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Address verification – What Does It Do?- Thursday, July 12, 2012

Address verification is an integral part of big business, a tool to move information and delivery quickly and accurately from businessman to customer.  Accurate transactions move world-wide, facilitated by use of the mailer’s zip code database, minimizing or eliminating lost mailings, duplications, and partial-address guesswork.

 

Web-access products deliver corrected information via real-time processing, producing ‘clean’ lists in minutes with no software to download or install.  This alone saves significant operational dollars.  The website is secure, guaranteeing the privacy of each transaction.  The web program integrates seamlessly with the user’s own website or software and is fully scalable to any size operation.  Web service is ‘green’ – no paper, software, or packaging to deal with.  You can use the service to process a list of addresses, to send out a mailing, even to verify addresses on a website.  Expediting these functions with speed, accuracy, and economy can be nothing but good for your company.

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How to Change Your Account Information: Part 2- Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Customers want to know about the security of their financial information with respect to Zip Code Download. Zip Code Download does not save any bank account information inputted at checkout. Instead, we use Authorize.net, a secure payment gateway and trusted transaction source. Authorize.net allows Zip Code Download to store our customers credit card information to reduce the inconvenience of renewing their subscriptions.

Updating Your Credit Card Information

To update your credit card information, we have provided a simple link on your “My Subscriptions” page (see screenshot below). The link will then take you to a page that will ask you a few simple questions about your CC information.


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“Why are ZIP Codes Missing In My Database?”- Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Frequently, customers are concerned that data is missing from their database - as they should be. Here at Zip Code Download, we highly value accurate and reliable data. Above all, we hope that our database is current. The key point is that because the USPS is constantly changing their data, some ZIP code are literally removed from their database.

There are many reasons for the removal of ZIP codes that we won’t go into. However, it is important to remember this fact.

Your customers may worry that you have unreliable data. However, you must remain confident that your data is in sync with the USPS - the ones in charge of ZIP codes.

If you are unsure about your data, the USPS has a very neat feature that allows you to look up a city based on a ZIP code. To do this, visit www.USPS.com and select “Look Up a ZIP Code” under their “Quick Tools” menu on the left side of the page. Then select “Go to Full-Page Version.” Once there, click on the “Cities by ZIP Code” tab. Then enter the ZIP code in question.

If the ZIP code has been removed, you will get a message saying that the ZIP code is not a valid ZIP code. (See attached screen shot). Please do this before contacting customer support.
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Three and Four Digit ZIP Codes Appearing in Database- Friday, May 18, 2012
Three and Four Digit ZIP Codes

Many customers wonder why their data is including three and four digit ZIP codes. Of course, the United States Postal Service does not manufacture cities with only three and four digit ZIP codes. Most customers experience these because they are opening the data up with a program, such as Microsoft Excel, which has a default setting to eliminate zeros preceding a number. For instance, Holtsville, New York has a ZIP code of 00501. Excel will take that file, remove the zeros preceding the “5” and give you “501.”

Remedies

There are three main ways to remedy this issue:
  1. Instead of downloading the .CSV version of the file from ZipCodeDownload.com, download the “Excel (97 or later)” version. This has been preformatted to accept leading zeros.
  2. If you download the .CSV file, format the column by selecting the column and right clicking it selecting Format Cells> Number> Special> “Zip Code.”
  3. Follow the same steps in way number two but instead do …> Number> Custom> and under Type enter “00000”.

Either of these three ways are acceptable, however, we strongly recommend that you download the file type specific to the program that you will use.
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Questions about changes to ZIP code databases.- Thursday, March 29, 2012
We receive many questions about our ZIP Code Databases that pertain to the changes that occur to them. See below:
  • How often is your database updated?
  • What type of ZIP code information is updated?
  • How many changes are made to the database every month?
  • Do the changes in ZIP codes affect my business?
  • What ZIP code database subscription is right for me?

While the last two questions vary from business to business, many of these can be answered.

Our ZIP code databases come directly from the USPS every month. This data contains fresh, updated information that is up to date when compared with the USPS website’s own ZIP code lookup.

The number of changes from month to month typically vary between 1,000 to 2,000. From February to March, there were 1,327 differences found in the 5-digit ZIP code database, Commercial Edition! And even more changes occur in the ZIP+4 databases.  These changes vary on all aspects of our data from ZIP codes to city names. Many ZIP codes are added and subtracted every month.

These changes can significantly affect your business. Maillings and customer lookups can become complex and troublesome if you do not have an accurate, current ZIP code database.

