Many of you have read thgrough the post Find (Almost) Anybody’s Email Address by Rob Ousbey and use his technique. Rob has developed a Google Doc email permutator bit.ly/name2email to create a list of potential correct email addresses of a person. Rob suggests that after populating the list with the possible email addresses we use http://rapportive.com to verify which one is correct. Great work! The technique has become quite popular; the above link has enjoyed impressive 25K+ uses.
For those who may need more than an occasional email guesswork: Here is how to do the same verification faster and, in some cases, more reliably, using #LinkedIn. The technique below is a variation of my 2010 post on this blog, that worked beautifully for almost four years, but is no longer working for those of us who got the new LinkedIn Contacts.
The technique below is good for some other sourcing hacks besides the address guessing; we'll touch upon this later.
Have a name and a company name?
Step 1. Use the famous bit.ly/name2email tool to generate a list of possible email addresses.
Step 2. Use this file: Outlook-Export-Format. Paste the list of emails from the Step 1 into the "email" column.
Example. Suppose we want to find the correct address for Siobhan Neilland who works at Amazon. The Outlook-formatted file, which is the result of the steps 1 and 2, will look like this:
Step 3. On the Contacts Settings Page on LinkedIn select the "Outlook contacts import" option to import the saved file.
This is it!
Here is what you will see in this particular example in the Contacts' MS Outlook-imported section, found among the "Sources". The person number two on the list is the one.
So here is the result: we have identified the email of the person in question. If you look at her profile, you will see this email listed now "for us personally" in the "Contact Info" section of the profile. (Finding her correct email wasn't such a hard task in this specific case, since she also lists the email address publicly on the profile.)
As a "side effect" in this case we have found one more real person who is using another one of the generated email addresses (see the screenshot above).
Apparently, the rest of the email addresses do not point to any LinkedIn members.
Now... if you are looking to verify the correct email addresses of several people, you can do this in only one "step 2/step 3" action for all of them, just by pasting the emails in question to the end of the outlook export file's "email"column. The file will get extra rows but will continue working just fine. You can accomplish all of the guesswork about many people in one shot.
Further Applications of the "Hack"
Here is a variation of quickly solving another sourcing task, using the import function as described above.
You could use the technique in the steps 2-3 for a different sourcing task: verifying that for a given list of employees at a specific company everyone has email addresses following a specific pattern. In this scenario you may start with auto-creating a list of Emails instead of the email permutator.
There's another thing or two that can be done with this... later.
If the target professional population you are working with is typically registered on LinkedIn, then this method of locating their correct email address may find more up-to-date results than Rapportive. This is because Rapportive crawls social profiles and is "behind" compared with straight checking with LinkedIn, as I have explained in this post. In any event it's quick and is worth trying.
For those people who are not on LinkedIn but are on another network such as Google+, Rapportive may work better; the two approaches can be combined, of course.