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When referring to email in a business context (or any other) is it acceptable to say mail or should I always write email?

I have a secure email product for use on smartphones and would like to know if it is alright to market it as a Secure Mobile Mail product or if I should call it a Secure Mobile Email product.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Normally, I would think "mail" refers to "snail mail," while electronic mail is called "email."

That said, the two-word phrase "Mobile Email" almost sounds redundant - the word "mobile" connotes electronic mail. Hence, from a marketing perspective, I prefer "Secure Mobile Mail" to "Secure Mobile Email." It sounds less antiquated and more trendy.

The danger with a trendy name is that it may sound outdated in a few years. In this case, though, I think "Mobile Email" is more likely to sound antiquated before "Mobile Mail." Ergo, I'd recommend the more edgy title.

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"Mobile Fixie" sounds even trendier, but it's misleading. Especially since he asked about a business context, why not call it "e-mail"? That's what it is. –  hunter2 Jul 5 '13 at 2:59
    
@hunter2: I'd agree with that; that's pretty much what I said in my opening sentence. But, in case the O.P. was unhappy with that answer for some reason, I thought I'd weigh in on the options that were put forward. –  J.R. Jul 5 '13 at 14:58

From context, the majority of users would probably be able to infer that 'mail' refers to electronic mail rather than the physical type. Insofar as just grammar goes, both are acceptable. However, I would personally use 'email' instead for one reason: it's clearer. If you mean to say email, then say email.

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I'd apply the "what's to lose" rule: If you say "email", there is no ambiguity. If you say "mail", people might be confused. What's the harm of including the extra "e"? There's the obvious gain of eliminating ambiguity, and the cost is ... what? Straining your fingers typing one extra character?

Just because a product is software running on a computer doesn't automatically mean that it must be about email and not snail mail. I have a software product I use all the time called "stamps.com" that prints hieroglypics on envelopes that the post office accepts for snail-mail postage. Many people use "mail merge" software to insert postal addresses into documents which they then print and snail-mail. Etc. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything particularly useful to do on a cell phone involving snail mail, but who knows? Why make people wonder? (Well now that I think about, I could at least imagine a potentially-useful app: You key an address and some codes into your cell phone and it sends a message to some mailing center to mail a letter or catalog or product samples or whatever to that address. I'm sure a sufficiently creative person could think of other possible apps.)

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I would add that, from a marketing perspective, the alliterative "Secure Mobile Mail" rolls off the tongue easier than "Secure Mobile Email". In everyday communication, I still use "mail" to refer to postal mail and "email" when referring to email. I think in this case, however, the gain in artistic appeal more than makes up for the very minor loss in clarity. –  Kevin Feb 27 '12 at 19:42

Im my world as a computer programmer on the net since the early 80s, a plain, unadorned “mail” means electronic mail. Snail mail means postal mail.

Huffman encoding says to use the shorter thing for whatever you use more often. Because all my mail is electronic, it requires some extra qualifier to indicate that it’s come through the post.

I can’t imagine people would get those confused.

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