How That Annoying Person You've Never Met Got Your Email Address

Jack DorseyVivian Giang / Business InsiderSorry Jack Dorsey, I’m about to email you thanks to Rapportive.

You may be a media planner, fending off ad sales meeting requests. You may be a CEO , trying to escape journalists with questions. Or you may be a journalist, batting away PR pitches.
Either way, there’s nothing worse than opening your already-brimming inbox to find a bunch of emails from strangers you’ve never met, asking you for things.

How did these resourceful, needy people find you?

One trick they may be using is an email plug-in, Rapportive.

Rapportive is a contact list startup that was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012. It raised about $US1 million from a few VC firms and notable angel investors like Dave McClure and Uber investor Shervin Pishevar. It was snatched up for somewhere between $US10 and $US20 million, according to AllThingsD.

Rapportive pulls in email contacts’ social media profiles so you can follow them on Twitter or Facebook easily. It also enables you to swap notes with the person or scan recent tweets, all from a box that appears next to an open email exchange in Gmail.

Here’s what an email from my colleague Jim Edwards looks like.

Where it can be a useful stalker tool is this:

Say you don’t know a person’s email address, but you know the typical format their company uses. For example, at Business Insider, our format is First Initial, Last Name @ You can guess what an individual’s email is from there.

Create a new email and type in the guess-of-an-email-address. Wait a few moments, and Rapportive will either show you the person’s results on the side, or it will show you nothing. In other words, try again.

I discovered Rapportive this afternoon, while asking a colleague for Jack Dorsey’s email address. Dorsey is the CEO of payments startup Square and he co-founded Twitter. She whipped up Rapportive and voila, Dorsey’s email was confirmed. Mind=blown.

Here’s what the successful result looked like:

Here’s what the inaccurate attempt looked like.

So sorry Jack, but thanks to Rapportive, you can expect an email from me soon.

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