How to find an email address from the web?
October 3, 2006 5:02 AM   Subscribe

How do I find someone's email address from the web?

I'm frequently asked to find people's email addresses for work purposes (e.g. sending them invitations to conferences - not spam). This often results in fruitless Googling of that person's name, especially if their employer or organisation can't be contacted by phone. It's particularly hard to tell if any addresses that come up are still valid, or even when the page was posted. Is there a service that would make this any easier?
posted by spiff101 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Any public forum where the person posts their email is probably searchable in some way. Which is why many people specifically don't use their real email addresses in those public forums.

Overall, it's a benefit that this task is difficult.
It keeps "casual spammers" away.

But also, even if you do manage to find those addresses, people are generally smart enough these days that if they receive an email from an unknown source (i.e., you, if you have never talked to them over email before), they won't even read it.
It's always best if you find some way to contact them in person or over the phone, before you try to email them.
posted by jozxyqk at 5:18 AM on October 3, 2006

Is there a service that would make this any easier?

Use the internal services of the target organizations. Mail your announcements (electronic and paper) to organizations and let their administrative departments decide whether to forward your announcements to specific employees and post your bulletins on their bulletin boards.

Also try announcing conferences in public spaces that focus on the topic and that allow and encourage such postings. Find out what professional publications (including online mailing lists) your target audience reads and place your notices in them as rules allow. Be sure to follow protocol.
posted by pracowity at 5:45 AM on October 3, 2006

Yes, there is a way to get the email addresses of industry contacts, but you can't do it via the web. Contact them through the means by which you established your prior business relationship and ask. Otherwise you really are just spamming/junkmailing.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:50 AM on October 3, 2006

spiff101 - whether you are "selling" them something or not, if your email is commercial in nature it can still be considered spam.

Given that you probably earn at least $6 an hour to do this, and spend at least ten minutes per individual I would imagine that it's more cost effective to print out a letter, pop it into an envelope and punch a stamp onto it just before dropping it into the mail. I'm assuming that it's a lot easier to get a corporate address.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:50 AM on October 3, 2006

Usually the organization in question has a contact email address or phone number. I've had a lot of success just emailing the contact or info email address and asking.

Like others have said, emails are usually protected because of spammers. So when you ask for an email address say who you are and why you want this persons email.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:09 AM on October 3, 2006
Might be helpful...
posted by Carnage Asada at 8:50 AM on October 3, 2006

Though I agree that you should go through proper channels even if it is a pain to you, there is this slight advantage.

However you would google for a person, try the same search criteria but with 'site:company url'. What you are looking for may be tucked away on that site somewhere.

posted by gbinal at 6:02 AM on October 5, 2006

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