Ankit is a co-founder @ AdPushup (a tool which helps online publishers optimize ad revenues) and loves online marketing & growth hacking.
With an increasing percentage of the consumer demographics opting to shop online, internet advertising is now a multi-billion dollar industry. This paradigm shift, however, is a result of a colorful past. Today, through this article, we are going to take a glance back at the beginnings of this industry. We are going to revisit the journey of how it has grown and flourished and held its place in a world where once print, television and radio were the only source for advertising.
Before The Banner There was SPAM
The first ever Spam email to annoy email owners was sent on May 3, 1978. The recipient list was 400 users long and was taken from the ARPAnet directory. ARPAnet, for the geeks in all of us, stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. It is considered to be the precursor to what we now know as Internet. Widely known as the “first internet”, it was used as a highly secure medium for information flow between universities and research centers across the globe. The first four nodes that were connected to this network was located at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, University of Utah and Stanford Research Institute.
Swerving back to the topic, the creator of the first spam email advertisement ever to hit the inbox was Gary Thuerk, also known as the father of spam, not a very inspiring title. He was a marketing manager at the Digital Equipment Corporation. Although DEC had a strong presence in the East Coast, considering the fact that it was an East Coast based corporation, the email was an attempt to reach the West Coast technological enthusiasts. Specifically, the email was an invitation to West Coast users to a product demonstration of the then new Decsystem-20 by Digital.
Here is what the first spam read:–
The length of the recipient list was so huge that many email id’s flowed down into the body of the message. Although some were happy about the notification, the majority were angry at Thuerk for crashing their computers and for the unsolicited contact. The outrage by the Defense Communication Agency (DCA) against that email was strong enough to keep any spam away from hitting another inbox for almost a decade.