Certain brands, such as Yahoo!, insist that the exclamation is part of their name. In writing about such a brand or company, is the inclusion of the vanity punctuation right, wrong, or optional?

I would like my writing to be correct; however, of more concern with the average reader, I wouldn't want my writing to seem to be pandering.


5 Answers 5


It seems optional, considering that even business article talk about Yahoo, while introducing some facts at the end about "Yahoo!".

If your article is about the public corporation, you should use consistently one convention, preferably the one using the exact name of the company: "Yahoo!".

But "Yahoo" is also natural since:

  • you won't find any punctuation in the host names: www.yahoo.com, not www.yahoo!.com
  • at least, it won't wreak havoc in your word processor spell checker ;) See Ignoring Punctuation in Names if you still have to use the '!'.
  • To be fair, ! is not a valid domain name character, so it's impossible for Yahoo! to use it, though I'm sure they would if they could.
    – user4012
    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:34
  • 2
    The rumor is that one early version of the DNS specification prohibited names from starting with a digit (that makes it much easier to tell a host name from an IP address -- just look at the first character), and 3COM madly protested, eventually prevailing. Now we look at the last character. Sep 20, 2011 at 11:20

The best way to deal with the vanity punctuation is as The Register do. Note "Related stories."

Edit (as requested) a sample of headlines from online newspaper The Register:

Yahoo! wonks! brace! for! lay-offs!
Yahoo! buys! TV-sharing! startup! IntoNow!
Yahoo! Buzz! Given! Mercy! Bullet!
Yahoo! to! offload! Delicious! as! early! as! next! week!
Yahoo! revenues! dip! 4! per! cent!

You get the idea. Yahooexclamationmark's PR boss may feel a bit ambivalent.

  • 2
    That's excellent. I resent every time I sense that I'm being asked to put any punctuation in a corporate name other than an apostrophe. As a Joomla! developer, I spent a lot of time resenting this.
    – bikeboy389
    Dec 10, 2010 at 3:50
  • 2
    It's a bit late, I know, but could you include some quotes from the link? This being the internet, link rot happens, especially if you're depending on the "related stories" listed on the other site.
    – Marthaª
    Jun 23, 2011 at 13:31
  • @Martha: Pleased to be of service. Jun 23, 2011 at 14:31
  • 1
    Danke schön! (Still giggling at the exclamation marks, btw.)
    – Marthaª
    Jun 23, 2011 at 14:36
  • Not to be rude, but what does this have anything to do with a valid answer?
    – user4012
    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:34

Some sites, will use Yahoo! while talking about the company, but others do not. For example, check this CNN Money page that refers to the company as Yahoo! Inc.


From a legal standpoint, you want to use the the official trademark name that the company uses in naming itself. Check court documents to see what Yahoo prefers and use that.

  • 4
    Like you carefully don't, you mean? Jun 23, 2011 at 14:45
  • 1
    Nobody is legally obliged to use the company's preferred form. Jul 24, 2012 at 9:43

Certainly you should use the name as the company prefers it, but there's nothing to stop you mocking it gently. If I am writing to somebody at one of those 'cool' companies that disdain capital letters and spaces, I make a point of addressing the envelope to 'johnrsmith, coolconsultancy': similar use of exclamation marks seems only fair to Yahoo!

Incidentally, there is a village in Devon called Westward Ho!; the punctuation is undoubtedly part of the name there.

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