Saturday, January 16, 2010

Are There Any Truly Free Reverse Email Search Services?

Problem: you've been trying to figure out some information on the owner of an email address, but you’re not having any luck. You're spending way too much time -- hours, or even days -- looking for free reverse email lookup services that really are 100% free as they claim to be. However, as you are well aware, free reverse email search services are about as easy to find as an all-smiles group photo of ever-elusive Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and Bigfoot. So, definitively -- are there any free reverse email lookup services?

The answer - not yes or no

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question, at least as a blanket statement. Because peoples' reasons for needing a reverse email search can vary so much, the results they're seeking can vary significantly as well. For instance, if you're just looking for the name of a person who is using a particular email address, you may be able to glean this information from a 'free' reverse email research service that links to a paid background search service. Indirectly, in some cases, you may be able to tie a real name to an email address.

Now, if you're just looking for the geographic region that an email likely came from, you may be able to find this information out for free through any service that reads and reports on email headers. Or, or at the very least, you may be able to do this by finding an IP address in the 'Received From' field of the email headers and plugging that into a whois search website. However, this information, by itself, isn't all that useful, especially if the email headers were forged or the email was routed through a compromised computer. Unfortunately, this information would not likely be disclosed during one of the popular, but elusive, free reverse email search services.
One unreliable, but better than many so-called free alternative ways of performing your own reverse email search is by plugging an email address into a search engine like Google or Bing. You can, alternately, search for the email's handle, or the letters or numbers that comes before the '@' symbol. This may give you some insight into the person behind the email address.

What are the alternatives, then?

If you really need to find out information about the owner of an email address, there's a very good chance that you'll have to pay for that information. However, we would caution against the many self-professed free reverse email lookup services that turn out not to be free in the end. These services have already proven to be misleading, and there's no sense in getting mixed up with a company that misleads you into thinking that their free service provides results. Instead, you should look for a reverse email search service that performs manual investigations on the email address. While these services will likely be a bit pricier than their instant-result, 'free' counterparts, the results from these types of email address investigations are more likely to be accurate, and likely to be comprehensive enough to give you the information that you need the first time around.

While it's highly unlikely that truly free reverse email search services even exist, at least those that provide comprehensive results, you may be able to get some of the information you need using the services, and methods, that we've listed above. Bottom line, much like the unicorn or the pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow, you're not going to find a free reverse email address search service that provides comprehensive results, no matter how hard you look for it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

Terro said...

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