5 Surprising Email Facts

1. Email was invented even before the internet.

The Internet started as a project called ARPANET in October 1969 at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). But the very first email system was actually started four years before that in 1965, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a system called MAIL.

2. The content of the very first email is unknown.

There’s a myth going on that says that the first email message content was “Hello world”. This is false. The “Hello world” tradition started with a book to learn the C programming language more than ten years after the first email was sent.When asked, Ray Tomlinson admitted that he has no clue what he did put in the first message he sent, and that for all he knows it could very well be something as meaningless as “test” or even “kjdhkjdgfskygf”.

3. The first free webmail services were hotmail and rocketmail.

Even though it was created in 1965, the first free webmail services appeared 30 years later. It is still unsure which one of Hotmail or Rocketmail really was first on the market, but both have similar stories.They were both extremely successful and were ultimately acquired by tech giants.Hotmail, written HoTMail at the time, was bought by Microsoft in 1997 for $400 million and was then rebranded as MSN Hotmail, then Windows Live Mail to finally become Outlook.com in 2013.As for Rocketmail, Yahoo! acquired them in 1997 for $92 million. Support for new RocketMail email addresses stopped in 2013.

4. EMAIL, email or e-mail

When it comes to writing the word “email”, most people don’t know what the correct form is. Is it email, e-mail or even eMail?Technically both email and e-mail are right. Being short for electronic mail, the term ‘e-mail’ was first the preferred version, but as the usage spread, most of the English-speaking world has switched to the unhyphenated ‘email’. The Associated Press Stylebook, the style guide for most newspapers in the United States, also decided to drop the hyphen in 2011.

5. Where does the word spam come from?

We all know what spam is. Whether it’s companies trying to sell you barely legal products and services, or a Nigerian widow willing to give you billions of dollars, we’ve all received these bothering messages once too often. But how many of you actually know why we use the word “spam”?It derives from a 1970 Monty Python sketch that takes place in a café where every item on the menu contains SPAM, the popular canned pre-cooked meat that stands for spiced ham.The waitress says the word spam so often in the three-minute sketch that it is now used to describe unwanted and abundant electronic messages.


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