MAILERS+4:Name Parse and Genderizer

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The Name Parse & Genderizer feature in MAILERS+4 offers list managers two powerful tools to use with mailing lists. It separates a full name field into it's components and determines the gender of a first name. Name Parse and Genderizing operations can be done concurrently at 525,000 records per hour.

Name Parsing

Name parsing takes a full name and separates it into five parts. It sounds easy, but the devil is always in the details. Names come in many different formats. Here are some examples.

  1. Robert A Smith Ph.D.
  2. Mr. Bob Smith Jr.
  3. Bob and Mary Smith
  4. Rev. R A Smith
  5. Smith, Robert A.

MAILERS+4 can handle all of these examples. Name Parse automatically separates the data in a Full Name field into prefix, first, middle, last and suffix fields. It then writes this information back to your list. The Full Name field is left unchanged. Typical prefixes are Mr., Mrs., Mr. & Mrs., and Rev. Typical suffixes are Jr., Sr, III, and Ph.D. The middle name can be just an initial.

The following table show how a Full Name like "Mr. Robert A Smith Jr." is separated into component fields.

Field Data
Full Name Mr. Robert A Smith Jr.
Prefix Mr.
First Name Robert
Middle Initial A
Last Name Smith
Suffix Jr
Gender M

To use Name Parse you first need to format your list. The Format feature is found under the Files menu. Formatting maps your field names to MAILERS+4 data types. At a minimum, Name Parse requires a Full Name field and one of the name components or a gender field. If you are missing a required field, Name Parse will not start. The Name Parse feature is found under the List menu. To run Name Parse you only need to click on the Go bottom. If the Go button is grayed out, you do not have a Full Name Field formatted and one other name components.

Special Cases

The are some special cases to be aware of with Name Parse. If only one name is found in the Full Name field, it is assumed to be a last name. With a "Bob and Mary Jones" in the Full Name field, the "Bob and Mary" are copied to the first name field. A Full Name field with a comma is assumed to be of the format "Last Name, First Name Middle". If any numbers are found in the Full Name field, the name is not parsed and an error is indicated. If only two first names are found in the Full Name field, the second one is assumed to be a last name.

Error Code

Name Parse uses an error field to indicate problems with the data in the Full Name field. If a number is found in the Full Name field, an asterisk (*) is placed in the Error Field.

Name Genderizing

This feature determines the gender or sex of a name based on the first name. Genderizing runs at the same time as Name Parsing. It compares the parsed First Name to an internal database of first names. It contains 13,710 of the most common first names used in the United States. A first name is identified as male, female or neutral. Chris, Pat and Dale are examples of names where the sex of the person can be either male or female.

If the first name is found in the internal First Name Database, the gender field is updated with M, F, N or U. Where M is for male, F is for female, N is for neutral name and U is Unknown. The Unknown occurs when the First Name is not found in the First Name Database. The most common cause for a type U is just an initial for the first name (i.e. W. Clinton).

Knowing the gender of a name allows you to separate your list by gender. A different offer can then be made to each group. You can also create salutations based on gender. Instead of opening your letter with "Dear Robert Smith", you can use a more proper "Dear Mr. Smith".

Vulgar Words

New with the October 1999 release is the detection of vulgar (four letter) words. Since may lists are created by the users entering data themselves on the web, there is no check for vulgar or inappropriate words. MAILERS+4 has a database for over 500 words that should not be used in a mailing list. A "V" is added to the gender field if one of these words is found in the name field.


The Name Parser and Genderizer feature in MAILER'S+4 opens up new opportunities with your mailings. You can create special salutations, sort lists by last name and have separate offers according to gender. Only MAILER'S+4 gives you the powerful features you need to get the highest response to your mailings.