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Celebrating Spam's Ten-Year Anniversary

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the hurray-i-think dept.

Spam 275

khalua writes "Netcraft has a story that 10 years ago today, the first widely recognized spam was sent by... oh the irony...a law firm. Hate to see what a beast it grows into when it's 20." Reader prostoalex writes "Ever wonder why spam is so prevalent and who buys all those revolutionary products sold at unbelievable prices? Direct Marketing Association estimates $11.7 billion was spent on goods and services pitched via unsolicited e-mail. The average buy was $155, which exceeds the average of $114 that opt-in e-mail generated. It's worth noting that US e-commerce sales in general generated $50 billion total last year, however, the data was presented by a different researcher."

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GNAA FP by lysol lysol lysol (-1, Troll)

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"First"? (5, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476806)

Come on... that Canter & Siegel green-card-lottery spam-scam wasn't the first spam by a long-shot... maybe the first spam to get written up the print media. Usenet was already littered with off-topic commercial posts and crossposted garbage by then, and unsolicited e-mailings (on a much smaller scale than today) were hardly unheard-of.

Re:"First"? (5, Interesting)

Rupert (28001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476890)

I was pretty heavily into Usenet in 1995. C&S caused a huge increase in the number of posts in the groups I subscribed to. Mostly, those were people complaining about C&S, but it was a pretty significant event, even for netizens.

C&S huge innovation was that it *wasn't* cross-posted. They left a bot running all weekend to post identical messages to every newsgroup. That's why it was such a bitch to cancel them all.

Typo (1)

Rupert (28001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476926)

s/1995/1994/

But Usenet was still useable in 1995. It wasn't until later that it degenerated to the state it's in today.

Re:"First"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477163)

Speaking of early bot-driven spam events... do you know where I can find the MORTIMER STORY?

Re:"First"? (5, Interesting)

no longer myself (741142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476913)

Heck, I remember when it hit FIDO net during my old BBS days over 10 years ago. I distictly remember objecting to it back then, and was flamed for trying to limit "freedom of speech".

Re:"First"? (2, Interesting)

Radical Rad (138892) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476962)

I never got unsolicited emails back then even (for quite a while) after Canter and Siegel. The commercial cross posts that you refer to were usually just to the few usenet groups that were somewhat relevant to the product or service. Canter and Siegel hit every single newsgroup!

Re:"First"? (5, Interesting)

Cowboy Bebop (540969) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476969)

I have a much earlier spam. [templetons.com] And I bet people here could reply with even earlier ones.

Re:"First"? (5, Funny)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476998)

It by no means was the first. Plenty of spams went out, but were on a small scale (like no more than 20 newsgroups).

Nor was it the first extreme newsgroup spamming. It missed that by a few weeks.

The very first, excruciatingly-painful, extreme Usenet spamming was the "The End of the World is Coming!" by some Jesus-freak. Someone generated cancels for it, and then sent out a message "The End of the World has been Cancelled."

C&S, however, were the first couple of dedicated spammers that proclaimed "we will spam, and be happy to sue anyone that disagrees!"

Re:"First"? (1)

color of static (16129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477061)

No, they weren't the first, but they really did push the bar up. Before that no other commercial post went out on that many newgroups and mailling list at the same time.

Of course that was also near the end of being able to retaliate by sending people copies of your generic OS kernel in the mail.

I miss the fronteir days before Al Gore paved a Interstate through the town called Internet :-).

That's Who (5, Funny)

mod_critical (699118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476812)

I'll tell you who buys this stuff:

I had an aquaintence who surfing the web while we were in the library one time and freaked out all of a sudden. She went up to ask the librarian if she wouldn't be able to get her "prize" she just "won" because she was in a library and the "web people" wouldn't know where to find her...

That is who buys this stuff.

Re:That's Who (4, Interesting)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476849)

Sounds like this was an opportunity for you to explain to her it was a scam and perhaps educate one more person....ah hell, who am I kidding?

Stupid twit prolly wonders how all those people "found her". Prolly likes to speak with telemarketers too.

Gah.

Re:That's Who (4, Interesting)

Spetiam (671180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476957)

seriously, just out of curiosity, has anyone here actually bought something because of a spam ad or know somebody that did?

but here's the real question: why??

