29th anniversary of spam

I wasn’t going to make any special commemoration, but it seems a whole ton of other blogs are linking today to my articles on the history of Spam, so I should blog them as well.

Many years ago I got interested in the origins of the term “spam” to mean net abuse. I mean I had lived through most of its origin and seen most of the early spams myself, but it wasn’t clear why people took the name of the meat product and applied it to junk mail. I knew it came from USENET, so I used the USENET search engines to trace the origins.

This resulted in my article on the origins of word spam to mean net abuse.

In doing the research, I was pointed to what was probably the earliest internet spam, though it far predates the term.

I documented that in Reactions to the first spam.

4 years ago, on the 25th anniversary of that spam, I was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered and write an article reflecting on the history. For that article I dug out Gary Thuerk, the sender of that first spam, and interviewed him for more details.

You can read that in Reflections on the 25th anniversary of Spam.

Of course, you can find all these and many more in my collection of articles on Spam. Many years ago I wrote a wide variety of essays on the spam problem. Not simply about solutions, but analysis of why the fight was so nasty, and concern over the rights people were willing to give up in the name of fighting spam.

I will probably update them, and do some more research for the 30th anniversary, next year.

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