December 09, 2012
Address Standardization (Validation / Verification) are interchangeable terms for the same service phase relating to the accuracy of an address. Accuracy is almost always determined through the official, USPS CASS addressing software. Validating an address against any other data set, no matter what the claim, is likely to cause problems down the road. This application is not directly available through the postal service, but there are multiple providers that have met USPS regulations for offering CASS address validation software.
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Address Standardization is critical in every phase of Address Hygiene. It assists in everything from duplicate data detection, effective data mining, lower postage rates, to reducing physical return mail. Standardization can also be used as a tool to separate good addresses from flawed ones allowing businesses to streamline their focus on the data that needs it the most. After any process from Correction to Updating, Standardization should be used again to ensure that any changes made to an address are as close to a validated USPS addresses as possible.
A record that fails Address Standardization (indicated by the missing zip + 4 DPV code) is a strong indicator for a host of unwanted issues ranging from return mail to excessive duplicate records or unmatchable records for Address Updating / Append. Addresses that fail USPS CASS validation will also not qualify for bulk discount (presort) rates offered by the Post Office. This will increase postage of that piece from presort rate to first class category, costing about 7.6 cents per record.
In the data append industry, Address Standardization software is used as the primary means in assisting data matching algorithms when linking client data with a successful data match set. In the example below, you will notice how processing a record through USPS CASS increases the chance of finding a successful match. When combined with a "genetic programming" based Address Correction service, you can normally see an additional 16% match rate.
See Figure 2 for an example of Address Standardization (Address Validation / Verification).