The ultimate form of "address scrubbing" is address validation (also known as address verification). Validation runs an address through a string of processes, and does at least three things: it parses the address, it standardizes the address, and it validates it. The validation part means that an address is compared against an authoritative database and checked to see if it is real.
An address currently receiving mail from the postal system will be returned by our system as valid, and is a real address. Addresses that, for whatever reason, do not currently receive mail are marked as invalid. That doesn't necessarily mean that the address is fictional; it just means that it's not currently in the system. An invalid address may or may not be real; a valid address is confirmed to be real.
An address has to be standardized before being compared to the system, and the system has the addresses already broken down into parts. So, as part of the validation process, the address will be standardized, then compared, then returned with components accurately labeled.
Benefits to Address Validation
Improved Quality of Address Data
First of all, validating that an address is correct at the time it is entered into your database, and then using list processing to regularly clean, verify, and update the address list, will keep your data cleaner. That means you don't have to spend your own manpower keeping the data clean.
Reduced Mail Returns
Validating that an address is correct before mailing something to it will reduce the amount of undeliverable mail that is returned. Depending on the size and frequency of mailings, the cost of sending mail to inaccurate addresses can be significant.
Reduced Mailing Costs
Many address standardization services provide ZIP+4 postal codes and USPS barcodes, which can get you discounts on things you mail. Other postal services, such as Canada Post, also offer similar discounts for qualified pieces of post.
Increased Delivery Speed
By providing the USPS with addresses in a standardized format and including information such as ZIP+4 codes, the post office states that companies can increase the delivery of their mail by one to two days.