What? You don’t know what DWA stands for? That could be because I just made it up. It seems like we do that a lot: create acronyms for brevity and simplification, but end up causing confusion and wasting time. Marketers are particularly guilty of this, giving us more than our fair share of acronyms we can live without.

Let’s start with CPM. So, what’s my issue with this FUA (Frequently Used Acronym)? It’s not even a true one: It stands for Cost per Thousand. It uses the Latin word for thousand (which starts with an M). I guess this would have made sense to marketers in ancient Rome… except that the first two letters would have been off. So in reality, this makes no sense in any language. The fact is, if you have to keep explaining an acronym, it’s not saving any time.

Now, I want to focus on End of Day (EOD) and its equally guilty counterpart, Close of Business (COB). The problem with these isn’t even necessarily that they are acronyms; it’s how vague they are. If someone tells you they need specs by EOD, when should you deliver? Yeah, I don’t know either. Is that by midnight? In what time zone? COB is just as bad; if you say this to a freelancer, what are they supposed to do with it? Go to your website and try to figure out where your business is located and at what time it closes? Come on, people—just say what time something is due (and include the time zone); otherwise you deserve to get it whenever it’s handed to you.

I’m going to conclude with acronyms that hardly anyone can define. Take API, for example. Google “API” and you’ll find that every result is different. If you say API and the person you’re talking to doesn’t know what it is, there’s no way for them to even look it up. Acronyms used in so many different ways are, in essence, utterly useless.