So you want their email address. Or maybe you just want to write them something nice. Like “happy birthday” or “I’m gonna get you sucka!”
Of course, with their cell phone number, you can always text them. But for those like me who hate texting, try using Facebook or Linkedin. Both of these allow you to send messages or “inmails” even when the person is not in your network.
But what if they’re not on Facebook? If they own a small company, surprise them with a special message on their “Contact Us” page. Something in all caps like “HI JON, REMEMBER ME? I’M YOUR OLD SCHOOL BUDDY WHO YOU OWE A THOUSAND DOLLARS TO. GLAD YOU’RE DOING SO WELL. I’LL BE DROPPING BY SOON…”
That said, lets talk about emails! Thanks to spammers, email addresses are getting harder and harder to find. And what you find is often downright wrong or fabricated.
The Internet is rife with lots of crappy free email finders. These will give you emails of all sorts. But it’s a total mystery where they’re conjured up from!
For instance, I looked myself up on Melissa Data to learn I have an AOL email address. AOL? Seriously? Who uses AOL these days? I never did. I never will. The email result was bogus. So most free email finders are a waste of your time. There are much better places to look.
Of course, you can always Google it. This works best for rare names or for common ones where you know their middle initial or company. But Google is just the beginning. And most people want to sort through less crap not more.
So Googling is not always best. At least not until you already have an email address. For more on Google, See #4 on Emails From Where They Work/How To Get Their Email Address.
Always Check If The Email Address is Valid
Obviously you’ll be tempted to use any email source you can get. But don’t email anything until you confirm it’s a valid email address. Valid means the address accepts emails. You don’t want your message to bounce back or be lost in the Bermuda Triangle.
But even with a valid email address, it may not reach the person you’re looking for. Maybe email@example.com still belongs to your old college friend John Smith. But maybe not. It could be he got a new email and it now goes to Jason smith. That’s why you should Google everything you find and see what comes up. You can also enter the email address in the email reverse lookups for even more leads.
So now let’s hunt for the fast and easy ways to get emails. What we want is the low hanging fruit. The places where if you shake the tree, the email falls into your lap.
1. Emails Through Your LinkedIn Contacts
Yes! Did you know that you can get the emails of everyone in your immediate contact list? Just click on your contact. Then click on SHOW MORE to the right. And wallah! Out pops their email address!
Looking for someone else in the company? With one email as a guide, you can guess the format for all the others. Often it’s a first initial last firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still not sure? Then plug your best guess into an Email Validator.
If it’s not valid, it could mean they’ve left the company, they have a special email address or you got the format wrong. There’s also a slight chance that the email is valid, and it’s a false negative. This could happen if the company’s server is uncooperative.
Think they’re still at the company? Then use an email permutator to list their most likely email addresses. And be sure to plug each one into the email validator until you hit pay dirt.
2. Emails Through Their Occupation, License Or Certification
If they’re a lawyer, doctor, teacher or insurance agent, it’s usually easy to find their updated home or work address. And in some cases, such as with GA lawyers, you can actually see their email address! To search the contact information for lawyers, doctors, bankers, pilots, CPAs, teachers and more, see Their Profession/License Or Certifications.
Sometimes these professionals have their own practice. If they own a small company, all the better. Companies often have websites. And those that don’t have at least reserved a domain name. See below how this too can be used to get their email address!
3. Emails & Other Contact Info Through Their Domain Names & Websites
What if you could push a button and get their email address, cell phone # and physical address from all the websites they own? And what if you could do it with just their first and last name? Or the name of their company? You wouldn’t even have to know their web address! Well stop dreaming. Your prince has come!
Every respectable blog will tell you about doing a WhoIs domain lookup. All you have to do is enter their website address into the WhoIs search engine. (For example, you’d look up consumer-sos.com but without the http or www). At that point, you can see their contact information, including their email address. The exception is if they paid to keep it private.
But there’s a catch. Normally people won’t tell you, “Hi, I’m Bill Jones and did you know I have domain names at www….” So often you’ll have no clue if they have a website or not.
But there’s a new kid on the block. It’s a Reverse WhoIs that pulls up other people’s URLs. This includes active websites and domain names they’ve reserved but never used.
And it does so with just their first and last name! Actually, you don’t even need a full name! It works with rare first names, or their full name, or an email address, or just by the name of the company they own. So you don’t have to know much. Any one of these will do. And once you learn their domain names, it’s off to WhoIs for their emails!
Why Should I Care About Their Websites?
