How to Find Someone’s Email Address

By on | Posted in Content Promotion

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There is a saying in basketball – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” In the outreach world, this quote transfers well – we can’t drive our preferred action unless our contact receives the request, and most times, the biggest barrier to getting this request in front of our contact is not being able to find their email address.

Thankfully, many tools have surfaced to make the task of being able to find an email easier and more scalable. This post will detail the many tools and strategies there are to find an email – beyond the beginner level “look for it” that most people already know.

ToutApp For Speeding Up Email Finding

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ToutApp is a tool to send email templates easily, as well as track opens. It seems useful, but I mainly use the free toolbar feature to speed up finding emails – it will instantly determine if there is an email address on the page, sparing you the time spent looking around the site in order to find it.

If the tool doesn’t show a number variable, that means there are no potential email addresses on the page – leaving you free to try and find the nearest “About” or “Contact” page.

WHOIS and the WHOIS Bookmarklet

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If there is no clear email on the page, WHOIS is a great place to find contact information. This works best for one-owner websites without much reason to hide contact information, giving you a clear line-of-sight to their email – and the first and last name of that person.

To speed up the process of finding this email, we suggest using a WHOIS bookmarklet. Drag the previous link to your toolbar as a bookmark, click it, and you’ll immediately bring up the WHOIS information for whatever site you’re on. If you’re on a page that isn’t the homepage, you’ll need to strip that out once you get to the WHOIS information.

EMail Format for Finding Common Syntax

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Email Format is a tool that searches the web for any email addresses for a given domain, returning addresses for whomever it can find for that company – giving you some obvious clues about what the email of your preferred contact might be.

This works best for medium to large sized companies with decent age, as these companies had enough time to pick up a common email format and also put their email addresses somewhere public on the internet.

Linksy.me Email Guesser

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Linksy.me uses Rapportive to guess the email address of your target by matching it against LinkedIn’s database. It quickly computes multiple email possibilities based on first name, last name and domain name to find a good address – if it hits, you’ll see the person’s smiling face on the tool.

This is especially great for industries where the webmaster is likely to have a LinkedIn profile (such as internet marketing).

Site:Twitter.com/username email

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This advanced search operator was originally brought to my attention by Emma Still and Gaz Copeland – it’s a smart and stupidly effective way of finding the email address of someone A) in demand and B) that’s a frequent user of Twitter. If the person you’re trying to contact meets these two variables, they likely have revealed their email on Twitter.

Contact Finder from Citation Labs

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The contact finder from Citation Labs is a great tool for bulk contact finding. If you have a lot of low-customization email work to do, inputting multiple domains into Contact Finder will give you a large number of contact options for easy emailing, including the website’s contact form and any email it finds.

Google Search Operators

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When in doubt, go back to the basics – mining Google using search operators. Here are just a few of our favorites for finding webmaster contact information in addition to the Twitter one mentioned above.

  • NAME email
  • NAME contact
  • “FIRSTNAME LASTNAME” email
  • “FIRSTNAME LASTNAME” contact
  • site:WEBSITE.com name email
  • site:WEBSITE.com contact
  • site:WEBSITE.com about
  • “NAME”

There are a lot of other operators out there that can be helpful/drill down more, but for the most part, the above four will pick up the majority of the email addresses, if they’re out there.

The “NAME” query is particularly useful for finding contact information on other domains your contact may work on/own, in case you can’t find the contact info on the first website you search through.

Shooting 100%

It’s really hard shooting 100% when trying to find email addresses – there will always be that webmaster that doesn’t want to reveal their contact information, or for whatever reason, they simply forget to include it on their site.

But it is often times that hard to find email that provides the most lucrative rewards – because it is an email that has often not been slammed by every marketer under the sun – so the effort of running the gamut on these tools to find it is worth it, if you think your content is a great fit for the site.

Do you have any other strategies for finding hard-to-find contact information? Please leave them in the comments – we’d love to hear them.

  • http://www.mobiliodevelopment.com/ Peter Nikolow

    Hi, i notice an broken url on Linksy.me it lead to 404.

    • rosshudgens

      Fixed, thank you!

  • Guest

    Hey Ross.

  • malditojavi

    Hey Ross, 2 new ones that worked for me:

    – Slideshare/Speakerdeck slides: Usually, speakers include a way of contact them in the last slide.
    – Hotmail (360 Million users) and Yahoo (281 Million users) still are active and still some people are using them. So basically if you obtained no results with any gmail address for none of your suggested strategies, try with @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com :)

    • rosshudgens

      Ha good ways of finding an email! Slideshare’s definitely a good one, I wonder how many people that do that don’t have it available somewhere else though.

      I don’t normally search for “gmail” but I could see doing that as another option.

  • http://www.northsideseo.com/ Anthony D. Nelson

    Two other methods worth mentioning.
    1) Facebook Fan Pages -> About Tab – pure gold for blogs that don’t list an email
    2) AllMyTweets.net + Twitter Handle -> search for email, gmail, etc

  • Sam Mazaheri

    This is GOLD. I almost don’t want to share it :)

  • Neil Vermillion

    Scrapebox has a plugin to auto collect names from WhoIs. You can perfrom a search from Google based one your search query and collect thousands of urls. Then take those search results and insert them into the WhoIs plugin and collect their email addresses (complete with name, domain, and email address, which is perfect for mail merge using Google Docs) very quickly.

    It’s possible to get thousands of email addresses in like 20-30 minutes. In my experience the WhoIs addresses are usually very high responses as they tend to use a working email address to register the domain. In my opinion, this feature alone is worth the one-time fee for buying Scraebox.

    • rosshudgens

      Powerful stuff. Unfortunately, I find fewer and fewer uses for the “blast at everyone” kind of email, so even the Citation Labs example I mention in this post is something I haven’t really used – but can’t see myself saying I’d never use again.

  • somecloakanddaggerspammer

    There is also the blind fire technicque, admin@ webmaster@ etc, sometimes you get lucky and sometimes they have a catchall set up.

    • rosshudgens

      Occasionally do that with the firstname/lastname format as well, which is somewhat “blind fire” as well because you never really know. Good thought about the catchall though, many companies will have that setup.

  • http://www.twitter.com/treycopeland Trey Copeland

    If you know the company’s domain name you can also search:

    “*@domain.com”
    Or
    Email “*@domain.com”
    Or
    NAME “*@domain.com”

    Those are a few that I use. Hope they help.

    • rosshudgens

      I’ve used that before in the past as well. Nice one.

  • Brett Snyder

    Man, I know a few of these but Email Format and Linksy.me are definitely ones that I need to check out. I’d also be curious to hear if you’ve ever looked at SEOgadget’s contact finder (http://tools.seogadget.co.uk/) for this?

    Great post as always my friend! Also as an unrelated side note, I’m pretty sure that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” was Gretzsky, not a basketball reference :-)

    • rosshudgens

      I have not used their tool.. I’ll check it out though! And wow, can’t believe I messed up that reference. Kudos to you Brett – not surprisingly, the tech marketing crowd almost completely whiffed on calling me out on it, but nice job picking that up. :)

  • Olga

    Many people would disclose their gmails in their Google+ profiles. That’s one of the first things I’d check out when looking for someone’s email.

  • Lucy

    Thank you SO much! I’ve been trying other methods for hours, in vain, and Whois got me the information in 10 seconds. Will definitely keep this in mind!