How spam led to Google

On 3 May 1978 Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp, sent an invitation to the several thousand people on Arpanet, inviting them to come and see DEC's latest and greatest kit, thus spawning internet spam and a business worth billions of dollars.

On 3 May 1978 Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp, sent an invitation to the several thousand people on Arpanet, inviting them to come and see DEC's latest and greatest kit, thus spawning internet spam and a business worth billions of dollars.

Leading outsourced mail "cleansing" firm MessageLabs said its statistics collected in March showed 75% of more than 4.8 billion messages a day were spam.

Back in 1978 Thuerk was reviled and admired in almost equal measure. Since then, spam has become the majority of email messages, but "permission-based marketing", i.e spam that you agree to receive, has become the world's most sophisticated and measureable marketing medium.

It has also led to browser behaviour profiling and subsequent delivery of targeted advertising. Although not delivered by email, targeted advertising offered by Google and other's is spam in all but name.

So, Larry and Brin at Google, it would be just if you put the father of spam on your front page on 3 May. You owe it all to him.

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