Re:That's Who (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477081)

Yes, and my penis is now much larger than yours. Which makes me feel far superior than you and not a fool at all for purchasing from a spam message.

Re:That's Who (4, Funny)

Scaba (183684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476999)

Mmmmm, if only my female acquaintances were so gullible......wait, I don't have any female acquaintances. I've wasted my life with this damn computer!!!

Re:That's Who (5, Funny)

void warranty() (232725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477015)

And because you didn't kill her, the rest of us continue to get spam. Thanks a lot!

Re:That's Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477079)

So do you tell her she can only get pregnant if she comes?

Re:That's Who (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477135)

True story:

Remember those annoying 'punch the monkey and win $20' ads?

I had an account exec, mid 30's college educated woman pulling down something in the $30-35k salary range call me (tech, natch) into her office *** specificaly to ask me where her $20 was ***.

Perhaps she's the mom of the dumb bitch you mention?

Why can't... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476815)

Netcraft confirm that spam is dying?

i hate spam (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476816)

stupid spam

$11.7 billion... (5, Insightful)

Walkiry (698192) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476817)

Ever heard the phrase "follow the money"? Yes? Well, that's what they should be doing with Spam.

Re:$11.7 billion... (2, Insightful)

void warranty() (232725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476940)

You mean, like, follow the spam? I don't see the point, my problem is that spam follows me.

Is this some Soviet Russia thing?

Re:$11.7 billion... (1)

KaLogain (319907) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477052)

I think what he means is follow where this money they are talking about comes from, see if it is some scam.

Yeaaaaa spam! (0, Troll)

NeoTheOne (673445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476827)

We must thank our overlords for blessing us with ten years of free sex, bigger penises, and making money at home! I mean where would we be without them? I for one continue to welcome our spam overlords' 2300 messages a day!

kinda scary... (5, Funny)

TR0GD0RtheBURNiNAT0R (734295) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476832)

...that people actually buy the stuff in spam... What kind of idiot would--HEY! look! Cheap Viagra! woohoo!!! what luck!

Re:kinda scary... (5, Insightful)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476925)

Lots of people, sadly. Pretend you are not so web-savvy. Now pretend you need viagra. You've been thinking about buying some, but are too ashamed to do so. Then a nice offer arrives in your email - with a "discounted" price! You can order it from the privacy of your own home. This might be enough to get you to buy.

10 years... (5, Funny)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476833)

...of making my mortage three to four inches larger while working at home for a Nigerian with financial problems who gets paid to take surverys online for a company that would like to pre-apporve me for a no-hassle Platinum card that I can use to pay for tuition at "a major university."






Ok, I'm done now...

Re:10 years... (1)

mikesmind (689651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477104)

..."who gets paid to take surveys onling for a" multi-level network marketing "company that"...

SPAM is not only comercial .... (-1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476836)

Slashdot gets spammed every day, and not only with publicity.
Actually, i don't care very much about comercial spam, because it's rather easy to filter with bayesian filters.
Actually other kinds of spam, like those carring viruses are harder to filter, and more annoying, since the intentions are differents, and so the spammers sends MORE emails every day than commercial ones. So good i don't use windoze :)

Data Dammit (-1, Offtopic)

JohnPerkins (243021) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476843)

"data were" not "data was"

Re:Data Dammit (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476916)

No, I think Data was just one android (though, with androids you never know for sure) :-)

*sigh*.... (5, Interesting)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476854)

As long as Spam continues to be profitable (and apparently increasingly so), I fear we may never really see the end of it. Even if SMTP protocols are revised, even if Internet postage is applied to emails, as long as you're doing better revenues over your expenses, which in most cases you are, then there is no hope.

Tho I may sound resigned and defeated to e-mail's evenutal fate, there are alternates. Instant messaging is easier controlled (I never get any Spam, but then I don't allow people on my buddy list to IM me). IRC and other online chats are tough to pollute as well.

In short my prediction is in 10 years I will have completely ditched my email address and I will be giving friends my ICQ UIN/AOL Handle/Yahoo Handle in lieu of it.

Ok I'm through ranting, time for everyone else to.

Re:*sigh*.... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476887)

I really should use that preview button... "I only allow people on my buddy list to IM Me..."

