Whether you are trying to build a business connection or find a forgotten relative, you might be able to solve the issue with an email. An email is a simple form of communication, available to anyone - which is what makes it so valuable for partnerships and relationships. No matter to whom you are reaching out, this person has an email address.
Email lookup doesn’t equal stalking - in fact, it usually doesn’t even come close. Email lookup methods use public information for personal safety and convenience without compromising the address holder.
Here are just a few entirely ethical scenarios where email lookup comes handy.
Finding out the email address of business contact. You want to reach out to a potential partner whom you saw at the conference. You have the name of a person and company, but it’s not enough to initiate contact.
Responding to letters from unknown senders. This is a scenario in which email is the only thing you know about a person. If it’s an important business offer, you might want to find out more details.
Getting a consult or asking a question. If you want to talk to an expert or get an opinion, email is the fastest and most professional way of reaching out.
Obtaining a pitch contact. If you want to promote an article or get your ideas to influential stakeholders, you might need access to their personal and professional emails.
Reaching out to a lost contact. If you don’t have a contact with a friend, relative, or classmate, you can search by email to get the data.
Email lookup is a universal research method, and the most accessible one. You are not limited to a particular country or provider. All you need is a mailbox and an Internet connection.
Types of Email Lookup
Because email address search assists with so many goals, it’s no wonder that different types of lookups are best suited to a particular goal. Don’t worry, though, you’ll have to mainly deal with two of them.
Finding an email based on personal information
This is the most common type of email lookup. If you know a person’s name, company, age, location, you can use this data to find out an email. Usually, the name is enough for a lucky guess, but normally, you might also need job details. Many companies provide their employer with job inboxes - the question is only if they are used often.
Getting a personal profile based on email
This method is called a reverse email lookup. If you know a person’s email inbox, you might be able to get a phone number, name, and last name, a company, a job position, even age, and location. Unlike numbers and addresses, emails re hugely accessible - it shouldn’t be a problem to get an address.
Is Email Lookup Legal?
Each country has a unique email policy that covers privacy regulations and anti-spam rules. Mostly, these laws deal with commercial activity, but then again, spam is a broad category. Almost any kind of email, sent without consent, can be defined as such.
The main policies that regard email protection are CAN-SPAM act in the US, CASL in Canada, and GPDR regulations in the European Union. Overall, the usage of email addresses isn’t strictly monitored in the United States - as soon as you don’t send malware and offensive messages, the email will not be targeted by authorities.
Here is the list of rules that you need to be aware of if you plan on performing an email lookup in the United States.
Use publically available sources. Don’t dig any kind of private files, folders, or storages. Anything that involves obtaining a password, login, and access to hard drive data can be defined as hacking.
Keep your email personal. You don’t want to let show that you obtained the email from the lookup services. The best way out is to come up with a story of how you got the email or simply mentioning other publically available details. Your goal is to ensure that your message doesn’t look spammy.
Use guessing methods with consideration. This way, you might find an address that’s not publically available, and while it’s not a legal offense, you still might get in trouble.
In the European Union, however, the policy regarding email use has gotten much stricter. For one thing, you have to be sure that you use a publically available email database, not a private profile.
On top of that, you have to verify the legitimacy of the used source. Sometimes, the US-based sources don’t bother with GPDR-compliance - they technically remain in the realm of law compliance, since they work with the American addresses. If you somehow use these services for European citizens without respecting privacy regulations, you create a disaster waiting to happen.
How Does Email Lookup Work?
As you can see, the legitimacy of email lookup depends on the quality of the used source. As soon as you don’t stary from legal databases and directories, you should be safe. We share our best practices and trusted email lookup tools, the ones that won’t get you in trouble later.
The first go-to destination for free email lookup is directories or email search engines- aggregator services that browse online services and websites for emails and organize them by profiles and locations.
The services work pretty much like Google, but for emails - you enter a name or email and get the relevant profile or address. This method works equally well for typical email lookup - from a name to address - and the reverse kind.
Here’s our list of favorite email directories. The key choice criteria were the size, search flexibility, and content quality - we checked if the directory has a high percentage of inactive or fake addresses
Pipl - the website collects 3 billion email addresses from messengers, social media, Amazon profiles, and Flickr. All these emails are accessible publically.
Intelius - the database is based on public governmental records. It provides low-accessible addresses, but the thorough search is acquired only in a paid subscription; the free version tends to be superficial;
LexisNexis Public Records - a professional database where emails are structured by the industry, experience, and education. The platform is geared towards legal firms, but it features millions of profiles from other industries as well.
