30 years of Spam

Earlier this week we celebrated 15 years of the world-wide-web, today is apparently the 30th anniversary of the first spam mail, even though the name was only coined 15 years ago.

I can’t say exactly when I received my first spam mail, it was possibly at university at around the time the name was first used. But at the time it wasn’t so much of a nuisance as I didn’t receive that much e-mail.

Even when I started work in Germany, I don’t remember there being that much spam mail around, which was probably a good thing as the internet lines were still very much modem- or ISDN-based. On the other hand, perhaps that was why there was not such much of it around?

But I do remember that suddenly around the year 2000 there was a sudden influx of it – and it was a real pain at the time. With spam filters still in their infancy, it was a case of using every trick possible to block the mails from reaching the mail server. Most web-based freemail providers did not have spam filters, and as someone who picked up their mail on the move the slow GSM access combined with the number of spam mails made it a chore to download headers and then remove the spam before downloading the e-mails that I wanted.

After that both the mail programs and the providers woke up and started working on their filters. These days, seven years later, and I use a combination of provider- and program-based filters, as well as my own hand-written ones. As a result I receive very little of it, and the ones that I do receive do not make it to my mobile devices. I even advise other people on how to avoid it for a living!

In fact, I probably have more problems with unwanted telephone calls than with spam mails. And should anything get through after all, then I can always blog about it…

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


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