Excerpt from the PC Pioneers
On this day in 1978 Gary Thuerk, sent the very first spam email
Gary was working in the DEC marketing team, and mailed a message to every ARPANET address he could find on the US West Coast; these were listed in a published directory. The sender was ‘[email protected]’, inviting them to a presentation of the latest DECsystem-20 computers; there were around 400 spammed recipients!
This was however quite a mild offence; to be kind, perhaps it was in fact the first viral marketing message? However today it is estimated that 80% of all emails sent are spam or junk emails. And this is not likely to go away, given that the FBI back in 2007 said criminal spammers netted more than $239m from their annoying campaigns. But its not just their incomes it is the lost productivity wading through them and the cost of equipment and systems to combat them – also in 2007 the California legislature estimated this at $13 billion – in the USA alone. It hasn’t got any less intrusive since then!