Spam, Curse of Web, Turns 30

First junk email sent three decades ago; it's as healthy as ever today
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2008 11:06 AM CDT
Spam, Curse of Web, Turns 30
The real Spam is also enjoying a big milestone: it turns 70 this year.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

Spam turns 30 today, but don't break out the champagne just yet: The junk e-mail is as healthy as ever, frustrating tech experts desperate to blow out its candles. It all started on May 3, 1978, with a pitch for a new computer on a government-run precursor to the Internet. Even then, the reaction was fierce, the Washington Post says.

“This is a clear and flagrant abuse of the directory!” wrote an early spam victim. Despite Bill Gates’ prediction of spam-free email by now, at least 80% of it is spam, InformationWeek reports. One historian fears users will communicate only through sites like Facebook to avoid the nuisance, saying the end of unrestricted email “would be a real shame.” (More spam stories.)

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