What is an Email Extractor?

An email extractor is a program or web application that is able to extract email addresses and other related data from email, online or even offline document sources. Depending on the source of the emails you wish to extract, you can use a combination of web scraping or other online/offline extraction technologies to fulfill the need.

What is an email extractor used for?

An email extractor is typically used to extract email addresses such that the consumer can use these emails to form a list of emails to send campaign emails too. Usually in the form of a downloadable piece of software, or online web application, email extractor software eliminates the need to manually collect email addresses online by automating the process for a user. Unfortunately however, email extraction has many uses relating to spamming users including collecting emails from online social media sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, or from search results on Google.

Email extractor software can also however relate to extracting data from email content itself and automating repetitive data input processes. Almost every business uses emails to send and receive information. Often the content of these emails is then consumed manually and an action is then performed in response.

Increasingly however, systems generate automated emails based on input signals received. These automated emails can be used to convey information automatically without user intervention. Typical examples of this may be:

  1. An online order is made and a order confirmation form is sent
    online order
  2. A booking is made for a restaurant, hotel or airline and a confirmation is sent via email
    airline booking
  3. A user making a web enquiry through an online contact/enquiry form
    online inquiry form
  4. An automatically generated report sent via email
  5. A real estate enquiry through one the online real estate portals

The list of examples is only increasing as businesses continue to automate processes. In many cases the content of these auto-generated emails is manually copied into third party systems such as CRMs or even order management systems. These simple tasks can be enormously time consuming. Email extractor software such as Parserr can however be used to extract the information from these auto-generated emails automatically and thus automate the process entirely.

Finally email extractors can also be used to scrape offline content like electronic documents including text files or other related documents authored in programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel.

How does an email extractor work?

In order to break down the problem a little further, one needs to determine the source of the content you wish to extract your emails from. Let’s examine this a little further.

Email extractors for online content

Most email extractor software that you would find through a simple Google search is related to scraping email address from a website or some other online source. Examples of these types of software can be seen below in the section on “examples of email extractors”.

Pro software, a desktop based application, allows users to input a search keyword into the interface. The application will then search all search result pages related to this keyword, as determined by Google, and extract all the email addresses on these pages. Alternatively users can supply a list of relevant websites or do supply a WHOIS query in order to parse and extract the email addresses from these sites. Other email extractor applications are similar in nature.

Email extractor software like Parserr differ in that they will allow users to extract data from email content and are web-based. Below is a simple illustration for how an email extractor, or what is also called an email parser, works:

As you can see, Parserr allows a user to setup their own inbox where the relevant emails for extraction are then forwarded. Then within the Parserr, one sets up “rules”, which instruct the email extractor how to extract the relevant data. In the example above, the incoming web inquiry has been forwarded to Parserr and through the rules, the first name, last name, email and mobile fields have been extracted and can be made available to third party applications such as CRMs. This is a common utility for real estate agents who extract their incoming real estate portal leads into their email databases to be able to keep in contact with all the relevant leads they have had for a particular home for sale or rent. However it also extends to applications such as delivery orders or extracting incoming invoices.

Email extractors for Offline Content

Emails can also be extracted from content such as documents or even images being sent via email. This is particularly relevant for automated emails sent with attachments in CSV or Excel format which contain report or logging data for instance and are generated on a regular basis for input into another 3rd party system for aggregation. A good example of this may be a number of retail outlets who compile a list of sales over a period of time, and need to report their sales to head office.

A regular report may be sent in via email which may look a little like:

Using an email extractor to extract the relevant rows from the Excel file, these line items may be grouped into one Excel (or Google Sheet) document like this:

Entire excel flow

Do you have any examples of email extractors?

There are a number of email extractor software tools available for various different uses. We have attempted to group these below:

Scraping/Extracting web applications

Scraping/Extracting desktop applications