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Email spam, also known as unsolicited bulk email (UBE), junk mail, or unsolicited commercial email (UCE), is the practice of sending unwanted email messages, frequently with commercial content, in large quantities to an indiscriminate set of recipients.Spam in email started to become a problem when the Internet was opened up to the general public in the mid-1990s.Messages that were crossposted to too many newsgroups at once – as opposed to those that were posted too frequently – were called velveeta (after a cheese product). In the late 19th Century Western Union allowed telegraphic messages on its network to be sent to multiple destinations.The first recorded instance of a mass unsolicited commercial telegram is from May 1864, when some British politicians received an unsolicited telegram advertising a dentistry shop.
This complicates attempts to control the spread of spam, as in many cases the spam does not obviously originate from the spammer.Because the barrier to entry is so low, spammers are numerous, and the volume of unsolicited mail has become very high.In the year 2011, the estimated figure for spam messages is around seven trillion.It grew exponentially over the following years, and today composes some 80 to 85 percent of all the e-mail in the World, by a "conservative estimate".Pressure to make email spam illegal has been successful in some jurisdictions, but less so in others.
The couple wrote a controversial book entitled How to Make a Fortune on the Information Superhighway.