Looking for an e-mail address - know the domain

Is there any way to get a list of e-mail addresses for a particular domain?

Not really, otherwise spammers wouldn’t use their shotgun approach to spamming and pay actual money for confirmed real addresses. You might try sending a request to some of the more common ones, like admin, help, custserv, and so on. Is this something like a hotmail or yahoo account, or the domain of a business?

This is a business domain. I tried the usual firstname.lastname@domain.com so I’ll see if that works. Thanks.

<Simple Answer>No.</Simple Answer>

<Complex Answer>It used to be that during a SMTP (email transport) transaction you got a response about whether xxxx@domain.com was a valid address. Once the spammers realised this, they would hit SMTP servers with a bunch of requests to identify target addresses for spam. Eventually this got so bad that the only way to prevent the problem was for email administrators to configure their systems to always accept email for every address without complaint, and silently throw away any addresses that don’t belong. This means that the spammers do not get any feedback about whether an address is valid or not, and waste more resources for no result. So they stopped doing it (at least, until they started creating botnets that use other peoples internet connections.

Also, the bounce message for invalid addresses is generally not used, again for antispam reasons. Spammers would send emails to a target server using a email address that probably did not exist, but forging the sender address to the intended target. The email server getting the email would notice that the To: address was invalid, and would try to send a bounce to the forged Sender:, thus assisting the spammer in getting an email to a target. So bounces are usually disabled, too. So the answer is still no, and you will not generally get any feedback that your email has not reached the recipient. You need to contact your recipient or the reception to get their email address.</Complex Answer>

on preview: what JSexton said


Thanks si_blakely. I figured that I had found the correct address since my e-mail didn’t bouce back but I guess I’ll have to wait and see if I get a reply. Either that, or phone the receptionist. I didn’t want to phone the individual directly because I’m trying to prank him.

If you can find anyone’s email address at that company, then you may be able to reason out the system they use for assigning address (e.g. it might be first initial last name, with or without a hyphen, first name period last name, as you initially guessed, or something else). Try the contact page on their web site. Also, don’t expect a bounce if you guess wrong.

Generally companies use:


FLastnam (up to 8 letters)

You can also try sending to Postmaster, which often gets routed to a real person.

As si_blakely indicates:

Yah well.

On all the websites I’ve done, I’ve set up the emails to address that don’t exist to go to one central email account. Then the company secretary (or whoever) checks it periodically and forwards the mispelled ones from the spam.

So if you you want John.Doe@somecompany.com and you type, John.Do@somecommpany.com the address won’t bounce, but there’s no guarantee anyone will read it it.