Depending on your type of business, the cheapest solution would be to purchase the 1-year subscription. This entitles you to either quarterly or monthly updates for the next year. If your company requires 100% accurate ZIP codes, we recommend buying the monthly downloads. That way your CRM databases will help you maintain your customers and give you a competitive edge.
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How to Change Your Account Information- Monday, March 26, 2012

On a regular basis, many of our clients forget their passwords. For automatic downloading, the correct password must be included in the link in order to begin the download process. Because forgetting your password is a common occurrence, we have two options that will help you remember your password:

(a) Select the “Forgot password?” link on the “Log In” page
(b) Contact customer support through our contact form or direct email

Note: If you are trying the “Forgot password?” link and the system is saying that your username does not exist, do not panic. Our system has switched over to a new database that is having trouble re-activating accounts for users who do not remember their password from the previous system. In this case, please contact customer support and they will activate your account for you.

For many reasons, customers may want to change the information on their ZIP Code Download account such as name, email, address, or password.  Once logged in, a customer may change their information. To change your password, you must provide your current password. See steps and screenshot below.



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Product Schema- Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Postal code, CBSA, and NAICS databases are very powerful tools and are loaded with valuable information. Many of our competitors compromise the quality of their data because of the extra, unneccesary fields that are included in their data. The main issue that many of our clients do not know the meaning of one or more fields of our data.  While you can understand a lot about your customers through ZIP code, City, and State; what could knowing MSA, County FIPS, and geocodes do for you company?

Understanding this information will raise your understanding of your customers to a whole new leve. Much of the problem can be resolved by quickly viewing our schema page found on our webpage.


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Will the USPS Go Out of Business?- Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fortunately for all of us, the USPS will not be going out of business any time soon. If you are unfamiliar with what the USPS is, it is a separate agency of the U.S. government. Since 1971, the USPS has been funded directly from postage. Before then, taxes helped subsidize the costs. Now, the USPS is expected to compete with private companies such as the UPS and FedEx. Therefore, Congress doesn't provide for any of USPS' operating expenses. As of late however, the USPS has found themselves struggling financially.


Many worry that the USPS will go out of business, however, many changes are being made to the operations of the United States Post office to help mitigate some of their slowly declining losses. These changes include cutting many local post offices, processing centers from around 500 to about 200, and possibly removing Saturday's mail service.


One of the main responsibilities of the USPS is to maintain a steady and current database of ZIP codes. This database is updated monthly and receives its inputs from local post offices on boundary changes, ZIP code additions, and ZIP code subtractions. This database is not only used by the USPS by is also used by every other mailing service in the United States. These services include the Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and DHL.


This information allows us to realize the true importance of the USPS and their contribution to the United States. We can be confident that the USPS will continue to provide ZIP code databases.

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‘Mr Zip’ and the Zip Code Database- Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Drowning in mail and looking for a solution, over seventy years ago the USPS discovered and implemented a system to improve tracking. They started demanding a two-digit number between city and state on the address line of letters and parcels, which was a short-term fix; but the quantity of mail continued expanding. Five-digit codes were introduced within twenty years and made mandatory four years later: the first three digits send each piece of mail to a central sorting facility, where it is sorted according to the last two digits and sent to the appropriate post office for delivery.

As with many big initiatives, there was still the challenge of educating the public and helping them adopt the practice of adding numbers to the end of an address. Introduce Mr. Zip, accompanied by Ethel Merman performing ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’ and bringing a friendly message to one and all. This little cartoon figure was so effective that now 95% of all addresses include the zip code, an amazing statistic. It goes to show you the impression of a marketing campaign in such a basic format for everyone to comprehend and enjoy.

Now, picture yourself trying to manage an ever-growing amount of mail and routing it correctly to millions of frequently-changing addresses every day. The challenge shifted to accuracy of address data, giving way to new solutions to be introduced. The first zip code directories were local, pencil-and-paper, affairs, ineffective, but the best thing available.

That quickly changed with the availability and power of computers, until today there are huge amounts of data accumulated in zip code databases nationally, internationally, for city and state levels and as part of every business or corporation. We can’t communicate without the location information they contain.

The national online zip code database constantly adds, updates, and verifies zip information for every person or business at every location in the country. Canada has a comparable setup; other countries have varying coverage. International corporations have them. To name just a sample, many businesses, hospitals, and educational institutes develop and use zip code directories.

There is a wide scope of capabilities that online databases provide in the zip code world. By accessing information from around the country from so many different sources, changes are quickly synched up and missing information or new addresses are added with ease. This first-time correct delivery gets mail to the right place more quickly and saves millions of dollars every year in the process.

There are zip code maps of all sorts, zip code ‘finder’ software, zip code directories, and online zip code search engines. We’ve come a long way from the Pony Express rider riding hard to deliver his cargo!

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