What Happened on May 3rd

Earliest Known Case of Spam

Today, unsolicited bulk email--better known as spam--accounts for up to 90% of all email messages, but it wasn't until this date in 1978 that the first spam was sent. Gary Thuerk, a Digital Equipment Corporation marketer, composed a message promoting the DECSYSTEM-20 computer. The message promoted two upcoming product presentations of the DECSYSTEM-20 accessing the ARPANET. The reaction to the message was swift and highly negative, including one who claimed that the message shut down his system.