April 5, 2017 by Ashwini Murthy

There comes a point in everybody’s career when we are required to do “extensive cyber-research” (Come on, I’m not going use the S-word) of a total stranger to wring out valid Email IDs, let alone the correct ones. And that period has somehow made us all pretty decent Email ID gatherers. The drill is easy. Check their LinkedIn or Twitter. It’s always there. If not, use the free tools available online. Right?

But what if it doesn’t work out? What if the person doesn’t exist on any social media platforms? What if the E-mail ID is very well protected and you’ve no hacking skills or don’t want to use it because you don’t want to go to prison again? What if your company requires E-mail IDs in bulk and you can’t spend your time amassing Email addresses online.

The first wise option would be to tie-up or partner with an Email validation software.This software makes all possible combinations, validates them and picks out the right one. To elaborate, here’s an example:

Firstname – Cool, Lastname: Dude, Domain: Yolo. After a bit of probing, I found out how there are 39 such combinations of which 11 are the most common ones. Cooldude @ domain dot com, cool @ domain dot com,  Cdude @ domain dot com, etc.

To dip my toes into the technical part, I went to the Chief Data guy in my company and had a quick chat with him. The clueless look on my face got to him and he finally spoke in my language. So, basically, there are 2 kinds of domains: Catch-all server and non-catch-all server. Catch-all servers are the ones which will accept all Emails – be it valid or invalid. If the domain is registered to a catch-all server, it means, Emails sent to that domain won’t bounce. It becomes difficult to say whether the email has reached the intended recipient until they respond.

Say, yolo.com is a catch-all domain and has only one valid ID registered to it – cooldude@yolo.com. If you send an Email to uncooldude@yolo.com, it won’t bounce. Simply because of the type of domain. It accepts E-mails addressed to all IDs.

Our ultimate goal is to find a valid email ID in a non-catch-all domain to be 100% sure that it is correct.

The second option is to install plugins like Rapportive. Think of it as Terminator-vision for the corporate world. Rapportive was acquired by LinkedIn. So, when you look at a person online, it’ll give you their LinkedIn profile, company name, and all available work-related information.

The third option is Google search. There is always a trail left by netizens. After the era of SEO, people became wary of leaving their email IDs. So if they had to give somebody their E-mail ID, they typed it out: cool dude at yolo dot com. A little bit of manual hunting gets you the correct mail ID.

If nothing works out, the last resort is to score the combinations. Find out their domain, which is more often than not the company’s name with the .com or .co extension. Then comes the whole firstname, lastname, initials affair. After scoring it, take a leap of faith and send it out to the ID with the highest score and pray it doesn’t bounce.  

At PipeCandy, in addition to these three options, we set up SMTP servers. SMTP is simple. (No, literally. It means Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). When you ping an SMTP server with a mail ID, it verifies whether the mail ID exists or not and pings you back. No, it’s not like a helpdesk conversation. It’s more like writing a code and getting a result.

But some SMTP servers simply don’t respond to such pings. There’s another way

If the business email is hosted on Gmail, simply hovering the cursor over their email ID will help you figure if the email ID exists or not. Hovering over the email ID gives you a small pop-up with the video call/hangout option. It looks something like this:


But, there’s a downside to these tricks. You need a lot of time to jump from one approach to another to validate email ids. It’s a time sink.

If you are a Sales Development Rep and this isn’t what you set out to do, there is a ‘set it and forget it’ option which is PipeCandy.

Come in, punch the industries, designations and other criteria and take out the lead list with Email IDs and phone numbers. Hacks give you the adrenalin but after a point, you’ll realise that it’s just a means to the end. You become a better SDR by opening the door for conversations and not by finding email ids.

Give us a holler and we will give you a few hours of your day back to you so that you can build more qualified leads in your sales pipeline. Deal?


Ashwini Murthy

Content marketer @ PipeCandy

A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.