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Introducing Lookup: Reduce Spam, Improve Deliverability, and Use Local-Friendly Number Formats


The more you know about your customer, the better you can serve them.  But what happens when all you know about them is a phone number? Turns out, a good deal. Today we’re happy to introduce you to a new product called Lookup, an API that will retrieve detailed information about a phone number.

With Lookup you can present your international numbers in the most local-friendly manner, reduce spam, and know when you need to use voice instead of messaging.

Format Lookups: Always Use the Most Local-Friendly Format

Numbers can be written in many formats; for example, 55-115525-6325 can also be written as (11) 5525-6325 (national format) or +551155256325 (E.164 format). Some of those formats are more visually appealing than others — for example, you wouldn’t want to list “+1” national code on a Yelp ad. Now, with this free Lookup, businesses like PaybyPhone can systematically ensure that the numbers they select are the most familiar to locals by identifying and adjusting international phone numbers into the national format. “Identifying the originating number type and country code enables targeted communications,” explains Chris Morrow, Head of PaybyPhone IT Operations.

Additionally, they can scrub out numbers with invalid formats. Lookup identifies erroneous phone number entries that don’t follow standard number structure (e.g. 404-2010-10202). “Lookup allows PayByPhone to increase the quality of consumer data gathered, and improves the consumer experience, by validating accuracy of data inputs,” says Morrow. “This enables developers to easily author applications which perform input validation while minimizing consumer interaction.”
Format Lookups are free on Twilio.

Carrier & Type Lookup: Reduce Spam and Improve Deliverability

In the past, when there was a higher barrier to getting a phone number, a phone number was similar to an ID. When someone looked up a number, they could assume that each phone number had one owner. In today’s world, it’s far easier to acquire numbers, and some folks have multiple numbers. Now, we are in full support of giving everyone and anyone access to communications tools like phone numbers — as long as they use their powers for good.

However, some seek to misuse those powers, and use phone numbers from free online providers to create fake profiles to spam businesses. Carrier & Type Lookup helps businesses identify the carrier behind the phone number to learn which users are more likely to be legitimate.

Additionally, you can improve deliverability by looking up number types that don’t accept all communications. For example, most landline numbers and many VoIP numbers do not accept SMS messages. With Lookup, you can better identify which kind of communications users can accept, based on their number type. This allows businesses to recognize when an alternative delivery method may be needed to successfully send voice and messaging communications.

Carrier & Type is, collectively, $.005/lookup.

If you’re ready to get started, check out our QuickStart guide or API docs. Otherwise, peruse our Lookup product page for a demo where you can enter in a phone number of your choice and see it work live.

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