Great solution! (1)

deinol (210478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477002)

Instant messaging is easier controlled (I never get any Spam, but then I don't allow people on my buddy list to IM me).

Don't let people communicate with you at all. Set your filters to reject all e-mail, and you'll get 100% spam blockage!

(I know, that was a typo, but I couldn't resist!)

Re:*sigh*.... (2, Insightful)

extremesanity (621845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477122)

If you want to choose every single person that has contact with you you can do that just as easily with email. Its called a whitelist, and whomever is not on it does not get through. Its been around forever.

Re:*sigh*.... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477152)

Well yes and no....one key problem, not everything uses IM yet, for example if I send a customer support inquiry to amazon.com, I'd have to do it via email, and get a response via email. Amazon doesn't (yet anyways) have a IM ID where they could automate such responses, as do many other stores. Hence a whitelist is tricky on those grounds and email must still be used, however again in 10 years this all might change...

Re:*sigh*.... (3, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477158)

I don't think it's as gloomy as all that. The techniques you apply to IM (keeping your "true name" secret except to people you trust) apply equally well to email.

The difference between email and IM is one of modes of communication, and they're both valuable modes. IM has immediacy; email has time-shifting. One does not entirely substitute for the other.

You're right that the spammers will not stop. They will shift to wherever the money is. If they find that they can no longer send email for free, then they will shift to IM, until that route is protected, too.

They're already starting to explore other domains. Spam comments have started showing up in people's web logs, and I'm sure there's a lot of it in Slashdot, too. We don't see much of it because it's mostly moderated down or rejected by the lameness filters, but when attention is turned to it, the war will escalate on that front.

The simplest solution, in all cases, is to accept only messages (whether IMs, slash postings, or emails) from known people. But email has a strong tradition of anonymity, and a valuable one. ACs in Slashdot can be anonymous informants inside a company. Or, far more likely, they're assholes. It's hard to tell without reading.

A friend of mine strongly believes that if it's worth saying, it's worth sticking your name on, and your neck out. She's never lived in China, or Afghanistan, so I can't say if she's right in the general case. But most of the time, she's right, and people afraid to communicate publicly are far more likely to be assholes than hidden geniuses.

Spammers can establish a short-term identity, but such identities can be, uh, identified. When receiving a message from, say, yahoo.com, ask the server how long this person has had the account, and whether its past behavior is spam-like. Does it receive emails? Does it reply to them?

Obviously it's not fully worked out, and even more importantly, it will take a long time for such things to filter through the entire Internet.

But I predict that in ten years, we'll have eliminated most forms of anonymity in email, and spam will be rejected at the server rather than filtered out. (I also predict that a lot of the burden of mass mail will be moved to RSS rather than email, but that's another story.)

Anonymity, sadly, will fall by the wayside. It'll still be there, but the anonymous informants will be ignored. It sucks to be inside the sort of tyrrany that make anonymity necessary, and I hate to pay the price of keeping them down, but I hope mechanisms will evolve (say, a chain of authentication) that will allow a form of anonymity without the downsides.

Meantime, get yourself a bunch of accounts, and give different accounts to different people, based on relationship and level of trust. In the future, your identity (and identities) will be one of the most valuable things you own.

Re:*sigh*.... (1)

dickiedoodles (728410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477183)

Even if SMTP protocols are revised, even if Internet postage is applied to emails, as long as you're doing better revenues over your expenses, which in most cases you are, then there is no hope.

The point of those measures is to decrease the profitability of spam by either increasing the costs (making people pay to send email) or decreasing the revenue (altering SMTP protocol to stop spam getting through) eventually it will not be worth the spammers time and money to send the spam.

If that doesn't work then this [slashdot.org] might be a solution, putting a copyrighted haiku in every email so it will get past spam filters and suing any spammers that use it, I'm thinking of forcing everyone to attach an RIAA copyrighted song to all emails and report anyone sending spam to the RIAA. Spammers wouldn't risk pissing off those crazy bastards and as a plus point I get lots of free music

11 Billion? (5, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476855)

Show me 11 billion from spam and I'll show you a guy with a 4 foot long penis.

Re:11 Billion? (3, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476918)

You rang?

Obligitory Simpson's reference (1)

Gzip Christ (683175) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477030)

Show me 11 billion from spam and I'll show you a guy with a 4 foot long penis.
You don't scare me - that could be anyone's penis.

