Tag: history

2016 Mary Litynski Award

The Mary Litynski Award is presented by M3AAWG to people who have done extensive work outside the public eye over a significant period of time. At the Dublin conference the award was presented to Rodney Joffe. A lot of other people will talk about Rodney’s accomplishments, including his role in the founding of Genuity, his […]

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Thirty years ago this Sunday, was registered – the first .com domain. It was followed, within a few months, by,, and Symbolics made lisp machines – is now owned by a domain speculator. BBN is a technology R&D company who’ve worked on everything. If I had to pick one […]


Who didn’t invent email?

Who didn’t invent email? Shiva Ayyadurai. He’s not the only one – I didn’t invent email either, nor did Abraham Lincoln, Boadicea or Tim Berners-Lee. So why mention Shiva? He claims that in 1978 when he was 14, he took some courses in programming. His mum worked for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of […]

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The origins of network email

The history of long distance communication is a fascinating, and huge, subject. I’m going to focus just on the history of network email – otherwise I’m going to get distracted by AUTODIN and semaphore and facsimile and all sorts of other telegraphy. Electronic messaging between users on the same timesharing computer was developed fairly soon after time-sharing […]

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Email History through RFCs

Many aspects of email are a lot older than you may think. There were quite a few people in the early 1970s working out how to provide useful services using ARPANET, the network that evolved over the next 10 or 15 years into the modern Internet. They used Requests for Comment (RFCs) to document protocol and […]

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Email saves trees!

The arrival of my first spam email was a bit of a shock. I’d been on the internet for years by that point and had never seen junk mail in my inbox. Of course, the Internet was a very different place. The web was still a toddler. There was no email marketing industry. In fact, […]

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The more things change

I was doing some research about the evolution of the this-is-spam button for a blog article. In the middle of it, I found an old NY Times report about spam from 2003. At the same time, the argument is intensifying over what represents legitimate e-mail, particularly when it ends up being blocked by an antispam […]

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Emoji – older than you think

It might just be random 17th Century punctuation, but this poem from 1648 certainly seems to be using a smiley face emoji. (OK, it’s probably not intentional, but it’s lovely intersection of the emoji and the word.)

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A Spam Blast from the Past

A couple of days ago an ex-employee of Opt-In Inc., was kind enough to do a Reddit AMA answering questions about their experience working with Steve Hardigree in the “legitimate” email marketing industry, back in the early 2000s. The whole thing is worth a read, but I thought I’d share some of his more interesting […]


The 500 mile email

This is a great story from Trey Harris about a real email delivery issue from the mid 1990s. Here’s a problem that sounded impossible…  I almost regret posting the story to a wide audience, because it makes a great tale over drinks at a conference.   The story is slightly altered in order to protect […]

  • Lost in the mists of time

    Over on the Farsight Security blog Joe St. Sauver talks about some of the early days of online abuse, on usenet. Laura and I were on the periphery of early usenet abuse, mostly as users, but Usenet (and IRC) around then were the places we both started with email abuse.No Comments

  • Ongoing Yahoo delays

    I've been hearing from folks over the last few days that they're seeing an uptick in deferrals from Yahoo! The deferrals are not uniform. ESPs report they're seeing some, but not all, customers affected. Other ESPs aren't seeing any changes. It's not just you. But it would be very worthwhile to dig into engagement and other stats. It's possible this is a new normal at Yahoo! and they're tightening filters to catch mail that doesn't fit their standards but was previously difficult to filter.No Comments

  • AOL starts using Sender Score Certification

    Good news for Sender Score Certified IPs. Return Path recently announced that AOL has joined the list of ISPs offering preferential treatment to certified IPs.  1 Comment