Email Hippo Limited
Pennygillam Industrial Estate,
Tel: 01566 701204
- 2020 Innovation
As a software provider delivering cloud-based email verification services, Email Hippo was frequently targeted by ‘friendly fraud’ – when credit card providers obtain refunds for customers who have used services, but then deny they have.
Innovation stems from breaking new ground. In 2016 there was no solution available to stop friendly fraud. Payment gateway services reported retrospectively. Complex, expensive anti-fraud systems existed but, with typical costs of around $40 per transaction, they weren’t geared towards smaller companies. Even if they were affordable, the solutions were over engineered and out of touch with the simplicity of the marketplace.
Email Hippo couldn’t afford to be a victim of fraud. Indeed, solving the problem was an attractive challenge for the company’s three developers, whose key tools were experience, knowledge and email validation software. The weak point was the web sign-up form for new accounts, so the team set about engineering a fraud-proof sign-up process, adding 70 new checks (datapoints). Elsewhere, they explored patterns in email addresses of fraudsters and tested blocking emails with particular characteristics. The team knew it was onto something when – even though online fraud was increasing exponentially – fraud against Email Hippo fell by over 90% within two months of the new system being deployed.
Building on the success of this internal project, the team at Email Hippo developed MORE API, a refined version of the fraud busting sign-up process that includes the Email Hippo Trust Score (EHTS). Established to help users interpret and consume data, EHTS is a unique scoring system that takes all 74 datapoints checked for every email address then groups them into categories, weights the importance of results and cross references them to check for patterns and influences. The resultant score is a number between zero and 10.
MORE API is innovative because it came from an idea engineered to solve a problem; it broke new ground. Nobody had ever analysed an email address as a first line of defence ‘tell’ in online fraud – and now it is proven to help reduce fraudulent activity.