Layering Google, USPS, SmartyStreets, and Yelp
As we sorted through how to deal with private mailboxes, verifying a new business, and various digital imprints, we found an array of opinions. However (and somewhat obviously), one undisputed, tried-and-true method came up in every discussion: Google. It seems like in most underwriters' tool belts, Google is the hammer.
While Google is not the best place to research your personal health symptoms, it is a great place to quickly scan an entity’s specs and street cred. If something shady pops up on the top 10 results, it's practically an air horn to the ear.
After we completed the Google integration last year, if Autoboard could talk, it would have said, "I’m feeling lucky!" Here’s why:
- Great to verify an address, business phone, and business name. Not always 100% accurate, but definitely a positive sign you have something legit. Or not.
- Pull photos with Satellite View or Street View. All underwriters have at least one story where photos assisted them -- both positively and negatively.
- Top 10 hits. This is best explained by a situation that happened while we were sitting with a user: Google displayed an article stating the reptilian enterprise under review was importing and selling illegal breeds. Breeds that bring in those strange communicable diseases you pulled up on Google earlier. Needless to say: DECLINE.
Although it is not the end-all, be-all verification, Google is a favorite of most underwriters as a quick way to size up a deal. But since Google has been known to provide incorrect addresses, we took it one step further to verify the address directly with USPS. The USPS API -- while slightly arcane -- is known for accuracy.
We're not done yet! (If you haven't noticed already, Autoboard is constantly improving, doubling, and tripling verification checks and sources)
Even with Google and USPS, we layered in SmartyStreets to give you extra intelligence about the address -- making sense of USPS codes like a Commercial Mailing Receiving Agency ("CMRA") to detect locations like The UPS Store, where real addresses are used but in PO Box style.
Wait, there's more.
Yelp! It’s a powerful platform that not only has business details, but also typically more accurate reviews than Google. Yelpers are intentional folks. With Autoboard's Yelp integration, you can quickly glance at your customers Yelp location, reviews, and ratings to see if you need to dig in deeper. Client reviews are a source of best business practices, providing a snapshot of the business history like the ghost of Christmas past. Yelp's weakness is with new businesses, hence why we rely on the other three sources (Google, USPS, and SmartyStreets) to confirm the address.
Address verification is also important post-underwriting, and Autoboard's redundant address verification layering gives confidence that those chargeback notifications will get where they need to go.
So why do we layer? Well, verifying businesses is rough stuff, but something is bound to hit on one of these four platforms. Autoboard shows you all of this on one, easy to navigate screen. With existing businesses, Autoboard can show consistency, putting an underwriter’s mind at ease without the cognitive load required to pull each verification individually. Autoboard allows you to focus on the underwriting, not the dozens of micro-steps to get there. Our mission is to boost your confidence with consistency and the ability to easily spot when deals aren't 100%.