Several reasons. You want their email address right? And you’re not picky how you get it. So when you find a live website, look for their email address on the homepage. Often you’ll see it at “contact us” “Contact” or “About.” Also, a real live website is more apt to have a current email address.
Of course, not everyone has a website. Still, there are plenty of people who reserve a domain name, even if they never use it.
As mentioned earlier, you can do a WhoIs lookup on any of the active domains you find. Be sure to Google the expired domains as these won’t be in WhoIs. Google is like flypaper. It holds on to an everything, including the email addresses of long dead domain names.
For Past Versions of a Website Use The Way Back Machine. Lookup all domain names in the Way Back Machine to find old Websites even if they no longer exist. Or to see early versions of the current website. The reason? Even if the current website has no contact info, the subject may have listed it in earlier versions. And this could include a cell phone # or email address #!
4. Emails From Where They Work/How To Get or Guess Their Email Address
OK. Suppose you know that Jim Mcdonough works at Heninger Garrison Davis. The first stop is to go to the firm’s homepage and see if they list his contact info.
But what if it isn’t there? And suppose the firm doesn’t have a search engine where you could look for him? In that case, use Google to search for the email within the company’s website. And don’t forget to put in key words that are likely to return his email address.
For instance: You could Google within site for his first and last name along with the word Contact or Email. For example: jim mcdonough contact site:hgdlawfirm.com. When you list the website you must leave out the http or www.
Some websites will block Google search within site. But don’t you fret. Try the same search without a search within site. For example you could simply Google Jim Mcdonough Heninger Garrison Davis. Often the email will be in news articles, marketing posts or on other pages floating around in cyberspace.
How To Find Where They Work
The easiest ways to search are on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook or the Age/Employment lookup sites. The latter grabs the data from Linkedin, and you don’t need a LinkedIn account to see it.
You could also look up the company they own. And from there do a reverse WhoIs for their domain names. At that point, just plug these domain names back into a regular WhoIs for any emails you can find.
Note that many professionals must list their firm and email address with their licensing board. So you may be able to find their personal or business email through their Profession/License Or Certifications.
How To Guess An Email Address.
So he works for Microsoft? Then get a sample email address from Microsoft and copy the format. For example, many companies use a first initial last name approach.
To get a sample email, check the obvious places like their sales, marketing or legal divisions. Don’t forget to check your LinkedIn connections as well. Or do a WhoIs lookup on their website and copy the format from the email in their registration records.
5. Emails Through Companies They Own (Reserved Business Names)
You’d be surprised how many people “own” their own company. Own could mean a real company with a real product or service. But more often it means they simply paid $100 to reserve a business name. Yes it’s technically an INC or LLC, but it doesn’t do anything. Not that you care. You just want to look up their registration information or use it to find their email elsewhere.
So check the secretary of states offices where they could be an officer, agent or owner of a company. Do a separate search for each if allowed. It may be they’re just an agent.
Not sure what state to look in? Then search nationally for companies they may own, and then go back to the state of incorporation to hunt for emails. Emails could be listed in the articles of incorporation or in other corporate filings.
For more on companies, see below.
Private Corporations (Consumer-SOS)
Search by individual or their company. You can search within a state or nationwide to find company and then look up contact info where the company is located.
6. Emails Through Their Trademarks (TM Owner Lookup)
If you find a trademark owner, you can often get their email address as well. The USPTO Trademark Database allows you to search for their trademark or the name of the trademark owner.
Choose a “basic search” and in the “Search Term” box, enter the person’s name or their trademark. In the “Field” box, be sure to use the drop down to select “Combined Word Mark” or “Owner Name & Address.”
When you’re on the page of their trademark, click on the TSDR button which is on the top left. At that point you’ll see owner and attorney contact information.
Although I filed my trademark without an attorney, my email address was still found on the link to “Attorney/Correspondence Information“. But to be safe, you’ll also want to check “Current Owner(s) Information.”
7. Googling Valid and Invalid emails
Old or new, be sure to Google any email you get! You may learn they’ve changed jobs, have another email address, or there’s some other way to reach them.
8. Ways to Find Email Addresses In Google & Twitter
Here are blogs that cover this subject better than I can.
- 9 Actionable Ways To Find Anyone’s Email Address (8 of them are FREE) See #6 for using Twitter advance search to find emails.
- How To Find Anyone’s Personal or Work Email Address (Googling for the first and last name plus “gmail.com” (or some other free personal email extensions).