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Spam turning 30 this month; no gifts, please
Yahoo via Men's News Daily ^ | May 1, 2008 | NA

Posted on 05/03/2008 11:47:23 AM PDT by buccaneer81

Spam turning 30 this month; no gifts, please

Thu May 1, 2008 12:33PM EDT

See Comments (131) Buzz up!on Yahoo!

The date: May 3, 1978. The culprit: Gary Thuerk, a marketer for the old Digital Equipment Corporation. His crime: Sending a sales e-mail to 393 users on Arpanet (then a U.S. government computer network and the predecessor of today's Internet). Little did Thuerk know that he'd just become the world's first spammer.

That first piece of junk e-mail (which wasn't called "spam" until about 15 years later) has been memorialized over at Brad Templeton's Web site (Templeton is a Net pioneer, the creator of the legendary rec.humor.funny Usenet group, and chairman of the Eletronic Frontier Foundation), along with a thread of outraged replies.

So, without further ado, here you go—the world's first spam (presented in its original all-caps format):

Mail-from: DEC-MARLBORO rcvd at 3-May-78 0955-PDT Date: 1 May 1978 1233-EDT From: THUERK at DEC-MARLBORO Subject: ADRIAN@SRI-KL

DIGITAL WILL BE GIVING A PRODUCT PRESENTATION OF THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY; THE DECSYSTEM-2020, 2020T, 2060, AND 2060T. THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY OF COMPUTERS HAS EVOLVED FROM THE TENEX OPERATING SYSTEM AND THE DECSYSTEM-10 COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE. BOTH THE DECSYSTEM-2060T AND 2020T OFFER FULL ARPANET SUPPORT UNDER THE TOPS-20 OPERATING SYSTEM. THE DECSYSTEM-2060 IS AN UPWARD EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT DECSYSTEM 2040 AND 2050 FAMILY. THE DECSYSTEM-2020 IS A NEW LOW END MEMBER OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AND FULLY SOFTWARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL OF THE OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 MODELS.

WE INVITE YOU TO COME SEE THE 2020 AND HEAR ABOUT THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AT THE TWO PRODUCT PRESENTATIONS WE WILL BE GIVING IN CALIFORNIA THIS MONTH. THE LOCATIONS WILL BE:

TUESDAY, MAY 9, 1978 - 2 PM HYATT HOUSE (NEAR THE L.A. AIRPORT) LOS ANGELES, CA

THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1978 - 2 PM DUNFEY'S ROYAL COACH SAN MATEO, CA (4 MILES SOUTH OF S.F. AIRPORT AT BAYSHORE, RT 101 AND RT 92)

A 2020 WILL BE THERE FOR YOU TO VIEW. ALSO TERMINALS ON-LINE TO OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 SYSTEMS THROUGH THE ARPANET. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE NEAREST DEC OFFICE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXCITING DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY.

Thuerk's message was first greeted by a stern reprimand from one Major Raymond Czahor, chief administrator of Arpanet, followed by a long discussion thread as Arpanet users—many of whom were wary of censorship on their messaging network—mulled the impact of this first piece of junk e-mail:

"I don't see any place for advertising on the ARPAnet," user Mark Crispin wrote at the time. "Certainly not the bulk advertising of that DEC message. From the address list, it seems clear to me that the people it was sent to were the Californians listed in the last ARPAnet directory. This was a clear and flagrant abuse of the directory! I am not sure as to how far this should be carried though."

For the record, the pioneering spammer told the Wall Street Journal that his ground-breaking e-mail worked, drawing scores of leads and about $12 million in tech sales. Thuerk says he never spammed again, and he reportedly does promos for spam-fighting companies, but he's not spending any time blaming himself for the current spam epidemic. "If the airline loses your luggage do you blame the Wright brothers?" he told the Journal. I'm not sure I get the logic there, but...whatever.

Check out New Scientist Tech for an exhaustive story summarizing the history of spam and the top techniques used by spammers, including "botnets," "zombie" computers, and "word salad"—the odd literary excerpts that spammers use to fool junk mail filters.

You can also click here for our latest news and tips on beating back the flood of spam.

In the meantime...happy birthday, spam. You're looking younger every day. Sorry in advance for skipping the party.