Re:11 Billion? (1)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477179)

Show me 11 billion from spam and I'll show you a guy with a 4 foot long penis.

Well, don't you think I should cut off the extra foot and a half before you start showing me off?

Seems to me... (0, Flamebait)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476862)

that if that many people are buying items pitched to them in unsolicited e-mails, then it's not really 'unwanted' is it? If no one was buying this junk then I would understand the call to ban it outright but as it stands, we just need to figure out how to keep it away from the people who don't want these e-mails. A free market and free speech go hand in hand and soliciting through e-mail is one example of that. I'm not prepared to take food out of someone's mouth without a good reason. Here's an article where Gates advocates paying for each e-mail. [cnn.com] Seems like a good solution to me.

Re:Seems to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476921)

who gets the money?

Re:Seems to me... (0)

slim hades (703936) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476951)

I agree.. although I love getting my communications for free, and will always maintain a way to do that, i.e irc... a 1/5 a cent per email is not a big deal in my book, but millions(cost per email) would be a nice dent to spammers...

I have a suggestion for the idea though... how about making it free to send email to known contacts, or people you have allowed to send you email?

Just a thought.

I'm old... (3, Interesting)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476868)

You know you're no longer a snotty nosed geek when you can remember Canter & Siegel. Back in the days when you said "the internet" most people thought "Usenet", not "the Web." I think I still have an old O'Reiley book Using the Internet or some such thing were mention of the "World Wide Web" was relegated to an Appendix.

Re:I'm old... (join the club) (1)

gosand (234100) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477129)

You know you're no longer a snotty nosed geek when you can remember Canter & Siegel. Back in the days when you said "the internet" most people thought "Usenet", not "the Web." I think I still have an old O'Reiley book Using the Internet or some such thing were mention of the "World Wide Web" was relegated to an Appendix.

I remember when I first heard of the World Wide Web, back in '92. I thought "Why do you need a gui interface? Gopher and FTP work just fine."

As you can tell, I am no techo-revolutionary.

Slashdot once again behind the times. (5, Informative)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476869)

The first spam was sent May 3, 1978 -- 25 years ago . (It was written May 1 but sent on May 3.) The end of the month marks the 11th anniversary of when the first time a USENET posting got named a spam. Once again, Slashdot editors need to start checking the validity of their article before posting.

Re:Slashdot once again behind the times. (1)

BReflection (736785) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477066)

Can you provide a cite for this spam you are talking about?

Re:Slashdot once again behind the times. (2, Informative)

RaymondInFinland (103909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477084)

Look here [templetons.com] for the exact message and the reaction of the community to the first SPAM message being send by email.

Re:Slashdot once again behind the times. (1)

chamilto0516 (675640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477101)

I think the first spam was sent by Ray Tomlinson in 1971 saying, "Tired of paying the high cost of postage just to send short messages to friends..."

The 23rd SPAM (5, Funny)

funny-jack (741994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476870)

"The 23rd Spam" [satirewire.com] by Sam the Psalmist,Toronto, Ontario
(real name withheld by request)

The 23rd Spam

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,
He leadeth me beside the still waters,
He restoreth my credit and consolidateth my debts,
For as little as $1,750,
If I act now.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me,
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
And can now be 50 Percent Larger in Three Weeks.
Guaranteed.

Thou preparest a table before me
In the presence of mine enemies,
Thou annointest my head with oil,
My cup runneth over.
But as an added bonus,
I will receive $1,000.00 cash,
If I complete thy online registration form today.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me,
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell forever,
In the House of the Lord,
Which I shall refinanceth,
To take advantage,
Of the lowest mortgage rates in years.

Celebration? (5, Insightful)

lake2112 (748837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476872)

There is no way that we should ever "celebrate" spam ... Maybe we can celebrate the eradication of spam, but never the anniversary.

here's a good mail filter (5, Interesting)

juggaleaux (725689) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476874)

On my Yahoo! mail account I set up a filter that sends anything with "unsubscribe" to the trash automatically. My spam went WAY down. :)

Re:here's a good mail filter (4, Insightful)

cabingirl (671963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476922)

You must not belong to very many mailing lists.

Re:here's a good mail filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476930)

Damn, Thank you, good sir.

