Spam Turns 30

May 5, 2008

Spam — the e-mail kind — actually predates the Internet. Who’d a thunk it?

Thirty years ago next week, Gary Thuerk, a marketer at the now-defunct computer firm Digital Equipment Corporation, sent an email to 393 users of Arpanet, the US government-run computer network that eventually became the internet. It was the first spam email ever.

That commercial message, sent on 3 May 1978, drew a swift and negative reaction. Recipients complained directly to Thuerk, who had made no attempt to hide his identity, and DEC was reprimanded by the Arpanet administrators.

Nevertheless, the email was a portent of things to come. Today, spam makes up 80 to 90% of all emails sent ā€“ around 120 billion messages per day ā€“ and is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Those were the days before e-mail was discovered by Nigerian princes looking for someone to help them cash their $50,000 checks. The New Scientist article also links to a blog post about Spam through the ages.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: