5 ways to find out which ESP any company is using
Have you ever wondered which Email Service Provider (ESP) your competitor is using? You could always try asking them, but more often than not, they won’t be too keen to share that information. So, here are 5 easy ways that you can find out who they use.
1. Use Datanyze chrome app
Datanyze will tell you which applications a company is using on their website. This usually includes a wide variety of analytics, marketing automation, and e-commerce platforms. You can sometimes find out which ESP they are using through this app too. Unfortunately, it’s not 100% accurate and only works with certain ESP’s who can be identified by the tags they add to a website. Also, be careful with this method because many companies leave old tags on their site.
2. Look at the footer
This seems obvious, but it’s easily overlooked if you’re just starting out. Quite a few entry-level ESPs add their own badge or a “powered by” banner to the footer of all emails sent. It works as both branding and an anti-spam attention-getter.
3. Look at the links in the email
Virtually all ESPs convert email links into trackable versions so they can pinpoint who clicked through and provide their users with an array of useful metrics. Those trackable links are hosted by the ESP themselves, which means all you need to do is copy any link in the email, paste it into your browser and delete everything but the top-level domain. Press enter and bam!, you’ll be sent right to the ESP’s site.
(Try clicking on these links to reveal the ESP)
4. Check who registered the sending domain
Does the domain show a blank page? Or something which doesn’t tell you who the ESP is? Not to worry, head over to a Whois checker (Domaintools is a popular choice) and look the domain up. The registrant information should clue you in on the ESP’s identity or even give you the answer straight away.
5. Check who owns the email’s sending IPs
If all else fails, you can resort to a sure-fire way to dig up who handled sending duties. Open the email’s source code and have a gander at its headers. You’ll probably see a couple IP addresses. The one you want is usually under “Received-SPF”.
Simply click “Show original” in Gmail to get to an emails source code.
Search “Received-SPF” and find a series of numbers and periods. An IP address looks similar to this: 126.96.36.199
Then simply copy the IP address and plug it into a Whois checker (most allow IP lookup in addition to domain lookup). You’ll be given the full lowdown on the company which got the email out the door.
Sometimes that company won’t be an ESP at all, but rather a hosting service, ad agency or even just a single entrepreneur. This means there is a pretty good chance the email was dispatched directly from in-house servers using an on-premise solution.
There you have it, 5 easy ways to tell which ESP a company is using. Have you found other ways to check which ESP someone is using? Please feel free to share your investigative tactics with us!