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Spam was born today.

posted May 3, 2017, 6:13 AM by Michael Elson

As reported by the NY Times:

On this day almost 40 years ago, Gary Thuerk, a marketer for Digital Equipment Corporation, sent a message advertising computer systems to over 400 users of the Arpanet, the precursor to the internet. Spam was born.
Complaints about the unsolicited email came almost immediately.
The first spam message was sent on this day in 1978. It advertised computers.
The first spam message was sent on this day in 1978. It advertised computers.
Kacper Pempel/Reuters
“This was a clear and flagrant abuse of the directory!” one of the recipients wrote.
One Arpanet user, Richard M. Stallman, who did not receive Mr. Thuerk’s message, claimed he would not have minded receiving it. Then a recipient shared it with him.
“I eat my words,” Mr. Stallman wrote. “I sure would have minded!”
Mr. Thuerk has since been called the “father of spam,” though he prefers another moniker.
“I think of myself as the father of e-marketing,” he said. “There’s a difference.”
In 2012, two academics estimated that spammers earned about $200 million annually, but $20 billion was spent in the U.S. to fight them.
These days, Mr. Thuerk draws mixed reviews when people discover his past.
“People either say, ‘Wow! You sent the first spam!’ ” he said, “or they act like I gave them cooties.”

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