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Chapter 18. Searching for People > Searching for E-mail Addresses

Searching for E-mail Addresses

Looking up names, street addresses, and phone numbers online is relatively easy because that practice is well-established—the huge database of names, addresses, and numbers already exists in the offline world. (It’s called a telephone directory!) Looking up e-mail addresses, however, is not quite as easy—because no central directory of e-mail addresses exists.

Every Internet service provider, every commercial online service, almost every Internet domain server issues and controls its own e-mail addresses. The result is that there are hundreds of thousands of different gatekeepers, each assigning their own addresses, each keeping their own individual directories. To date, no effort has been successful in getting every single assignor of e-mail addresses to cooperate with every other service or server, thus no central repository of every single e-mail address exists.


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