Related: Reaction to the DEC Spam of 1978 [Brad Templeton's blog] Happy spamiversary! Spam reaches 30 [New Scientist Tech]


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: anniversary; arpanet; dec; genx; internet; spam
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I had all but forgotten about DEC. And I grew up 10 miles from their HQ.
1 posted on 05/03/2008 11:47:24 AM PDT by buccaneer81
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To: buccaneer81
This guy should have been summarily executed. Could have nipped it all in the bud.
2 posted on 05/03/2008 11:55:06 AM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham ("The land of the Free...Because of the Brave")
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To: buccaneer81

The first e-mail I ever sent was in 1985. There were websites, text based, and you tabbed from field to field for your queries. Sent it from London to Irvine, CA.


3 posted on 05/03/2008 11:57:26 AM PDT by edcoil
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To: buccaneer81
Spam spam spam spam...

I know... any excuse to post M.P.

:-)


4 posted on 05/03/2008 11:59:54 AM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: All

I hate spam. It is foul tasting.

No lips which have touched spam will touch mine.

The same goes with tripe.


5 posted on 05/03/2008 12:01:21 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: edcoil

Sorry, wrong SPAM however, both are about the same age.


6 posted on 05/03/2008 12:02:17 PM PDT by edcoil
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To: edcoil
Sorry, wrong SPAM however, both are about the same age.

No, Spam (the luncheon meat was introduced in July of 1937 (according to wikipedia).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(food)
7 posted on 05/03/2008 12:06:00 PM PDT by Signalman
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To: Bobkk47

Spam Musubi


8 posted on 05/03/2008 12:08:00 PM PDT by BunnySlippers (Buy a Mac ...)
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To: buccaneer81
I recall the Usenet spam from those two immigration attorneys in the early '90s. They were who began to make spam an industry.

Immigration attorneys and spammers. A perfecta for defining a useless human being.

9 posted on 05/03/2008 12:17:06 PM PDT by Ghengis (Of course freedom is free. If it wasn't, it would be called expensivedom. ~Cindy Sheehan 11/11/06)
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To: Bobkk47

10 posted on 05/03/2008 12:17:34 PM PDT by southernnorthcarolina (May contain traces of tree nuts.)
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To: BunnySlippers

“Spam Musubi”

That would be very tasty dish if it didn’t have that tasteless Japanese style rice, spam, and that nasty seaweed.


11 posted on 05/03/2008 12:19:14 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Ghengis
Immigration attorneys and spammers. A perfecta for defining a useless human being.

Add "Family Law Professionals" (attorneys, judges, social workers) and you've hit the trifecta.

12 posted on 05/03/2008 12:24:23 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81; Billthedrill; aculeus; Larry Lucido; martin_fierro; Constitution Day; Ezekiel; ...
THE DECSYSTEM-2060 IS AN UPWARD EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT DECSYSTEM 2040 AND 2050 FAMILY.

Enlargement and all that.

13 posted on 05/03/2008 12:27:31 PM PDT by dighton
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To: buccaneer81
Gary Thuerk


14 posted on 05/03/2008 12:29:05 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie
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To: dighton
Enlargement and all that.

As you imply, that's still what most spam is about.

15 posted on 05/03/2008 12:35:10 PM PDT by Erasmus (Nihilism never amounted to anything.)
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To: LibFreeOrDie
He needs a Far Side cartoon done about him.
16 posted on 05/03/2008 12:35:53 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: Mad_Tom_Rackham
This guy should have been summarily executed. Could have nipped it all in the bud.

It would have been like killing Hitler on April 20, 1889. No one would have understood what evil you were stopping.

17 posted on 05/03/2008 12:44:26 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: dighton

18 posted on 05/03/2008 12:47:03 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: buccaneer81
I actually used a TOPS-20 machine while taking graduate classes at the Univ of Texas-Arlington during early 80s. I also used VAX/VMS systems 750, 780, 785 while working in the aerospace industry.

Thought my VMS days were long over, but started working for a large bank a couple of years ago. One of the systems I support is a VMS machine. There is a substantial project going on now as part of the migration of all those batch jobs to unix or WinDOz in the next couple of years. This is due to the fact that VMS will no longer be supported. Compaq purchased DEC several years ago, then HP purchased Compaq, who announced some time back that the VMS OS was soon for the door.
19 posted on 05/03/2008 12:50:15 PM PDT by tang-soo (Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - Read Daniel Chapter 9)
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To: BunnySlippers
My husband loves Spam Musubi, that is he did until he got sick shortly after eating some the last time we were in Hawaii.
20 posted on 05/03/2008 1:03:04 PM PDT by stayathomemom
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