Anniversary of "spam"

Anniversary of Spam continues to blight e-mail exactly 15 years after the term was first coined and almost 30 years since the first spam message was sent. The term is thought to have been coined by Joel Furr, an administrator on the net discussion system Usenet, to refer to unsolicited bulk messages.

Furr told bcc News that the anniversary of his first use of the term was no cause for celebration. For good reason. More than 90 per cent of all e-mail is spam, according to the us- based anti-spam body Spamhaus.

The first unsolicited bulk e-mail was sent by a marketing representative at computer firm Dec in May 1978, when he sent an e-mail invite to every West Coast user on the Arpanet, the original building block of the internet. About 15 years later Furr used the term spam to refer to bulk postings on discussion boards on the Internet but in the years to come spam became associated with e-mail. Today much of it is sent from hacked household computers.