Re:here's a good mail filter (2, Insightful)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477047)

The spam I get, if it has a remove link at all, says something like "no more plz". So your filter wouldn't work on this.

Re:here's a good mail filter (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477098)

I was going to email you and discuss this unsubscribe feature, but then I realized that you probably wouldn't get the email...

BBS spam was the first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476884)

There was some mass message board postings to the effect that my IP address was being broadcast to world despite the fact we were all on direct dialup and trumpet Winsock had not yet been developed.

$155?? (4, Funny)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476885)

The average buy was $155

Crikey, thats a lot of penis enlargement pills.

I feel quite inadequate now.

Re:$155?? (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476945)

The average buy was $155
Crikey, thats a lot of penis enlargement pills.
I feel quite inadequate now.

Yeah, but your bank account thanks you. :-)

Re:$155?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476979)

I sell drugs.

We routinely see people order $400+ of viagra at a time. (Usually that's about 20 100mg pills).

Re:$155?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477026)

I feel quite inadequate now.

Don't you mean adequate? I mean when everyone else around you needs them, and you don't (read: didn't say you needed them).

Shit, well at least I know I don't need them.

-- paper

And you know because....? (1)

gosand (234100) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477092)

The average buy was $155
Crikey, thats a lot of penis enlargement pills.

Is it? I wouldn't know.

Yeah, right (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476896)

Direct Marketing Association estimates $11.7 billion was spent on goods and services pitched via unsolicited e-mail.
If SPAM costs 11 billion a year to the economy, this means that SPAM has not been positive at all for the economy, hence this makes for a good case for the death penalty for spammers.

Re:Yeah, right (2, Interesting)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476970)

Unfortunately, it cannot be viewed as a cost. It's $11.7 billion in more sales, and those sales employed people. The money didn't just evaporate, it changed hands, and that's good for an economy.

Help for an embarassing problem. (1)

LukePieStalker (746993) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476900)

By now, small naughty bits and "performance problems" should be a thing of the past.

Mail Enhancement Drugs (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476904)

Other ways of viewing this auspicious occasion:

Mourning Spam's Ten Year Anniversary

Ten Years of Spam Adversity

Ten Years of the most villainous scum (outside of Mos Eisley) crawling out of the woodwork

Ten Years of some putz trying to get $25,000,000 out of a bank account somewhere in the world

Ten Years of geeks valiantly slugging it out on the front lines of the conflict while Washington dithers

Ten Years abusing free speech in another vein

Ten Years watching a valuable resource be clogged by the low rung of the evolutionary ladder

makes me wonder (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476910)

this quote

"Direct Marketing Association estimates $11.7 billion was spent on goods and services pitched via unsolicited e-mail."

makes me wonder how many billions were spent on wasted hours deleting the garbage, & how many billions have been wasted on network arcitechture to carry the load.

Re:makes me wonder (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477130)

Keep in mind that the DMA estimating $11.7 billion is like Al Ralsky or any other spam king bragging about how successful he is. I wouldn't trust what the DMA said were hard facts. Their estimates aren't worth spit.

fidonet (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476914)

what about Fidonet, or whatever that mail system was that linked BBS's back in the day? I bet spam was sent through that, if nothing more that innapropriate advertisements for other BBS's. disclaimer: i never used fidonet, so this is all just speculation.

It's True! Spam works. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476923)

While irritating as hell to many, the sad truth is that spam works. And I know this from first-hand experience (Don't you love AC's!?).

You know all those viagra ads you get? Well chances are it's not from us (I've never met someone who's gotten one of our spams), but maybe you have. In any case, we have margins 100% - 200% higher for people who buy via bulk mail than via other advertising methods, and sales are pretty darn good. I would imagine this isn't too surprising considering the kind of people who would actually respond to spam aren't that wise. In any case, as much as it is hated, it is effective. If it wasn't effective it wouldn't happen.

We're aiming at the wrong people (5, Insightful)

$lingBlade (249591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476931)

Apparently we've been trying to stop spam by targeting the wrong people. It seems to me that if we want to stop spam, we need to remove, inhibit or embarrass the people who actually BUY their products as a result of the spam they receive...

now go ahead and mod me flaimbait or troll you useless dickweeds!

