Back in early May, I wrote a blog outlining four of the key learnings on international data sourcing, and I want to provide an update on how these efforts are now directly benefiting our Whitepages Pro customers. We have made tremendous strides over the past four months and I am excited to share the updates.
To start, I want to explain why we care about international expansion and why we believe it is important for our customers. In general, we support two different types of US-based companies doing business internationally:
- Those who do 80%–90% of their business in the US, but who have a growing international customer base (mostly physical goods merchants)
- Those who have an upwards of 50% of their business coming from international consumers (mostly digital goods merchants)
Both types of companies have a growing need for international identity validation services, which is why we built our international Identity Check API and Pro insight manual review solution.
Phase One: Phone, Email, IP Address, and Postal Address
Our first charter for expanding international services was to create a solution that could validate identity data in a broad array of countries. The first version of our international Identity Check was a global product that did four different validation checks on phone, email, IP address, and postal address—in nearly every country. We did not have identity verification at the initial launch, but we were able to provide a global product that was used for cross-border transactions.
This was a great entry into the global data market and let us cut our teeth in a big way, not only for creating the right product for our customers, but also ensuring we leveraged the right type of data. This initial launch and customer usage directly influenced our next two phases.
Phase Two: Email-to-Name
The second phase of the product development was adding in the email-to-name verification checks on a global basis. This was by far the biggest demand from our customers after our initial launch, and the borderless nature of email addresses fits well within our global framework.
We added email-to-name verification in Q1 2017 and are continuing to expand and increase our coverage regularly. Our email-to-name data is at the point where we are consistently returning accurate data on more than 50% of emails in many different countries.
Phase Three: Phone-to-Name
The third phase of expanding globally is our phone-to-name verification capabilities, and it’s where much of our efforts have been focused in recent months. We are now able to offer the addition of phone-to-name verification in more than 30 countries, including most major global economies. Although the coverages will vary by country, we generally see coverage rates in the 25%–50% range.
Adding this to a product that already has industry-leading email-to-name verification means that we can now provide our customers with a level of global identity verification that is as powerful as it is unique. Email and phone are two key attributes of an individual’s identity that frequently are used to transact with both physical and digital goods merchants. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to help our customers truly improve their visibility on their international orders.
Phase Four: Address-to-Name
Now for the fourth phase of global identity verification: address-to-name. This is the most nuanced component of international expansion and will take the most work to get to market in a comprehensive manner, as the address standards vary widely on a country-by-country basis.
Address-to-name verification requires a multi-phased approach to build out both the data and business rules to normalize and match the address-to-name—ensuring we provide the level of performance our customers need and expect from our data. That said, we are making significant progress and cannot wait to get it into the hands of our customers soon.
Our international Identity Check API and Pro Insight manual review solutions are extremely actionable and unique in the global marketplace. With data in 160+ countries, no matter where your customer transactions may be coming from, chances are we can provide valuable insights on these customer identities, help you better service the good customers, and find the fraudulent ones.