This message was followed by someone emailing around a nude picture of a model:
It was 30 years ago this Saturday that users of Arpanet, a U.S. government-designed precursor to the Internet, logged onto their accounts to find what is considered the first piece of unsolicited commercial e-mail ever sent.
It was a pitch for a new computer. "We invite you to come see the 2020 and hear about the DECSYSTEM-20 family at the two product presentations we will be giving in California this month," read the missive, sent by a salesman named Gary Thuerk on May 3, 1978.
Thuerk's e-mail prompted an aggravated discussion among the service's users, the relatively small number of high-level academics with access to computers that then cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"This is a clear and flagrant abuse of the directory!" one of the hundreds of users [ed: future Sen. Al Gore] on Thuerk's recipient list complained in a public reply.
Funny how spam and porn are now the biggest revenue generators on the web.