Evolution of Email -the Beginning of Email Marketing

Email may be a daily part of your life, but it hasn't always been around. Although, it has actually been around longer than the Internet has and even longer than ARPANet. Its evolution was simple and based on the changes in technology. The early uses of email were basically like leaving a note on someone's desk, except that note was left in a directory so email marketing wasn't actually an option. A user simply left a note in another user's directory so that when they logged in they would see it. It wasn't like the inboxes we have today specifically for sending and receiving email, however it accomplished its goal.

The first true email system was called MAILBOX and it was used at MIT as early as 1965. That is a very long time ago compared to when people think email was introduced. This program worked well and another program that sent emails was called SNDMSG, basically meaning "send message".

The mainframe computers that used these types of programs had as many as 100 users on them. Many time people used a "dumb terminal" to connect to the mainframe. The dumb terminals did not have any memory or actual storage; they simply allowed people to connect to the mainframe. As a result, work was actually conducted on the remote mainframe.

This was before internetworking so email was only possible for people that used the same computer. As a result, there was no need for an actual email address or sending an email. It was more like placing an email on a mainframe so that others could see it, which meant that if email marketing was used at all it certainly didn't reach many people. Then, when computers began to be able to communicate to other computers via networks email became much more complicated and the idea of email marketing would eventually evolve from this. However, now that computers could take sending an email meant that people would need addresses to send the emails across networks and have them arrive to the correct person.

Today, email marketing is based on having thousands of email addresses to send information quickly and affordably. However, in the early days of email the issue of addressing emails and sending them across networks was in the early stages so email marketing would still be a long way out as a way to contact lots of people in just a few strokes of the keyboard. Then, in 1972 Ray Tomlinson played a huge role in creating the way email is sent and received and is the one who chose the @ sign to denote a particular destination for an email. This alone opened up email so that it could be sent and received across networks and is the root of email marketing.

Brought to you by Aaron Goldberg. Aaron is an advocate for Interspire, a provider of ecommerce shopping cart software, content management software, email marketing software, and other web software solutions.

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