Many problems with the quality of address data can be eliminated by simply qualifying (checking) an address before adding it to your database. Standardizing things like abbreviations and formatting during data entry can save a lot of headaches in the future. In the past, solutions for standardizing addresses during data entry have been very expensive. Qualified Address is looking to change this, and to make data entry address-verification affordable, for even the smallest company.
The first problem we run across when standardizing addresses is that people have been trained to write them in many different ways. In fact, if five people were to type the same address into your website, it is likely that youd get five completely different formats. Take this address for example:
Person 1: 100 North Main Street, Suite 203, New York, New York 10023
Person 2: 100 No. Main St. #203, NY NY 10023
Person 3: 100 Main Street #203, New York City, NY 10023
Person 4: 100 N Main 203, New York, New York 10023
Person 5: 100 N. Main St. Suite 203, New York, NY 10023
Each of those five people entered the address in a way that is completely logical and understandable to human eyes, but the computer will categorize each of these in the database as a unique address. So, you need to find a way to take these five addresses and condense them into just one of standardized format.
The United States Postal Service has set guidelines for address standardization in a document entitled Publication 28 . These standards include rules for abbreviation, ordering, punctuation, and more. For example, the USPS prefers that all punctuation, other than the hyphen in the +4 Code, be omitted in the delivery address block. Also, STE is preferred to Suite or # and ST is preferred to spelling out the word Street. The document itself is over 130 pages long, and includes rules on everything from unusual addressing situations (such as the Salt Lake City Syndrome grid addresses) to business word abbreviations.
Using the example address used previously, you might standardize the address according the USPS rules, and save it to your database in the following format:
100 N Main St Ste 203
New York NY 10023-1234
Applying the standards set forth by the USPS to your address data during their initial entry is an excellent way to improve the quality of your lists. Not only is it easier to remove duplicate data from your lists, but it will also save you trouble in the future. But how do you go about actually applying the USPS standards to your list without spending months programming and implementing a solution?
In the coming weeks, Qualified Address will be releasing an API that allows businesses to easily standardize their address lists without the hassles and overheads that exists with current solutions on the market. Were excited about the revolutionary approach that is being taken, and are looking for people who are interested in helping out.
If youd like to participate in the beta testing for our API, please contact us by emailing your name, email address, company, and phone number to sales.rep 'at' smartystreets.com (replace the at with an @), and well get you setup as a beta tester. In the meantime, submit your address list to Qualified Address Scrubbing to get the data which is already in your database standardized. Our service is very affordable, and just takes a few minutes of your time. So get started today!