The Case of the Mysterious “J”

by Josh Todd on June 1, 2010

Have you ever received an email from someone with a capital letter “J” at the end of it?  I don’t know if this happens much outside of the Affiliate industry, but I have received a ton of them.  I couldn’t figure out what it meant, so I looked into the issue.

mysterious J

Here is the J in an actual email I got

Apparently, it is caused by people that type a smiley face “:)” into their email while using Microsoft Outlook.  Outlook tries to make it look like a real smiley face by replacing it with “J” character in the Wingdings font, which is a smiley face.  The problem is, that only works if the recipient is using Outlook or another desktop email client that can read the Webdings font.

If you are primarily using Gmail like I do, then you will only see the “J” in a default font like Times New Roman.  So, just in case any of you have ever seen this “J”, now you know what it means.  Heck, maybe it will catch on and people will just start typing “J” instead of “:)” on purpose.

Or not.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Ad Hustler June 1, 2010 at 8:07 am

I actually always wondered about this. Thanks


Josh Todd June 1, 2010 at 11:51 pm

In before Profit Addiction! +1 pts for you.


Profit Addiction June 1, 2010 at 8:35 am

This happened all the time when I used to work for the government. Everybody in the office would use Outlook, but a lot of employees used webmail which caused the issue.

I always found it funny when I would see "JJJ" or something in an email.


Warren Woodward June 1, 2010 at 9:29 am

Long did I wonder about this exact same "J" issue. I had to suck it up and ask an AM, thinking I was the only one not in on the joke – and learned the same thing you speak of here. Excellent post as I'm sure we have all been confused by the "J" at one time or another.


Jonathan Volk June 1, 2010 at 10:59 am

Ahhh! I always wondered what that was… Thanks J


gdubs12345 June 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm

ditto here. i always wonder what it was


Justin Dupre June 1, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Great post! thanks for enlightening me about this.


Justin Dupre July 1, 2010 at 11:38 pm

comment fail >.<


Gucci June 2, 2010 at 2:19 am

the ogz would print emails from old employers saying they getting sued and when I would translate it for them It always ended in a "J"

Yaaaaaa so the true ogz from harlem know what the J is thanks angry todd


Peace in the BP oil Spill

JD aka justin dupre

BWA bieber web assets


Ryan Eagle June 2, 2010 at 6:20 am

Thats what the random J at the end of sentence means. Good to know, Thanks.


SSD June 4, 2010 at 9:33 am

Yep, always wondered what it was.


Thatcher June 4, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Great call. My friend asked me about this and I was clueless, I thought he was delusional… but no those j's were really there. Then I started noticing them… and was still clueless. I stopped using email client years ago so that's likely the culprit of the cluelessness. Now that's a word I'm allowed to make up.


Jose June 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm

This was a technique used in the direct mail industry. A fake industry magazine style article would be sent, with a post-it note attached. The note said something like "I was thinking of you when I read this -J" or "I thought this would be helpful for you… – J "

I think it was banned by the FTC. It worked that well.


Josh Todd June 6, 2010 at 3:19 am

Hmm… While I do agree that direct mailers did this (I have personally received a few of these letters), I have to disagree with you on the correlation. This is a purely technical issue online, not on purpose. These aren't spam emails that I'm receiving with this, it's from friends and people I communicate with everyday. They would have no need to hide who they are with an anonymous J.


Rein June 28, 2011 at 1:24 am

Haha i thought my clients called me J
Happy to see i'm not the only fool 🙂



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: