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API Spotlight: Name Validation APIs
2/17/2023 - Brian O'Neill

Names on wedding table

It’s no exaggeration to say that our names are a critically important part of our identify. The way our names are pronounced and spelled, for example, is often rooted in our own personal family history, so when others misspell or mispronounce them, it’s easy for us to feel offended or exasperated as a result.

This sensitive subject intersects with online business when we ask customers to record their names and contact details on our website. When this contact information is used to automate customer outreach (such as in emails, cards, etc.), it’s extremely important that each customer’s name is spelled the way they expect it to be, or our relationship with that customer can immediately begin on the wrong foot.

Names need to be entered correctly into our systems out the outset, and name validation APIs provide the logic to ensure that happens. Below, we’ll highlight some of our Name Data Validation API iterations and discuss the value they bring to any application storing customer information.

Validate a First or Last Name

Our two most basic name validation APIs identify whether first and last name entries are valid based on an inclusive set of criteria. Rather than rigidly referencing first and last names against a database – a practice which often fails to include many unique, personal spellings of names – the first and last name validation APIs will simply ensure that numbers, irrelevant symbols, spam inputs and blank entry fields are avoided during name entry.

Common spellings of names will receive a ValidKnown result, while more rare or altogether new spellings of names will return a ValidUnknown result, ensuring customers can use a unique spelling and also quickly identify typos if that spelling was unintentional. Other name validation responses include InvalidSpam, InvalidCharacters, and InvalidEmpty.

Parse and Validate a Full Name

This API iteration is designed to allow users to enter full names – including suffixes, nicknames, and titles – into a single field as a string. This iteration makes it possible to capture a wide variety of information about our customers and naturally accommodate both longer family names and titled names, such as those starting with “Dr.”, “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, etc.

When a full name string is entered, this API will automatically identify each element of the name and break it down into its component parts, including FirstName, LastName, MiddleName, Nickname, Title, and Suffix. Out of all these components, only the first and last names will be directly validated for accuracy, using the same validation logic & validation responses described for the previous iteration.

This API will first provide a Boolean response determining the success of the operation. Additionally, after breaking a full name into its components, it will return the full DisplayName as a string.

Get the Gender of a First Name

Since names often reflect a person’s gender identity, storing gender information based on name inputs allows us to customize our relationship more effectively with each customer. If, for example, we are storing customer information on an ecommerce shopping website, we can use gender categorization to automatically tailor product suggestions to a customer and increase commercial engagement.

It's important to note, however, that not all names directly indicate a particular gender, and implied gender can also vary based on culture. As a result, this API takes into account both first names AND country codes, and returns possible gender values including Male, Female, and Neutral.

For more information on our Name Validation and Data Validation APIs, please feel free to make an inquiry with our sales team.

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