Email Address Directory
Since emails have become as common as telephone calls as a means of communication -- and perhaps even more useful in many situations -- a new phenomenon has sprung up to keep track of this electronic switchboard: the email address directory. These directories have sprouted like mushrooms everywhere on the Internet, and it is perhaps the strongest tribute to the victory of pixels over paper that there has not yet been a printed version of an email directory in the fashion of a telephone book.
The large numbers of email address directories are useful to you in several different ways. They allow you to search for the email addresses of people you would like to contact on the Internet, perhaps renewing a lapsed acquaintance or a past business connection. They can also be used in some situations to confirm whether or not an email comes from a person known to you, since you can look up your friend's, relative's, or acquaintance's email and see if the message you are checking really comes from them.
Many of these sites are actually fronts for paid email address directory services. Searches conducted on these sites will result in the paid site loading, with results displayed. These results are usually partly blanked out, and serve as teasers for what you will get once you have actually subscribed to the site in question. This does not lessen their value as lists of emails, however -- their information is often high quality and up to date, and may allow you to find the email address that you need quickly, efficiently, and relatively cheaply.
Governments and large organizations such as companies often maintain an email address directory of their important personnel and divisions. For example, the United States government has a website where the visitor can find information on contacting various representatives and offices. Using links on the site's main page, the visitor can find email addresses where they can contact the staffs of government officials ranging from the President to senators, congressmen, governors, legislators, and so on. Of course, the visitor should realize that these emails are not sent to the politician him- or herself. They will be handled and answered by staff people, and only very rarely will a politician respond personally to an email.
Finally, there are the quirky websites that often have a single author and focus on a specific subject. A moderately detailed web search can even turn up some oddball, interesting sites -- such as an email address directory which claims to give the email addresses of the Politicians of the World. Such sites are generally smaller and less reliable than massive search sites for individual email addresses in the United States or Great Britain, but they can still contain useful information and are also of value as minor curiosities.
So, regardless of your exact needs, you can probably find an email address directory that lists the electronic mailbox that you want to send a letter to. Whether you want to find your former neighbor's email or to send a message to the president of the Ivory Coast, there is a listing somewhere that will give you the information that you desire.