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A Complete List of Little-Known Tricks to Finding Anyone’s Email Address

January 17th, 2014 | | Posted in category Facebook Google+ Infographics Internet Marketing Linkedin Twitter

guide to finding an email address

Living in the age of Internet should have made people's lives easier.  Seriously, we can find any information with just a few clicks and even if we misspell words a cunning algorithm will shed some light on our partial illiteracy.

However I am not going to talk about the fact that mankind would rather browse the web to learn how to make an awesome make-up for a perfect selfie rather than to find out if there's been a progress in AIDS treatment.  What surprises me more is that a world where people are supposed to get connected easily even if they don't know each other is paradoxically closed for such kind of interaction.

We can find almost anyone on social networks but it's getting harder to have a chat with them if they don't know you personally.  Some people call it privacy, others call it a challenge.

If you're a marketer you must have faced the following question at least once: how do I get their email address? Social networks are nice, easy-to-use and look very tempting due to their entertainment nature, but they are not always the best tool for doing business.

According to a recent study by McKinsey and Company email is 40 times more effective than Twitter or Facebook.

email is better than social media

With this knowledge in mind most companies will continue investing in email marketing and will invent new, sophisticated ways to make users subscribe and leave their email addresses. But what should one do if they just want to find an email address of the definite person?

This post was structured to help you with that. Today we will talk about the following things:

  1. How to find a Gmail address, and will talk about the latest Gmail update.
  2. How to find a corporate or personal email address.
  3. Some plugin hacks we hope you'll use wisely.
  4. How to contact a person if you have none of the abovementioned email addresses and cannot find them.

By the end of the read you'll get a better idea on 3 little-known tricks that can get you an email address of almost any person:

  1. Gmail update that lets you send an email with Google+
  2. Rapportive plugin reverse use
  3. LinkedIn functionality peculiarity

We will also discuss the most common places and methods to search for an email address along the way.

Gmail Adventures: now you can email your G+ connections without knowing their actual address

Google is doing their best to promote their beloved kid, Google+, as much as they could. Recently they gave us all one more reason to create a powerful account on this network.

Now anyone can write you, yes, you, an email message if you are registered on Google+. And I am sure you know that you are automatically given a G+ account as soon as you register an email address.  Luckily the sender will not see your email address unless you reply to that message.

The algorithm is the following:

    1. Go to G+ and add the necessary person to your circles (otherwise the magic won't work);
    2. Go to Gmail and type in the name of the person you've just added. You'll see a number of suggestions from Google+ in auto-complete.

google+ update

  1. Write the letter and press send.

Voila! You've just reached a person who has never shared an email address with you.  If a person responds to your message you will see their email address in the reply. However, if they prefer to leave your letter unnoticed you'll be unable to send the second one to that Google+ account.

The letter will be sent to the Primary section of Gmail inbox if the sender and the recipient both circled each other. If the recipient hasn't added the sender to one of the circles – the letter will be located in the Social section of Gmail inbox.

gmail upd

Now let's try to put ourselves into that person's shoes. What if someone emails you and you don't feel like receiving letter from complete strangers or just feel it's weird nobody cared to ask for your email address in advance.

Google thinks about your feelings too. You can set limits to feel comfortable in your own inbox by deciding who can send you messages via Gmail:

  1. No one;
  2. People who you've added to the circles;
  3. People who are not your direct friends on Google+ but who are connected to someone in your circles;
  4. Anyone.

connections

Thus, you can protect your privacy as a person, but as a marketer you'd prefer people to keep this opportunity forever. I have already seen many folks who deleted their Google+ profiles for good because they still felt insecure.

How to find a corporate email address (and sometimes a personal one)

Some people can be paranoid about privacy and security issues on the internet, others are pretty careless.  The more emails a person receives every day the more times he will think before leaving their email address in any profile info.

However below I will list the most common places where you can look for an email address (both personal and corporate) before using your one chance on Gmail:

  1. Google+ contact info.  Any Google+ profile is divided into several sections: About, Posts, Photos, YouTube, +1's, Reviews.  Some people eagerly mention their email address in the About section, especially those interested in doing online business, freelancers, etc. From my own personal experience I can say that if you're looking for a way to get in contact with someone from an SEO industry you'll have more chances of finding their addresses on Google+.
  2. LinkedIn under the Additional Info part. Most people will not miss an opportunity to become a job candidate from time to time. Obviously people who are searching for a new job or a new opportunity will specify their email address for HR managers, especially those who are most desperate at finding a new job and young professionals who want to have it all and use any chance. Mature professionals and those in sales might specify their corporate email address for clients' convenience.
  3. Any other regional social network or freelance and job sites.
  4. Website's contact info. Small companies have a tendency to publish their CEO's or founder's email address in the contact us section of their sites. Please also pay attention that an CEO of a small company can feel pretty comfortable with having an email address like info- or sales@example.com. This is why you might want to know the company size first. You can do this by searching the company name on LinkedIn or on Manta that's a wonderful resource containing various info on small companies including company size.

And certainly one of the major places where you can find a corporate email address is Google. It's a more time-consuming method but at times it can help you if you feel desperate.

