The First Spam Email Was Sent in 1978

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first spam email sent

So here’s the thing. This guy needs one almighty good smack in the mouth and his pc confiscated for all eternity. On May 3, 1978, Gary Thuerk, an evil bastard intent on world destruction, sent the first spam email. Internet marketers the world over undoubtedly love the man, but the average person who has their email box filled with nothing more than penis enhancement pills, cheap drugs or weight loss miracles surely must hate this man with a passion. And these emails don’t even include the ones that try and con you into sending money to your rich benefactor in Nigeria or the malware infected ones. Gary you vile human being, what did you start?

Alright, I’ve got a little f my stress out of my system. Now time for a few more insights into the first spam email sent. Who was Gary Thuerk, and what exactly did he send that was so damn important to start one of the worst trends to ever grace this planet?

Over the years we’ve seen trends come and go. From mullets to planking, most of them are short-lived and stupid. But spam has been one thing that has survived the ages, and will continue to do so. Part of the reason it will remain in the landscape for the foreseeable future is its ease of use, and effectiveness. Even if you send out 10 million emails and only get a couple of responses, it was a success. The reason it’s a success is because it only took pressing one button to send that many out. It’s cheap, easy and proven to work.

On May 3, 1978, Gary Thuerk sent the first spam email. Gary worked for the Digital Equipment Corporation and sent out the email to 400 of the 2600 users of the world’s first internet, ARPAnet. He was peddling where people could see a new computer that was for sale, the DECSYSTEM-20. Clearly people weren’t impressed with his effort, but it worked. Some of the people he spammed actually turned up and purchased the computer, proving that spam email marketing actually works. Below is a copy of the first spam email sent, but did he have to be so loud?

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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 <PDP-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.

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