The Father of eSpam
At Interop Las Vegas earlier this spring, I had the pleasure to meet Gary Thuerk, the charming former DEC marketing executive and posed for a photo with him at the Sendio booth. That's Gary on the left.
Gary is an articulate and spry retiree with a penchant for self-effacement and just call it like it is talk. His story about the first unsolicited marketing message (not really spam since it was quite appropriate and certainly well identified and therefore not anonymous) in 1978 that he was responsible is quite funny.
As part of the DEC team assigned to the ARPA (a Defense Department-funded advanced research agency), Gary wanted all 300 endpoints in the network to get the message about a new DEC computer that they could proudly purchase. Well, the issue was that there was no 'undisclosed recipients' and given the limits of addressing, half or more of the 300 addresses bled into the message field.
This made the message quite unintentionally illegible, and for some addressees, the message led to storage overload for the messaging application. The original nodes of the Arpanet were afterall multipurpose computers and not the specialized email servers that are certainly in regular use today.
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