Sending emails when you don’t have an address

Sending emails when you don’t have an address
By Doug Neeper, 10/19/2009

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I rely heavily on communicating with people via email. If I apply to a job online, one that I really want / am qualified for, I’ll send a request out to ‘my’ network for help / contacts at XYZ company and specify the position for which I’m interested in being considered.

Additionally, I’ll send the CFO of XYZ a short email (no resume) introducing myself and asking for assistance in finding the hiring manager. Oftentimes, I will NOT know the CFO’s email address.

How can your send an email to somebody whose email address you don’t have?

There are different ways of obtaining a person’s email address:

1.) In the search window (of google, or yahoo, for example), type in *.* and hit enter; you’ll get a lot of garbage, but, you also may come across somebody’s email address from XYZ and you can use this to mimic the address of the person you’re trying to reach.

2.) If its a public company, go to the company’s website, the investor relations tab or check the press releases; oftentimes, the email address of the IR person is there; again, you can mimic this address.

3. Call the switchboard, and ask the receptionist for the person’s email address, explain you want to send them a message.

4. Use Jigsaw, though, in order get a to potential address, you’ll have to give an known address (I don’t do this, but, I know others who do).

5.) If all of the above fail, try guessing the address; 70-80% of the time, the email address will follow one of the following conventions:

a. First inital + last name
b. Last name + first initial
c. First name +.+ last name
d. Last name +.+ first name
e. First name +_+ last name
f. Last name +_+ first name
g. firstnamelastname
h. lastnamefirstname
i. First name @

So, for example, lets say you’re trying to reach Doug Neeper @, his email address could be:


If you want to send me an email @, ask me for my excel spreadsheet which helps mechanize this guessing process. I actually got this spreadsheet originally from a networking friend, but have modified it to handle an increased number of guesses.

A couple of caveats to consider when using this approach to guess a person’s email address:

1. Send the messages one at a time, and keep track of which bounce / don’t bounce so that you don’t have to go through this with this person in the future.

2. Send a message to all possible permutations at once, from a ‘dummy’ email address, keep track of the bounces, and use your normal email address to send a message to the address which didn’t bounce.

Happy hunting.


Forwarded message
From: Doug Neeper
Date: Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 2:24 PM
Subject: Solving problems encountered when changing email addresses To: pobo58qufe

Solving problems encountered when changing email addresses
By Doug Neeper, 10/18/2009

I’ve been a long time user of Yahoo email, around five years. My friend Walt Feigenson (the personal branding expert) encouraged me and others to convert to gmail. For lots of good reasons, yet I resisted, in fact, I expanded my use of Yahoo’s email product by getting and paying for expanded storage capacity and used Geoworks (now owned by Yahoo) to develop my first website. There were just too many hurdles to overcome in changing from one email provider to another., or at least so I thought. It would take me a lot to change, I was just too used to using Yahoo’s email product. Amongst the problems that stopped me from changing were: 1) Losing contacts 2) How would people find me 3) Losing past emails 4) ‘Brand’ confusion.

You’ve got to understand, email is critical to the way I’ve chosen to keep in touch with people and to keep track of the people I’m in touch with. In late 2008, I was having trouble with my Yahoo mail; it wasn’t working and it wasn’t allowing me to add anymore people to my contact lists. In full disclosure, I helped create the problem, by downloading my contacts, zapping the contacts in the system, and then uploading the contacts, I’d saved on my computer, back up into Yahoo Mail.

Ouch! I sent emails to Yahoo ‘customer’ service, and got canned responses, which weren’t helpful, or insightful. Their messages came back to me, with a promise to fix the problem shortly. After repeated messages; pleas for help; after empty promises of help; and, after the passage of two months, I started using gmail to send messages.

I discovered ‘you’ can copy your contacts in Yahoo mail into gmail by downloading a CSV file out of Yahoo mail and importing that file up into gmail. First problem solved. I also was concerned people that had my Yahoo mail address would have a problem reaching me. Yahoo, the premium service, gives the user the ability to forward messages received by Yahoo to another email address. I forwarded messages received by my Yahoo mail address to my new google email address. Second problem solved. Google, under settings, under import mail and contacts, allows you the ability to transfer emails in your INBOX from you current provider to your new gmail account. I transferred all of the messages in the inbox to gmail, then moved them into a backup folder. I then, one folder at a time, moved emails in folder X into Yahoo’s inbox, then went into gmail, initiated a transfer, and when the transfer was finished, moved the new emails in the gmail inbox into folder X in gmail. Third problem solved. I also took this move from Yahoo mail to gmail, to help brand myself, I changed from to Fourth problem solved.

Additionally, I was so ticked off that I moved my website from yahoo to The website I had with Yahoo was ‘mickey mouseish’, the new website is much more professional looking. I kept the same website name,, just changed the provider, thus staying on the same personal branding vector. Fifth problem solved, though unrelated to email per se.

FYI, one year after converting to gmail, I’m still getting used to the way that gmail nests messages (both good & bad). And, I can report back that my yahoo mail account is now working perfectly and I could add contacts in Yahoo mail. Whatever the problems were it only took 6 months to fix. I’m still paying $20 / year to maintain the Yahoo mail account, but, sometime in the future will drop it.


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