History of Email Directories
When you are looking for a person's e-mail address, or when you have an e-mail address for which you'd like to discover the relevant information, it is natural for you to use an e-mail address directory or reverse e-mail address directory. These are the online directories - similar to those commonly available for telephone numbers - that allow you to search for electronic mail information.
E-mail address directories have gone through quite an evolution since their inception. At first, there was no e-mail address directory. If you wanted to find someone's e-mail address, you had to find it in another way.
Soon, this proved to be quite impractical for many people, so various e-mail providers created their own searchable databases of e-mail users. However, with so many different e-mail providers, it soon became too difficult to search through them one at a time in the hopes that you may get lucky and choose the right one. Furthermore, since many people chose to opt-out of the directory for their e-mail provider, this made the directories very incomplete and useless for many searches.
Finally, some unreliable e-mail address directories came to be. They collected their lists from many different sources, including purchasing lists, and adding opt-in registries. However, these directories - though better than anything else that was out there - didn't provide much use for the majority of searches as they were far from complete.
With more complex technology - Web 2.0 tools, for example - e-mail address directories are finally becoming much more practical and functional. Though not yet perfect, e-mail address searches, especially reverse e-mail address searches, are now calling up useful information that can help people to find the information they need to communicate with someone over the internet.
However, because this does require much more advanced technology, this also means that the free e-mail directories of yesterday are passing to the level of obsolete and will soon no longer be available. Instead, they are being replaced with much more effective, up-to-date, and more complete e-mail address directories that can be used only when a nominal searching charge or membership fee has been paid. To most people who need the information that only e-mail address directories can provide, the fee is a very small price to pay for the value they provide.