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How do I sign up to use DOTS NCOA Live?



First, you must fill out a "Processing Acknowledgement Form" (PAF). This form is required by the USPS for consumers of the NCOA data.

To obtain this form, please contact sales@serviceobjects.com

Once completed, we will register you and provide a license key for use with the service.



Can a Service Objects employee fill out the PAF for me?



No, all PAFs must be filled out directly by the entity requesting the service.



What can I use the NCOA data for?



The NCOA data can be used for mailing purposes only. You may not use the data for purposes of contact validation, data collection, or anything that does not involve sending mail to the contact.



What is the "JobID"?



The JobId is how you specify which open "Job" of yours that we should apply your address transaction against. A "Job" is a kind of "open batch". As opposed to a standard batch (which goes through all records and then stops), a "Job" is a persistent batch that accepts addresses on-the-fly until the Job is closed.

Every transaction you send must be associated with a Job you've created. You create a Job by sending 100 addresses all at once to a brand new JobId of your choosing. You can make the JobId any string you like as long as you've never used it before, it has less than 50 characters, and it does not contain special characters.

Once this Job is created, it will remain open until Sunday, 11:55 pm when all client Jobs will be closed and new ones will need to be created. During this time you may run single NCOA transactions.



Why do I need to create a Job?



The USPS requires that any NCOA transactions be done as a batch of at least 100 records. Having "Jobs", although a little awkward, is the only way we can ensure that at least 100 records are processed without having to "police" our customers.

In addition, having Jobs is helpful if you're running separate lists throughout the week that should be reported separately. For example, you may have 3 separate departments in your company that each run their own mailings. They can create their own Jobs and get reporting separately for each.



Why do Jobs close every week?



The USPS releases new NCOALink data every week. It is required that we utilize the newest data within a few days of receipt. So, every week, we close the jobs that are running against the older data, update the data, and start fresh. Closing the jobs ensures that you are using the latest NCOA data.



The service is saying it found a Change of Address ("COA") match, but no address was returned. Why?



There are several reasons, but simply put it means that the USPS has knowledge that a person has moved to a new address, but does not know what that address is. It could be a data entry error, or perhaps the resident did not wish to have his or her forwarding address known.



The Sample Code is Giving Strange Errors or is Crashing!



Most likely, the sample code cannot connect to Service Objects. Many environments will not allow you to connect out on port 80 or will clip out XML data from these requests/responses.

The easiest way to check for this is to open a browser on the machine running the sample code. In your browser, navigate to: https://trial.serviceobjects.com/nl/ncoalive.asmx

Then try to run one of the operations with your trial key. If you get a browser error or get no data back, then the sample code isn't able to connect either. Contact your systems administrator to resolve why you are not able to connect to Service Objects.



NCOALink says it can't find my street!



DOTS NCOALink doesn't know about every address, especially empty lots or new streets. Often, it won't be able to validate these locations. In general, we are as good as the USPS at identifying addresses. If they have an address we don't, we will have it within a month, perhaps less.



Does NCOALink do Delivery Point Validation (DPV)?  I need to know if the USPS can deliver to this address.



Yes, but at this time we don't provide as much DPV information as our DOTS Address Validation – US product. In short, if you get a "2" or a "3" in the Diagnostics->StatusCode output field it means that your input address could not be DPV confirmed. A code of 4-8 means the input was DPV confirmed.



Is NCOA Live CASS-certified?  Can I use it to get postal discounts?



Yes and No, our core address validation engine is CASS certified. It meets and exceeds all requirements for address correction except bulk mail discounts. AV does not print the USPS forms required for bulk mail discounts, because of this it is not formally CASS certified. You cannot us AV for bulk-rate postal discounts.



What are the possible errors that AV will return if an address is invalid?



Please refer to "Error" Codes.



How can I avoid common address errors like, "Street not found", "Address not found", and "Street number or box number out of range"?



The NCOA Live service is not an address validation service. In order to get the best possible results and avoid these type of errors then please only submit valid USPS standardized addresses.

For example, a common mistake is to use the Address2 field for apartment or suite numbers. Moving secondary address data, such as "Apt 4" and "Unit B", to Address1 is required by USPS. Address2 should be reserved for extraneous information such as "C/O John Smith" or "Leave package around back". This extraneous information, however, is not helpful in finding a change-of-address (COA) candidate, and it can commonly lead to one of the above address errors.

It is highly recommended to use an address validation service that properly standardizes addresses before submitting requests to the NCOA Live service. If you do use a properly standardized address then you will find that you should not submit an Address2 value because it is not necessary.



What does "Multiple Addresses Match" mean?  How do I get a single result?



"Multiple Addresses Match" means that NCOA Live found the input address, but couldn't resolve it from other addresses that were very similar, typically because of directional elements.

For example, if you validate "123 Main street, Anytown, CA", but in Anytown, CA, there is only a "West Main street" and an "East Main street", then this will result in a "Multiple Addresses Match". You will need to specify either West Main or East Main as the street name to get a corrected, single address.

There are other cases in which "multiple addresses match" will occur, but are rare and often have to do with a difference in zip+4, or suite numbers.

Unfortunately, NCOA Live has no way of displaying the multiple ambiguous results. If this information is very important for your needs, our DOTS Address Validation – US service does provide a "GetBestMatches" operation to see the results, but it will require a subscription to that service.

 


I need to know exactly how long each of the output fields could be.  What is your standard field length?



Please email us at support@serviceobjects.com, and we'll send you the exact field length specifications. As a general rule, you won't get a field longer than 80 characters.



Where do you get your address information?



We gather our data from many various sources. The short answer is the US Postal Service.



How often do you update your address data?



NCOA Live updates its data every week. There are also larger updates every month.



What's the oldest change of address record I can process through NCOA?



Our system will be able to recognize any Change of Address notifications that happen within 18 months.



References

  1. Meeting USPS Requirements for NCOA Live Change-of-Address Processing

  2. NCOA Live FAQ: Your Change of Address Questions Answered

  3. NCOA Live Best Practices


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