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The Father of Spam

Half of all e-mail sent today is spam. What does the man who started it all think of it now?

By Geoff Williams

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every day--every hour--it comes, and just try to stop it.Spamming costs businesses $8 billion to $10 billion per year inlost productivity, as entrepreneurs and employees constantly ridtheir e-mail boxes of the unwanted promises: Get out of debt; get12 CDs for the price of one; enhance your sexual prowess. And GaryThuerk is to blame for it all. As a young, ambitious computersalesperson, he sent the first spam to 600 people on an earlyversion of the Internet in 1978. Today, Thuerk is married withthree grown kids, works as a sales representative atHewlett-Packard, and actually appears to be a nice guy. Afterexplaining why he did what he did, he even gave us his e-mailaddress. "But don't print it," he begs.

What do you personally think of spam?Is it good or bad?

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