Using email patterns
When a company creates an official inbox for its employer, it follows an established structure. Most companies base the inbox on their domain name - so you already know what’s coming after the @ sing. Usually, it goes @company.com
Next, you need to determine a username pattern. Usually, companies keep things official and stick to employees’ first and last names. Here is the list of the most common naming patterns, used in 99% of companies:
You can try entering these emails manually and see if your email provider recognizes it as a valid address. If you got a response from one contact, you can assume that the rest of the team uses the same principles. To avoid repetitive manual work, you can use email permutating services - automated tools that guess the most likely combination for a particular person.
The main drawback of this method is that you can accidentally send an email to a private profile. This will beg for a question of address provenance - and you might have to explain your methods. If you are located in the EU, this practice will be considered non-GPDR-compliance, and you face the risk of fines.
Advanced social media search
Our leading destinations for email searches are Twitter and LinkedIn - two social networks with fairly loose email privacy settings. Let’s take a look at how each of them can be used for email lookup.
Analyze tweets with an advanced search
You can use Twitter’s advanced search to get access to all persons' tweets. You'll find that users often mention their addresses in private responses. Because these tweets aren’t per se posted on the profile, you won’t find them with a regular search.
In the advanced search bar, enter the keywords and symbols: “email”, “mail”, “dot”, “@”. If that doesn’t work out, you can try tweeting a person - but that’s not always an option.
LinkedIn contact search
LinkedIn is a professional network where business communication is a must. No wonder it’s often your best bet at finding contact with a partner or client. Some users simply don’t hide their address - you can access this contact data after purchasing a Premium subscription.
We like that LinkedIn provides a flexible search - you can look for a target by their names, skills, job history, education, references. However, you need to be aware that a user will see your profile view - so it’s not the best method for private research.
Using Google search operators
Sometimes new databases and services fail us, and that’s when you can turn to the basics. Google search operators are the oldest method of narrowing down a contact lookup. Instead of seeing thousands of results, you can identify the required information and see only relevant entries.
Search operators communicate to the engine the type of information that you are looking for and help to get deeper results. The most common email operators are the following ones:
“FIRSTNAME LASTNAME” email
“FIRSTNAME LASTNAME” contact
The major advantage of this method is that operators aren’t limited - you can try out as many as you like. On the other hand, it’s tedious manual work, and you can’t always be sure that a person’s email is indexed by the search engine.
Using email lookup services
We saved the best method for the last - using dedicated services is our favorite method. It’s fast, free, and transparent. You don’t have to look through social media profiles or open personal records - the tool will do this work for you and aggregate the result
Here is just a short list of information, provided by email search software:
Email address in all variations - if a person uses different domains with the same provider, you will see all possible modifications;
A full profile - when you know the address, you can get a dedicated personal page with the user’s name, location, profession, education, age. Some services limit free versions to name and location only, while others provide limited additional information.
Full signature with the job title - if you need additional contact info, some email services might also provide you with the list of person’s nob positions and social media contacts.
Email services are our best pick for business communication. Communication ends up being more personalized it’s based on a detailed profile. Other methods can provide you with the backbone, but email services dig deeper. For personal purposes, however, these lookup services might be too detailed - you might end up seeming a stalker.
Who can use an emall lookup?
Anyone, both for personal and professional purposes. It’s the most accessible way of initiating a personalized business connection or finding out more about lost contact.
How do I start searching an email address?
You can start with Google search and email directories. The most detailed lookup method is using dedicated search services that not only get out the addresses but also assemble a full personal profile.
What is reverse email lookup?
Reverse email lookup is the type of lookup when you get a personal profile from an email address. You can find out the name, last name, location, occupation, education, company name, and even age.
How to use white pages for email lookup?
You can use a email reverse search on white pages. Businesses usually list their contacts and owner names.
Is email lookup free?
Basic features are free. You can get a person’s email, first and last names, company name for free. Some services also provide access to the detailed map.
Can email lookup be used in Europe?
Yes, but you have to check that the service that you are using is GDPR-compliant. As soon as you deal with publically available addresses, you are not violating privacy regulations.
Is it legal to look up emails?
Yes, if you don’t try hacking methods or use this information for stalking or criminal goals.
How to do an email lookup by name?
You can use Google search “NAME EMAIL” operator, LinkedIn or Twitter, email services, and governmental databases.
The bottom line
Email lookup has been a tried and proven way of initiating a long-term connection for personal and professional purposes. It’s also the easiest one - everyone has an email address, and it’s the most accessible type of personal data.
The good news is, 99% of email lookup practices are entirely legal. In the US, there are almost no limitations to the extent of email lookup; in Europe, you need to check whether applied practices are GDPR-compliant. Still, it’s the most legally acceptable type of data lookup, and it only takes a couple of clicks. Email lookup is available in any country - it’s also free.