Basically you need to combine an email address for a person you’re looking for. Thus, you should take the domain name of the company they are looking for, the name of the person and google as many variations as possible. Here are the most common ones:

  • dan_smith@example.com
  • dan.smith@example.com
  • dsmith@example.com
  • d.smith@example.com
  • smith.d@example.com
  • smithd@example.com
  • smith.dan@example.com
  • smith_dan@example.com
  • dan@example.com – this pattern is mostly common for small companies or for a huge company but this email normally belongs to a founder or to the person who's been working for this company for a long-long time (because normally such simple emails are given when there are very few employees)
  • smith@example.com – the same pattern
  • ds@example.com

When googling these email addresses please do not be lazy and look at page 2 and 3 as very often people could have left their email addresses in not very popular places. This could be a press release on a small conference in Côte d'Ivoire. Do not worry, you're not the only one who doesn't know where Côte d'Ivoire is located, but it is not important as long as you find a corporate email address.

Even if you don’t find any of the variations in Google, stay cheerful as you still have a chance to find a corporate email address. There are sites and communities where you can search for emails or verify your generated variations like:

I'd love to note that some of them come at additional costs but for some industries the money pays off enormously.

NB! When searching for a corporate email address please also remember that there can be two Dan Smiths working at the same company. Figuring out what email address belongs to your Dan Smith might require an excellent 6th sense.

Life hack with a plugin

About a year ago I saw an article that drew my attention, it talks about a plugin that can help you with a challenging task of finding one's email address.  By sharing this info as long with all the above mentioned methods I hope you will not use this knowledge to spam people. And if you do, just know that an average spammer's life is 2 seconds – it's the time that takes to delete your message from a mailbox.

I'd love to introduce to you the plugin called Rapportive. Its main aim was to show the sender more social info of the recipient. Thus when you enter a valid email address in Gmail you will see all possible social accounts associated with this person and this email address.

On the picture below you can see the info that Rapportive showed me when I typed in Mike Traphagen's email address. In my defense I'd like to say that I found Mark's email address on his Google+ profile and am not an evil person who shares his contact details with the whole world.

mark traphagen

Over the time most marketers changed the logics a bit and are using the tool as the email verificator. Basically you just generate all possible email variations and type them in in Gmail. Rapportive will show you social media information only when you enter a valid email address.

The plugin is easy to install and Rapportive founders take privacy issues very seriously: the plugin shows the emails that are publically available i.e. email owners shared them openly somewhere on the web with a clear understanding that this information can be used by a third party.

How to contact a person if you cannot find their email address

In this chapter I am going to share a very sensitive piece of information that I happened to know by chance when working as a sales manager.  Hopefully, none of our readers will use this info for spamming.

There are great chances that you won't find the email address, but in case you still want to get in contact with this person on the web you can try social networks:

    • Google+ - send a message, this option is not always available, most users turned it off, but when it’s not you’ll see the following icons (you need to press the second one in a row to compose a G+ message).  Or press the 1st icon to have a private hangout with the person.

google+

  • Facebook  - send a message but if you’re not connected with the recipient on Facebook the message will be placed in the Other section (next to Inbox where messages from your friends are located), and unfortunately people rarely see this tab.
  • Twitter – you can send a DM only if a user follows you, alternatively you can just send a tweet, but most business people find it completely challenging to write a substantial business or sales message in 140 characters.

I'd like to focus your attention on LinkedIn in particular. It seems to be a perfect place for building relationships, but LinkedIn is also very strict concerning how many people you can add to your connections and on what grounds. If LinkedIn decides you're abusing the freedom and trust given to you, it will limit your connection abilities to only one reason: email address.

Sounds quite like a paradox, doesn't it? But here comes the trick I stumbled upon a couple of years ago. LinkedIn doesn't always need a valid and verified email address.  What you need to do is to write an email address LinkedIn algorithm can associate with a definite person.

Let's take me for example.  My full name is Olga Filonchuk and my current job is at Link-Assistan.Com. To add me via email on LinkedIn you have to specify the following address: olga.filonchuk@link-assistant.com and I will get your invitation even though my LinkedIn profile is registered with the help of my Gmaill address and in spite of the fact that my working email is not and never was olga.filonchuk@link-assistant.com.

Also don't be surprised if you accidently add another person as this email address could really belong to other person with the same name who works at the very same company.

Final words

As a former sales manager I can confidently say that if you really do want to talk to someone on the web – you will do this, you'll find his email address or will have a chat on one of social networks.

What most people do not understand is that it's not an email address that's hard to find – it's an honest answer that's challenging to get. It may come as a surprise but your emails are ignored many more times than they are not delivered or unseen. 

Sometimes people just_do_not_want_to_reply_to_your_emails. Take it, learn it, accept it and adjust your world view.

Some may argue that there are certain people or the so-called celebrities who are impossible to get in contact with. I could agree with you but… I have Barack Obama as a 2nd degree connection on LinkedIn.

barack obama on linkedin

Right people bring you to right places and to other right people. Just make sure you use this chance for good reasons, not for spam.



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