Use Wildcards In Google To Uncover Company Email Address Formats

One of the stumbling blocks when launching an EECB is figuring out the company email address format. There is actually a very easy way to do this. Just use wildcards in Google. What are those? We’ll tell ya, inside…

First, figure out what is going to come after the @ symbol. Often this is the same as their main company website. But just to be sure, I like to go to the investor relations section of the website and look for a sample email address.
With that in hand, type *@companywebsite.com into your Google searchbox. The * is a “wildcard” that tells Google to return all results with anything before @companywebsite.com. Google should present you with several pages showing all sorts of company email addresses. From those, you should be able to figure out the email address format, or formats.

Now you can combine the format with the company executive roster, which you can find by looking under “Management” in Google Finance or by looking under the “About Us” or “Company Profile” or some other similar section on the company website, and start launching those EECBs! If there’s multiple formats, you’ll want to make a version of each person’s name using each format. Many of the emails may bounce, but some can get through, bringing you closer to customer satisfaction.

Comments

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  1. I can already tell you it doesn’t work with *@neilyoung.com. I’ve been looking for a way to give tour feedback for months and their website is an absolute clusterfuck. Google’s giving me everything that includes http://www.neilyoung.com.

  2. ath0 says:

    Enumeration 101

  3. shamowfski says:

    That’s exactly what I did when searching for the National City bank email format. Worked great for me. Ended up finding it on a banking conference list of speakers.

  4. thirdbase says:

    @baystatedarren: Perhaps they don’t want your concert feedback. He’s been performing for almost 40 years he knows whats what without your help

  5. apotheosis says:

    Loving the photo.

  6. MDSasquatch says:

    @ thirdbase — HILARIOUS!

  7. cadet526 says:

    Forbes also has org charts:
    [orgchart.forbes.com]

    If you can find the email naming format, i.e. john.smith@company.com or johnsmith@company.com but not the particular person you are looking for you may be able to find it on the org chart.

  8. @thirdbase: So I can’t say anything about it to his organization whatsoever? The content of the intended e-mail would actually be positive, btw.

  9. chemmy says:

    lol where ya been Consumerist? I’ve been using that trick for years. :D

  10. Japheaux says:

    @BayStateDarren:
    Don’t blame Google……look at: [network-tools.com] as it shows references back to AOL. Huh, go figure that…..someone’s got issues and AOL may be involved.

  11. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    I think it’s interesting that Consumerist won’t publish my experience showing that companies are starting to become deaf to this.

    That is, Consumerist has pushed executive emailing – and even mass executive emailing – to such an extent that now some companies are becoming immune to it.

  12. anonymousryan says:

    This seemed to work for SunTrust banks, what’s the best strategy? Go straight for the top or just the regional execs? Both at the same time?

  13. anonymousryan says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: I think it really depends on the case and the company. At some places it’s impossible to get anyone with the authority to do anything. If you can document a case were the customer service is bad the CEO might act. If you have no case they’ll probably ignore you.

  14. AMetamorphosis says:

    Thank you kindly for this tip !

    I just tried this with the company that I work for.
    Unfortunately, this is not the case (with my company) as they use several formats:

    firstname.lastname@company.com,
    firstinitial.lastname@company.com,
    etc.

    This may be due to having been bought out several times in the last few years.

  15. Buran says:

    @anonymousryan: No kidding. Sometimes they’re so convinced they’re right, even when you have all kinds of proof that they aren’t, including relevant federal statutes, they just won’t make it right. Some companies just don’t care. I just submitted documentation to my bank on the company I’m fighting with, and I have proof of their error, their admission that they screwed up, and their twice promising to refund me … and no refund, and still they dig their heels in.

    I tried the wildcard trick listed here last week but it didn’t work. We need help on how to find info on the registered owner of businesses. Don’t you have to file papers to incorporate in the first place even if you are not publicly traded?

    My scofflaws are in California. Can anyone there help? Not that I’m likely to do much with the info at this point (but I still want it in case something happens again)… they had over a month and failed to act.

    THIS is a lot of why I use a credit card and pay it off monthly. If I hadn’t, and if I’d paid in cash/by check/by bank draft, I’d be screwed. When companies think they can screw you and you paid with a credit card and you have all the communications in writing, and all attempts to contact people who can do anything fail, you still have a pretty good chance of getting your money back.

  16. NoWin says:

    Try the CA Secretary of State office. (In Mass) They handle the business licenses and incorporations.

    Don’t overlook the CA Attorney-General Offiec either (use when needed, and not indescriminantly)

  17. jeremybwilson says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank

    Nevertheless, bad press is bad press and even without the EECB, this site is amazing in lighting fires under the @sses of many a company executive.

  18. Buran says:

    @NoWin: Yeah, I tried, no results found in CA Sec. of State, and I did file with the CA AG — just got a form letter back that says “We take complaints seriously, we can’t assist you personally, if there’s a pattern of abuse we can sue” … do they have any intention of actually doing anything? The MO AG does forward complaints to businesses. I don’t know if the CA AG will.

  19. Catperson says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: Yeah, I sent an EECB to Hyundai for my mother and they didn’t reply for a week and then basically blew me off. That’s exactly what I expected from my experience working for a large corporation, because any time we got an email that was sent to a ton of people, we’d all say, well, there’s another nut, DELETED! But I kept seeing all these raving success stories here so I gave it a try. I don’t think it’s nearly as effective of a method as the editors here would have us believe. My mother went through the BBB and is finally getting her issue resolved, even though all I hear here is that the BBB is pretty useless.

  20. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Two other ways to find out the email format of a company is to look under the “Investor’s Relations” link or the “Media Contact” link.
    There’s always a contact email for people that own stock in a company & usually one for the media.
    Then try to deduce the correct address for your contact after you’ve gotten the names you want to send to.

  21. Buran says:

    @Catperson: The number of recipients on an email has nothing to do with whether they have a case or not. Ignoring people with legitimate gripes gets you bad press and lost customers.

  22. Chols says:

    Worked for my company *@southernionics.com (:

  23. Catperson says:

    @Buran: Well, what I’m saying is that you’d have to get your email to someone sufficiently high up enough who actually believed that ignoring people had negative results. I think that’s easier said than done. Obviously a lot of companies don’t care about their customers or there wouldn’t be a website like Consumerist.

  24. Triborough says:

    Another tip is to look at the whois info to get insight on the e-mail address format.

  25. Triborough says:

    And press releases can also shed light, since they should have at least one contact person.

  26. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    IMHO, carpeting a company’s executives is rude. It might work, but you’re immediately starting on the wrong foot.

    I still think contacting executives individually can be extremely effective, but as I said, I am concerned it’s losing some of its punch due to overuse.

  27. Buran says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: On the other hand, in many cases a lot of the people who are that angry would never patronize the company in question again once they get their money back. I know I won’t go back.

  28. ampersand says:

    I did something similar today with my company after reading a lot of posts here about emailing top management. I’ve been trying to get reimbursed for shipping some stuff since September. I figured out the national director’s email address (which is NOT handed out freely to underlings like myself, let me tell you) and she’s now taking care of my problem.
    Thanks, Consumerist!

  29. Bill Caldwell says:

    thanks, that was a great tip and worked for cox communications!