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The Birth of Spam (And I Forgot to Get a Present!)

362270357_63d4d50f88_m.jpgAccording to Wired, today we celebrate the birth of spam, or unsolicited bulk e-mail, which now accounts for more than 80 percent of e-mail messages sent. (Not to be confused, of course, with the Hormel spiced ham SPAM®, which is considerably older. Hormel's take on being associated with the bane of Inboxes everywhere can be found here.)

The first piece of bulk e-mail was written May 1, 1978 and sent to more than 400 people the next day via ARPAnet, the precursor to today's Internet. The e-mail announced the product presentations of a new computer system. More interesting than the e-mail itself, which you can read here, was this response:

ON 2 MAY 78 DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION (DEC) SENT OUT AN ARPANET MESSAGE ADVERTISING THEIR NEW COMPUTER SYSTEMS. THIS WAS A FLAGRANT VIOLATION OF THE USE OF ARPANET AS THE NETWORK IS TO BE USED FOR OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ONLY. APPROPRIATE ACTION IS BEING TAKEN TO PRECLUDE ITS OCCURRENCE AGAIN.

IN ENFORCEMENT OF THIS POLICY DCA IS DEPENDENT ON THE ARPANET SPONSORS, AND HOST AND TIP LIAISONS. IT IS IMPERATIVE YOU INFORM YOUR USERS AND CONTRACTORS WHO ARE PROVIDED ARPANET ACCESS THE MEANING OF THIS POLICY.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.

MAJOR RAYMOND CZAHOR

CHIEF, ARPANET MANAGEMENT BRANCH, DCA

Spam: From Novelty to Nuisance in a Couple of Decades [wired] First Commercial E-mail
Spam [FTC, includes info on the CAN-SPAM Act]

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 2, 2007 11:13 AM.

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