Rapid and Vanity Addressing – and the Apple Hotel

Mid next month iDQ will move our London office to a new address:

2nd Floor
Berkeley Square House
Berkeley Square
United Kingdom

It’s a good old English address including a lot of lines on an envelope.

The address could be either shorter or longer.

The address below will in fact be enough to have a letter delivered:

2nd Floor

Due to the granular UK postal code system a single post code may either be a single address a part of a long road or a small street.

This structure is also what is exploited in what is called rapid addressing, where you only type in the need data and the rest is supplied by a (typically cloud) service.

But sometimes people want their addresses presented in a different way than the official way. Maybe I want our address to be:

2nd Floor
Berkeley Square House
Berkeley Square
United Kingdom

Mayfair is a nice part of London. Insisting in including this element in the address is an example of vanity addressing.

Here’s the map of the area:

Notice the place in the upper right corner of the Google Map: Apple Store Regent Street. With an icon with a bed. This means it’s a hotel. Is the Apple Store really a hotel? No – except for some while ago when people slept in front of the store waiting for a product with a notable map service as reported by Richard Northwood (aka The Data Geek) in the post Data Quality Failure – Apple Style.

Well Google, you can’t win them all.

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5 thoughts on “Rapid and Vanity Addressing – and the Apple Hotel

  1. Ricky Patel 31st October 2012 / 17:22

    During my time in the data industry I have also seen other examples of Vanity Addressing, which I like to refer to as “Vanity Address Elements”. The example you have supplied is very popular for business wanted to be associated with a particular part of the world. Many interesting examples arise when you look at consumer/residential addresses, where organisations can struggle with maintaining and validating “Vanity Address Elements” relating to their customers.

    Example 1: Postal Non Required Localities.

    This is exactly the example you have provided. Where consumers want to be associated with a particular Village/Hamlet, when supplying the major adjacent Town/City is normally enough.

    Example 2: County information

    In the data industry this is now referred to as “Former Postal Counties”. In 2000 the UK PAF file (Royal Mail Postal Address File) stopped providing county information. This can have adverse effects on some validations tools, which may remove this information from the results. Many residents who are used to the old county based sorting system like to see county information on the letter.

    Example 3: Consumer Vanity Premise information.

    By far the most popular residential vanity item is the “Vanity House Name”. This where the resident has given their house a name which is not required to post a letter. “The Rose Cottage”, 13 High Street, Is a perfect example as having just 13 High Street is enough to identify the property when supplied with a postcode.


    This poses a challenge to organisations, do they keep the vanity item or remove it. Keeping the information will give a strong sense of client centricity, while the removing it will give the organisation a strict postal address for accurate profiling, auditing and Single Customer View Projects. As mentioned in the original post, these vanity items are not needed for effective delivery.

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 31st October 2012 / 17:34

      Thanks a lot Ricky for providing a good description of vanity address elements.

  2. Andrew Young 31st October 2012 / 19:49

    Vanity addresses are a problem for flat file data bases, that’s why we in local government use the relational NLPG which allows for an ‘official’ address plus alternatives all linked through the same unique property reference number.

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 31st October 2012 / 23:37

      Andrew, thanks for adding in. In fact, this principle is exactly the concept behind the iDQ MDM edition.

    • Ricky Patel 1st November 2012 / 09:56

      Excellent point Andrew, we are hoping to see the same benefits you have in local government in the private secotor by utilising the Address Base Premium Data Set.

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