I was surprised to see this headline (“Clinton’s apology won’t make e-mail scandal disappear”) in my Washington Post app this morning. Not because of anything having to do with Hillary Clinton, but because of the spelling of the word ‘e-mail.’

My standard is ’email.’ This happened back in 2006 when I was writing my book for SitePoint — their standard was ’email’ and after about three chapters I decided that I needed to change what was then my spelling (‘e-mail’) to match theirs.

Looking back, I think I was just lazy. ‘Email’ was one less character to type; switching would also make it easier on my editors, who were forever having to fix one of the most common words in my manuscript. Right around the same time the Email Experience Council (EEC) took a stand for ’email’ over ‘e-mail’ which also swayed me, I’m sure.

So when I saw this headline it made me wonder — how many media organizations are still using the hyphen? 

I did a quick Google search looking for articles on Hillary Clinton’s email issue and here’s what I found:

EMAIL OR E-MAILOf 35 Media Outlets, two-thirds (66%) are using ’email;’ only 34% are still using the hyphen.

Now, I admit that this is a completely unscientific study. But it’s interesting to see which side different organizations line up on.

The big three newspapers in my life are the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the  Washington Post; all but my local DC paper use the 4 character, no hyphen spelling.

You might not be surprised to see National Review and Time Magazine, other old guard publications, lining up with the Washington Post — but MTV? Seems like one of these things doesn’t belong.

Looking at what I think of as ‘new economy’ publishers — Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Politico, Slate and Wired — all are firmly in agreement with the EEC and me when it comes to spelling — it’s ’email.’

In the Big Apple, there seems to be parity — two publications with ‘New York’ in their name use the hyphen, two don’t.

Does it matter? No, not really. Using or not using the hyphen won’t improve your performance, keep you from being blacklisted or make you look more or less like a true email marketing professional.

But for my money, it’s email.


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