Re:We're aiming at the wrong people (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477001)

No I think you should be modded up! This whole article is proof that some people are just too stupid to own computers.

These are the same kind that don't run any anti-virus software and contribute to that problem as well.

Re:We're aiming at the wrong people (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477173)

Why should people be treated as criminals or lesser citizens for buying a product that isn't illegal? And as for "some people are just too stupid to own computers," why should intelligence be a factor in what you can and cannot own? I think this is very narrow sighted.

Happy Birthday, Spam! (4, Funny)

bryanthompson (627923) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476939)

[on the tag of a birthday present to spam]:
To: Spam
From: Everyone

[spam opens package] thousands of spring-loaded snakes carrying advertisements for penis enlargers, viagra, and various pointless gidgets flys out.

Bottom of package reads:
To be removed from this list, email: okstopspammingmeseriously@yeahrightlikethisisareal address.com

Happy birthday spam! (1)

z0ink (572154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476943)

Happy birthday spam!
Happy birthday spam!

Topic title (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476952)

I immediately thought that the topic was refering to the average grocery store shelf-life of a can of spam.

Nothing to celebrate here (1)

AustinTSmith (148316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476963)

why are we celebrating SPAM? So our marketers can get richer about stalking/annoying us?

Oh, I remember it well (4, Interesting)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476981)


Back in the halcyon days of grad school, this...this...ad! shows up in a newsgroup I favored. I dashed off an e-mail them (several, in fact) including many full copies of their post. I encouraged my fellow students to do the same.

We were quite happy to learn later the flood of mail took down their server. Yes, there I was riding the crest of the spam fighting movement without even knowing it. And at the time it was just a break from Netrek and posting via anon.penet.fi...

This message has no point. Just some memories of an old guy. Did I ever tell you about programming the Commodore PETs in the math department in high school? It was like this...

Well (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476992)

If you ain't rich, you ain't a conservative, period. You may ASPIRE to be one, but you don't "walk the walk" ...so don't "talk the talk."

A Grain of Salt... (4, Insightful)

pangian (703684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476996)

Or how about a ton of salt.

What's that? The *Direct Marketing Association* released a report saying that spam sales accounted for $11.7 billion?

But wait, isn't the DMA the very organization that represents the interests of the spam houses?

Gee, I wonder if they would have an interest in convincing people [particularly retailers] that spam is a successful form of advertising?

And what's that you say? The $11.7 billion estimate is based on calls to 1000 consumers? I wonder how they decided which 1000 people to call? I'll give you a hint...I bet they didn't opt in.

Re:A Grain of Salt... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477008)

Of course you don't have them "opt in" if you want a random sample. Do you even remotely understand basic statistical analysis?

Wasn't this the year (2, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477010)

that AOL connected up to USENET? I personally thought that was the death of decent newsgroups.

To much admin time on email before spam (4, Interesting)

chamilto0516 (675640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477050)

C&S invented the SPAM concept on Usenet. I remember that it was not only meant to hit each group but that it was not cross-posted correctly (at all) and that you couldn't delete/kill/read(to be marked read) that message in one group and have it gone from all the other groups. This was a double no-no and wrong on more than one level.

Since SPAM has propogated on to email, I am reminded of my favorite lines out of the Unix Haters Handbook [mit.edu] .

The thing that gets me is that one of the arguments that landed Robert Morris, author of "the Internet Worm" in jail was all the sysadmins' time his prank cost. Yet the author of sendmail is still walking around free without even a U (for Unixery) branded on his forehead. -- An email from dm at hri dot com dated 12-Oct-93 in Garfinkle, Weise and Strassman;
Unix Haters Handbook; May, 1994; IDG Books Worldwide

The interesting thing is that all this was published before the C&S Usenet spamming. How much time are admins spending on email management now?

SPAM has killed Usenet's usefullness for me. At least filters like Popfile [sourceforge.net] and such are keeping SPAM over email bearable; even if they are not fixing the problem.

Shakespere was right (1)

digrieze (519725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477057)

The wisdom of the bard proves true once again, and once again it was ignored, to be specific, "first thing - kill the lawyers".

To the moon ! (2, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477068)

estimates $11.7 billion was spent on goods and services pitched via unsolicited e-mail.

If one person answered all of these penis lengthening ads and purchased the product, the resulting member would stretch to the moon, circle it 3 times, and reach all the way back.

