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History of Spam Emails

Using spam to describe unsolicited email started in 1994. See scale of UK spam.

According to Brad Templeton (ClariNet Communication Corporation), the first business on the Internet, the first email spam was from 1978, and was sent out to all 200 users on ARPANET. It was an ad for a presentation by Digital Equipment Corporation sent by Gary Theurk,

However It was not until 1993 that a USENET posting was called “spam.” In an attempt to implement a retro-moderation system that allowed posts to be deleted after they had been posted, Richard Depew accidentally created a monster. His software, ARMM, had a bug in it which caused it to post 200 messages. Readers of this group were making jokes about the accident, one person referring to the incident as “spamming.

However this 'spam' was very small in scale and more of an action between hobbyists than anything more siniser. In April 1994, spamming first became a business practice.

In April of 1994, the term was re-born

A pair of lawyers from Phoenix named Canter and Siegel posted a message advertising their services in an upcoming U.S. "green card" lottery. This wasn't the first such abusive posting, nor the first mass posting to be called a spam, but it was the first deliberate mass posting to commonly get that name.

There were several thousand such newsgroups, and each one got the ad. Quickly people identified such actions as "spam" and the word caught on. Future multiple postings soon got the appelation.

Later, internet users worked out they could take bulk emailing software (which had been around for decades to handle mailing lists) and use it to send junk email to large audiences who hadn't asked for it.

The term moved from auto 'guest posting' and quickly came to be used to describe these unwanted junk emails.

In May 2004, Howard Carmack of Buffalo, New York was sentenced to 3½ to 7 years for sending 800 million messages,

Spam was here to stay.

More on: Origin of the term "spam" to mean net abuse

See: Definition

See history of spam baiting

See: Best Practices:Permission Email Marketing (word doc.)

Yes YOU! Get INVOLVED - Send in your spam and report offenders

Create a rule in outlook or simply forward the junk email you receive to | See contributors

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Please contact us with any comments or questions at Spam Archive is a non-profit library of thousands of spam email messages sent to a single email address. A number of far-sighted people have been saving all their spam and have put it online. This is a valuable resource for anyone writing Bayesian filters. The Spam Archive is building a digital library of Internet spam. Your use of the Archive is subject to the Archive's Terms of Use. All emails viewed are copyright of the respected companies or corporations. Thanks to Benedict Sykes for assisting with tech problems and Google Indexing, ta Ben.

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