NEWTON, MA --- FreshAddress, Inc., a leading email database services provider, today released its 2010 study of the fifty top e-tailers’ abilities to catch and correct email registration errors. This is the third in a series of examinations of the email validation practices of leading Internet retailers conducted by FreshAddress. The study found that none of the websites tested successfully blocked greater than 50% of the common, invalid email addresses tested, costing companies millions of dollars annually in lost revenues and wasted marketing dollars. Furthermore, none of the websites offered suggested corrections to consumers for common spelling errors.

"It’s widely accepted that email is a highly-effective marketing and communication tool," said Austin Bliss, President, FreshAddress, Inc. "But our study reveals the sad reality that e-tailers are doing a poor job of catching invalid email addresses at the point of registration."

FreshAddress’s research tested fifty top retail websites (defined by Internet Retailer, 2009) using the same fourteen invalid email addresses. Websites tested included Zappos.com, Walmart.com, Staples.com, and Amazon.com. Invalid addresses tested included typographical errors, syntax and formatting mistakes, top-level or “dead” domains, as well as bogus email addresses. The objective of the study was to determine which of these highly-trafficked, well-known brands with strong revenues tied directly to email marketing campaigns were employing effective practices when collecting customer email addresses on their websites.

Highlights from the study include:

  • No website blocked greater than 50% of the invalid email addresses tested
  • No website offered a correction to consumers for common spelling errors
  • None of the websites tested flagged common misspellings (ex: “yaho.com”), dead domains (ex: “attbi.com”), or suspect emails (ex: “test@test.com”)
  • Ninety percent of websites allowed an email with .cmo to pass through without an error message (even worse than the eighty-six percent measured in 2006)

And the “best” performers still have work to do as the leading company in this study, L.L. Bean, blocked only half of the 14 invalid email addresses tested. The next strongest performers, blocking only 6 of the 14 invalid email addresses tested, were Amway.com, Drugstore.com, Netflix.com, Overstock.com, Sears.com, and Victoriassecret.com.

The 2010 FreshAddress study illustrates the dangers and costs of not investing time and money upfront into collecting accurate email addresses: significant revenue losses, wasted marketing dollars, dissatisfied customers, ISP blacklisting, and resources required for subsequent data clean up.

"Our study clearly indicates that while retailers have made some progress since our 2008 study, they still have work to do when it comes to improving email data collection," Bliss continues. "By investing in effective, user-friendly options for improved email address validation, retailers can reconnect with otherwise lost customers, grow their email databases, and realize huge revenue gains at the same time.”

Obtain a copy of the FreshAddress 2010 Email Address Validation Study of 50 Leading Retailer Websites at www.freshaddress.com/whitepapers or by contacting FreshAddress, Inc. at 617.965.4500.