Bringing Down AOL (3, Informative)

stand (126023) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477074)

This is older than 10 years, but Tim Bray [tbray.org] tells a funny story about how he might have brought down AOL back in 1988 in response to getting a spam email from someone with the email address lipstick@aol.com.

He launched a job to send an angry response email every 10 seconds. He forgot about it until he heard a couple of guys talking a few days later about how their aol accounts were down over the weekend.

Check it out [tbray.org] , it's pretty hilarious.

How many times? (2, Interesting)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477078)

I submitted a story about a year ago that said SPAM was 20 years old according to the BBC, (going by USENET spam) But I could have swore the anniversary of spam story has been here several times.

Refunds? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477093)

I doubt those numbers include the refunds that are given either because the product does not work. But there are some people who make the purchase for the sole purpose of tracking down the spammer and filing a lawsuit.

Oh Man! (4, Funny)

Savatte (111615) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477095)

Everyone on my contact list and in my address book is going to hear about this monumental anniversary! And hopefully they will all forward it to everyone they know!

The only solution to spam (4, Insightful)

MyFourthAccount (719363) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477096)

Direct Marketing Association estimates $11.7 billion was spent on goods and services pitched via unsolicited e-mail

So how hard can it be to find exactly the companies that sold this stuff?

These are ultimately the companies that are responsible for spam. Why don't we hold them liable? I think I can proof that spam is costing me a significant amount of money (mostly lost time) even though I do have a fairly good working filter.

I hear all the time that we can't really get the spammers because they are in China, or recently because they use zombies/compromised boxes all over the internet. Well, at the end of the day, it's not the spamhouses that are responsible for this. If no-one paid them to spam, it wouldn't be a business.

So someone is paying money to get this spam to you. How come we can't go after them and make them pay?!

when it's 20 (2, Funny)

va3atc (715659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477115)

It will be taking your keys [pgp.com] when its twenty!

RE: Celebrating Spam's "birthday" (1)

physick (146658) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477126)

Why not celebrate the birthday by picking a spam site and all visiting it to say Happy Birthday?

If we did this once a day with a new site each day...and, of course, NO ONE buys anything, their click through rate would plummet, possibly their server as well.

And it cannot be illegal: they WANT us to go to their site.

Here's my suggestion

www.ffdsd4d.com or 219.153.1.215.

Here's part of the email that delivered this:

envy of the other members of the gym GET UP TO 3 MONTHS [slashdot.org]
SUPPLY FREE !

Spam will eventually stop. (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477131)

Technology will improve. Filtering will work as long as it is "intelligent". Mail systems will improve. Not too long before mail routing will toss out any message without correct verifiable origins. The returns to spammers will dwindle to almost nothing.

spamming for fun and profit (3, Funny)

saladpuncher (633633) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477132)

11.7 Billion?!
Oh man, the dark side is calling me. It's whispering in the back of my mind "Go ahead and just send out millions of emails a day and rake in millions of dollars. So what if you are hated by almost every living person on the planet....11.7 billion!"
Then I smack myself and remember the most important lesson my dad ever taught me "never degrade yourself for money, only for personal enjoyment".
They are never going to be able to stop these guys now. With that kind of money they can buy all the influence they need to keep pumping this crap out until the system becomes so overloaded that people stop using email altogether.

Fine, then there is a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477134)

Kill all the idiots who buy these products. No market for penis pills, no spam to push them. Supply and demand. Simple.

revenues (4, Insightful)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477141)

The black market revenues for hard drugs is in the billions as well, yet no one praises its economic benefits outside of criminal circles.

Um, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477147)

It was religous spam sent out from a DEC employee. Believing otherwise is a simple way of identifying the newbies.

C&S may get publicity as the first PITA (of many to come) but they were not the first spammers.

Strange and unbelievable (2, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477175)

From a survey of 1000 respondants... $32.5 billion on solicited and unsolicited combined.

What's the U.S. population these days?

250,000,000?

$130 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.?

How much per household with a computer and an internet connection?

By email?

Based on a survey?

Of people who responded?

Of people who knew what email was?

Of people who knew what it meant to respond to an email?

Of people who knew the difference between a solicited and an unsolicited email?

Sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association?

I call BS.

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