspect however, as we have found their services to be extremely accurate, where 87 out of 100 of our valid emails were correctly identified, alongside 59 out of 100 of our invalid emails getting detected correctly. For the price and the results, we are very satisfied using this service and if you can look past the UI issues, there is a lot of potential for your business if you utilize them to their full potential.
Pricing: $299 (For 1 million)
Accuracy Rating: 67%
Invalid Accuracy Rating: 56.50%
Free Trial: Yes
MillionVerifier is a big stand out from the crowd of email verification providers on our list, primarily because of their extremely low cost for verifying large lists of emails. They offer buy in at lower tiers but their primary selling point is selling one million credits for $299, which is almost ten times more credits than similar services within the field.
Thankfully with their low price, their accuracy is one of the best compared to all other services we tested within the field. With our valid test, MillionVerifier managed to correctly identify 67 out of 100 of our emails. With our invalid test, they managed to correctly identify 57 out of 100 of our invalids correctly.
These percentages still aren’t perfect, but compared to other similar services they performed at the top of our list alongside being the cheapest option out of the 20.
Pricing: $299 (per 100k emails)
Accuracy Rating: 65%
Invalid Accuracy Rating: 88%
Free Trial: Yes
Emailchecker is a fully dedicated email validation service that boasts close to 20 billion verified emails as well as around 1.3 billion prevented bounces at the time of writing. They are a pay as you go service, where you only pay for the credits that you need, as you need them and also have an extensive API for integrations.
Emailcheckers user interface platform is very simple and easy to understand. There is a simple drag and drop feature for easily uploading lists to get verified with an easy to navigate menu on the left hand side of the screen. They also have a section for single email validation for a quick check if you are about to reach out to a new contact for the first time.
For their performance, they managed to properly validate 65 out of the 100 valid emails we uploaded. For invalids, they managed to catch 88 out of 100. Their functionality and extensive API is extremely easy to use but their accuracy is not as great as we would want.
Reasons for Difference in Quality
As we have shown above with our results, almost every service goes about the process of email validation a different way. Email communication overall is a very complicated process overall and confirming the validity of any address. In our previous blog post, we went into extensive detail on the process of email validation itself and how it works, but certain aspects of this process we left out that are more specifically related to how services perform validation on a larger scale.
The primary workflow of any email validation process should generally be as follows, give or take any in house techniques a service may develop or come up with.
- Verifying syntax of email addresses
- Verifying Domain/Checking if valid TLD (top level domain)
- Verifying inbox through SMTP communication.
For the most part, this is how the magic happens. Some companies may cross reference a set of email addresses with an existing database of known verified email addresses to save time/assure that results are consistent. Other methods involve partnerships with other companies or services that perform mass outreach (mailshake, sendpulse, etc..). This provides further validation as if a successful email has been sent to an address used previously by one of these outreach services, it is almost certain to be valid as long as the address has not been deleted/removed past the point of contact.
One of the most critical reasons as to why there is a vast difference between verification services is due to the difficulty of properly verifying ‘catchall’ domains. A Catch All domain is any mail server configured in a way to accept any type of message sent to it, whether the mailbox the sender is attempting to contact exists or not. Any email sent to a non-existent inbox on a catchall domain will get routed towards a ‘bin’ inbox that is set to receive any failed messages. The reason as to why these types of domains are difficult to verify is that the primary way to determine if an email address exists on this type of domain is to go forth and attempt to make contact with the inbox directly. For verification services this is obviously not an option, but as stated before there are workarounds to determine with varying levels of success which catchall emails are valid or not.
The logistics of being a verification service can also cause issues when attempting to very a large amount of addresses routinely. Pinging large numbers of servers on a routine basis can cause issues for your domain, so multiple servers or services need to be utilized in order to accomplish mailbox verification on a mass scale. This requires resources as servers cost money and maintenance, which some smaller verification services might not have access too right away. Performing too many pings from a single server may result in false results as a ping will automatically fail under such circumstances.
As there is no way to fully know how the internal structure of each of these services work, please remember that this is an overview of the types of difficulties these services face and may not be the actual reasons for the variation in results from our tests.
To Wrap Up
With the abundance of email verification services out there, it can be quite difficult to decide on which one to choose from for your business. Through testing and experimentation, we can get a better understanding of the current state of each of these services so that companies and individuals can make a well informed choice when investing the money and time into a service. An important part of this article is to note that these results may not be a proper reflection of the performance of these services in the future. Every company and service is constantly attempting to perfect their process and become the best they can be within their industry, so take our results with a grain of salt if you are reading this in the future.