By Joseph Vertido

DQT Product Specialist

 

Understanding Preferred and Vanity City Names

 

If you were to take a stroll along the streets in front of the Kodak Theater in California and ask people, “What city am I in?” You might be surprised to find that while some people will say you’re in Los Angeles, others will say Hollywood! Fortunately in this case, both of these city names are actually correct.

 

For every city, there is an official name assigned to it by the USPS®. These are called “preferred city names.” In some cities however, there may be alternatives to the assigned USPS preferred city name. These are called “vanity city names.” Although vanity names are considered alternates, they are still deemed valid and deliverable by the USPS.

 

The “UseUSPSPreferredCityNames” Property

 

Melissa Data’s Address Object will verify addresses that use vanity city names and preserves them by default. But for those who need to prune out vanity cities in their database – for example insurance companies who are required to use only the preferred city names – the Address Object has the option to automatically convert vanity names to the USPS preferred city. This is done by setting the UseUSPSPreferredCityNames Property to true:

 

AddrObj.UseUSPSPreferredCityNames = true;

 

Thus entering an address with a vanity city such as:

 

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Holywood CA

 

will verify to its preferred city name:

 

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles CA

 

 

Preferred City Names and the ZIPData Interface

 

The FindZIP Method of the ZIPData Interface allows you to search for cities in a given ZIP Code. Setting the GetLastLineRecord flag of the FindZIP Method to 0, will return all the available cities (including vanity cities).

 

For example:

 

FindZIP(“10008”, 0) and FindZIPNext()

 

will return the following:

 

ManhattanVanity City

New York – Preferred City

 

Setting the GetLastLineRecord flag to 1 however, lets you limit your search to preferred cities only. Thus:

 

FindZIP(“10008”, 1)

 

Will only return:

 

New York

 

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