The story of the first email spam message

A computer screen inbox displaying spam emails.

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, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.


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