Melissa Data launches address-linked property “search engine”

Address data quality specialists Melissa Data is launching a new service tomorrow (April 12) that will allow companies to source property or mortgage information from a verified US address.

The WebSmart Property Web Service connects information from a nationwide database of more than 140m US addresses with other details sourced from publicly available data from property title deeds and mortgage documents.

It could mean adding a telephone number or contact name to a supplied verified address, or provide details on the square footage, zoning or development history of a certain property.

Greg Brown, marketing director for Melissa Data, told Post&Parcel today that the service would help direct mailers to shape more targeted mailing campaigns, engaging with certain types of property owner or specific geographical areas.

For an annual subscription fee, a company’s staff will be able to access the service through the Melissa Data website, or by connecting directly with the company’s server.

“Mailers who purchase the web service will be able to integrate it into their own systems to source real-time information,” Brown explained. “It will depend on how their system works, but it could mean making an XML web request to our server, which would then be able to connect to their server in return.”

The California-based company, which started out in 1985 helping direct mailers verify zip codes, is already providing data quality services for some of the major communications and e-commerce websites based in the US, including for addresses in Canada and the rest of the world.

Judging by the response during beta-testing, the company is expecting particular interest in its new service from mortgage, finance, insurance and real estate firms.

“We do anticipate that direct mailers that are in the finance or real estate industries could see some benefits in this service,” said Brown. “With our nationwide database of 140m properties, they would be able to slice and dice information, perhaps for a particular area – very similar to creating a mailing list.”

Brown said all data within the service was from publicly available information – he said it was effectively a “search engine for factual publicly-available information”.

Individuals that have specific needs to keep their details out of public records would not therefore be part of the database, he said.

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