Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tip of the Week: How to Find Out if an Email Address is Valid

Have you ever spent time writing an email to somebody that you haven’t emailed before, hit send, and then wondered if the email address is even valid? For the active email user, this is an all-too-common scenario. How can you know for sure if an email address is valid before sinking time into writing a message?
One scenario where a business person might experience this struggle comes from trying to decipher a handwritten email address, perhaps from a sales convention signup sheet. To get to the bottom of these scribbles, you could call in a forensics team, or better yet, use free online tools.
Email Verification Tools
There are many email address verification websites available online, and they all do the same thing. One of the top ones is To use it, simply enter into the form the email address in question, and then select Verify. It takes a moment or two to check, but after the process is completed, you’ll be presented with the information you’re looking for of whether or not the address is valid. Now you can proceed to type your message with the confidence that it will actually end up in someone’s inbox.
Search the Web and Social Media
While the email verification tool works great if you have a good idea of what the email address might be, what if the scribbled address is so jumbled that you can’t even make out entire words? For a hard-to-read address like this, performing a basic Internet search and taking advantage of social media may yield enough clues to point you in the right direction.
For example, many email addresses will include a person’s last name, along with the initial of their first name, or a string of numbers. If you can’t figure out what the name in the email address is (and let’s face it, there are some wacky last names out there), try taking a stab at the name on your favorite social network’s search form. If you and the person you're looking for have some mutual contacts and can reasonably be connected in one way or another, then their profile will be generated in the search just by typing a few of the legible letters.
Or, if you know any additional information about the email address, like what town the person is from or what business they represent, then you can search for their name and the additional information in an Internet search engine like Google Search. After trying a few variations of the name’s spelling (and a little luck), you might find a website with the name’s correct spelling, and possibly the email address you’re looking for. Armed with this information, you can now plug the email address with the correct spelling into the email verification tool listed above in order to see if it’s real or not.
You will never know what business opportunities you may miss out on by sending an email to a nonexistent address. However, with a little investigative work, you can know for sure that your message is going where it’s supposed to. Do you have any email tricks that have helped you in a pinch? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments.

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