It’s not so simple in the world of email addresses. Unless you’ve emailed someone before and have their address saved in AutoComplete, you’re probably out of luck. Let’s look at a variety of methods you can use to find an unknown email address.
Of course, this won’t work for all situations, like if you’re trying to find the email address of someone you don’t know. Or, if you’re doing a bit of “research” on them, try some of the more advanced methods.
Check Social Media
On some Facebook profiles, you’ll see an Ask for [Name]’s email address link if they haven’t provided it. You can click this button to send a request directly to that person for their email address. This might come across as a bit creepy, but at least it’s straightforward.
Your next best bet is a Google search. Try searching the person’s name you’re looking for and see if they have a website or profile on their company’s page. Of course, you’ll have better results with this if your mystery person has an uncommon name. Finding Sarah Smith’s address is nearly impossible unless you have some extra information to include in your search.
While it’s marketed towards businesses, Hunter is a tool that could aid in your search. Just enter a domain name (like @makeuseof.com) and Hunter will do its best to find all the email addresses for that company. A free account allows you 150 searches per month, which should be plenty for personal use.
What’s great about Hunter is that it lists sources for its email address findings. You can visit these and potentially dig up more information. Further, it detects the email address format for that business, making it easier to guess even if the person you want isn’t listed.
…But Don’t Bother with Spammy Search Sites
Work With Dedicated Extensions
Chrome extensions do everything you could imagine, so it’s no surprise there are add-ons for finding people. One of these is eToggler, which works by crawling people’s LinkedIn profiles.
Install the eToggler extension for Chrome, then browse to any LinkedIn profile. You’ll see a small window for the extension in the bottom right of the page; click Add to eToggler and the person joins your list. Click View results and you’ll see some basic info pulled from their profile, including (hopefully) their email.
Try to Guess It
Depending on how well you know the person, you might guess their email address through a bit of thinking. Try firstname.lastname@example.org and other similar combinations of their name. Do they have any online aliases, perhaps on a gaming network, that they also use as their email address?
Any information you have about them, like their pet’s name or favorite sports team, could help you guess their email address. Once you think you’ve got it, send a short, simple email to the supposed addresses. Mention that you’re looking for Mark and thought this might be his email. If it is, explain you’d like to talk with him, and if not apologize for the disturbance.
Hopefully you’ll get lucky and contact the right person, but if not the other party might let you know that you’ve got the wrong address.
Outsource the Work
If all else fails, try posting in the soc.net-people Google Group. This is a group dedicated to helping track down people’s email addresses. Chances are you won’t have much luck, as most of the threads on this site haven’t gotten any responses.
However, it’s worth a try and doesn’t take much time. You should include as much info as possible on the person so other have an easier time tracking them down.
Tracking Them Down
The best method is just asking people for their address, so don’t be afraid to contact them through a social messenger or similar means to ask. They probably won’t find it weird!
To think about the opposite side of this, discover how spammers find your email address.
Have you ever miraculously tracked down someone’s email address from the innards of the internet? Share your best tools for finding an email address with us down in the comments!
Image Credit: ra2studio via Shutterstock.com
Originally written by Guy McDowell on February 19, 2009 Source: www.makeuseof.com