The story of the first email spam message

A computer screen inbox displaying unsolicited emails known as 'spam.'

This final note today, a date which -- with apologies to Franklin Roosevelt -- has already lived in infamy.

May 3rd, 1978: a guy named Gary Thuerk. He was the marketing manager at Digital Equipment Company. Sent what is widely recognized as the first spam ever -- a message trying to sell computers.

Only went to 300-some people who were on ARPANET, which eventually became the Internet. But still -- from from a single seed, as it were.

To say happy birthday to spam, we tried to track a spammer down. Read the story here.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.


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