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Email as the Core of Digital Identity: The AtData Story

Mar 27, 2024   |   4 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

How AtData’s bet on email addresses paved the way to becoming the leader in email address intelligence.

Have you ever considered how central your email address is to your digital life?

It has become the cornerstone of your digital identity.

This realization is at the heart of AtData’s journey — a path marked by foresight, innovation, and transformation. Our journey, spanning over two decades, is a testament to innovation, strategic evolution, and the visionary bet our founders took on the pivotal role of the email address in digital identity.

The Dawn of AtData

At the turn of the millennium, when the internet was still finding its feet in the consumer world, AtData’s CEO, Tom Burke, envisioned a future where email was the nucleus of personal identity.

From the outset, Burke and his team believed that email addresses held the key to a more profound understanding of an individual. Unlike other personal identifiers that might change over time — phone numbers, addresses, even names — email addresses possess a unique “stickiness”. They’re integral to our online lives, intertwining our digital interactions from everything to signing up for our favorite retailer’s newsletter to reconnecting with old high school friends on social media.

AtData was born from this vision, embarking on a mission to harness the potential of email address data. Our foundation was built on the belief that email addresses were the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of digital identities.

This foundational bet on email was a gamble, juxtaposed against the backdrop of an internet still in its infancy, and figuring out its place in society. But more than that, it was foresight. It positioned AtData not just as a participant in the blossoming tech industry but as a trailblazer paving the way for the future of email address technology. It was a calculated stride into the future guided by the belief in the enduring value of email addresses as a universal identifier.

With this insight, AtData built what would become the most comprehensive email-centric dataset. By focusing on email addresses as the nucleus, AtData was able to weave together vast amounts of insight, crafting a quilt that depicts individual digital personas with accuracy and depth.

This wasn’t just about managing data, however — it was about understanding the digital human condition in its entirety. Through this lens, AtData provides solutions that resonate with our increasingly digital existence.

As the digital landscape continued to evolve, so too did the significance of AtData’s early bet on email. It became clear that email addresses were not just persistent but also incredibly versatile, capable of linking disparate pieces of online activity to create a cohesive profile. This versatility has allowed AtData to stay at the forefront of the digital identity conversation by confidently improving first-party data and understanding its foundational elements.

Strategic Growth and Evolution

The dawn of AtData was the beginning of a new chapter in the digital age. And as AtData grew, so did our ambition and capabilities.

In 2001, TowerData was established with a clear mission to enhance email append services, laying the groundwork for a future where email data’s integrity and utility are the foundation. This vision was complemented by FreshAddress’s patented Email Change of Address (ECOA) service and SafeToSend® validation, among other offerings, setting a high standard for email list optimization.

Our acquisition strategy, aimed at consolidating expertise and technology, included significant milestones. In 2008, FreshAddress’s acquisition of Return Path’s Email Change of Address business unit was a strategic move to centralize consumer email updates. Similarly, TowerData’s acquisitions, from Rapleaf in 2013, adding layers of email intelligence, to Xverify in 2018, enhancing our validation capabilities, and Bouncepilot in 2020, expanding into email retargeting, were all steps towards a more holistic approach to email address intelligence.

The merger between FreshAddress and TowerData in 2021 was a landmark event, unifying two leading forces in the email data sector. The synergy between FreshAddress’s expertise in list optimization and TowerData’s prowess in validation and identity matching created a powerhouse in email verification and hygiene services.

The rebranding to become AtData in the same year reflected this evolved identity. Transitioning from FreshAddress and TowerData to AtData made a statement about our expanded vision and capabilities. AtData encapsulates over two decades of experience, innovation, and leadership in email solutions, symbolizing our commitment to helping customers get the most out of their first-party data.

AtData stands today as The Email Address Experts, a title that reflects our ongoing journey and forward-looking mission. Reflecting on our over 20 years, it’s clear that the essence of AtData remains unchanged.

Our commitment to innovation, data integrity, and customer-centric solutions has only deepened. As AtData, we are not just witnessing the evolution of digital identity — we are actively shaping its future.

Looking Ahead: The Future of AtData

As we look to the horizon, we’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. AtData is not just responding to the digital identity challenge — we’re leading the charge. With continuous innovation, customer-centric solutions, and an unwavering dedication to email address data integrity, we’re poised to redefine what’s possible in the digital age.

As we embrace the next chapters in our story, we invite you to join us on this journey.

Discover more about our evolution, our vision, and the values that drive us:
AtData’s History   |   About AtData

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