May 1, 2007

On this day in 1978, the very first unsolicited commercial e-mail message was sent. It promoted a DEC product presentation and was sent to hundreds of recipients (so many that they spilled out of the "To" line and into the message body). The Defense Communications Agency (DCA) decried the message, claiming that ARPANET was for "OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ONLY."

In response, legendary hacker Richard M. Stallman posted a reply on May 7, 1978 which included this sign of things to come: "Would a dating service for people on the net be 'frowned upon' by DCA? I hope not. But even if it is, don't let that stop you from notifying me via net mail if you start one." Twenty-nine years later, on-line dating is a billion-dollar industry and Mr. Stallman is still single.

As an auto-targeted e-mail software developer, I celebrate May Day in such a special way. ;)