Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Spam

On May 3, 1978, Gary Thuerk, a marketer who worked for Digital Equipment Corporation sent an e-mail to 393 users on Arpanet, a government computer network, thus making him the world's first spammer. Spam got it's name from the Monty Python song that was sung by vikings in a restaurant where every dish included SPAM. The vikings sang the word SPAM over and over getting louder each time making conversation impossible. Hormel, the makers of the original SPAM, which was introduced in 1937, doesn't object to the use of the word but asks that the capitalized word SPAM be reserved for their product and that it be used as an adjective, as in SPAM luncheon meat. They have fought unsuccessfully however against the company SpamArrest and against the use of the term Spambuster. Hormel has this to say on their website: "Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, 'Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk email?'"

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