Spam-mail celebrates its 30th Anniversary this week. The first piece of mass junk e-mail was sent three decades ago, to the 393 users of the Arapnet system, by a marketeer named Gary Thuerk.
On a related note, it is more than a decade since I personally introduced the concept of spam e-mailing to the innocent readers of The Times:
Tackling Junk Mail – 28th July 1997
From Mr Robert Sharp
Dear Sir, Sir Edward Peck complains of junk mail via his fax (letter, July 19).
I believe the newest form of junk mail is that received by e-mail. I have been “on line” for a matter of days, yet I have already recieved 11 unsolicited e-mails.
While this type of intrusion is perhaps the easiest to dispose of, my hopes are dashed when I find that the eagerly awaited “new mail” is only junk mail from the United States, advertising, for example, sunglasses.
Re-reading that letter, I see no mention of any formula to “make her faint when she sees your enormous schlong,” so I suppose I must have been fairly innocent too.