This year we’re celebrating ClickZ’s 10th anniversary, but how much do you really know about the history of e-mail? Below, a quiz. Match the milestone with the event. The first four answers appeared in my last column; the rest follow.
Can you match each of these milestones with the year it occurred?
|Match the Milestone to the Correct Date|
|First spam e-mail is sent||1969|
|The World Wide Web is invented||1971|
|HTML e-mail is possible||1978|
|The Internet is born||1979|
|ClickZ is founded||1983|
|The CAN-SPAM Act is passed||1989|
|ARPANET is developed||1997|
|Spamhaus, SpamCop are founded||1998|
|The CompuServe information service is founded||1998 (again)|
|First network e-mail is sent||2003|
5. The Internet is born: 1983
The term “Internet” was first used in 1974 to describe a network based on a new protocol called TCP/IP. On January 1, 1983, all the hosts on ARPANET were switched over to this new protocol, creating the Internet. At this point it was strictly plain text; no images, no sound. As with ARPANET, there was e-mail. But while the Internet remains the structure of today’s online world, people didn’t flock to it until the look and feel was enhanced.
6. The World Wide Web is invented: 1989
Developed in 1989, the World Wide Web didn’t become main stream until the mid-1990s. Many people use the terms “Internet” and “Web” interchangeably, but they’re different. The Web is accessed via the Internet; it’s what gives us the colors, images, hyperlinks, and other elements we take for granted in online today. HTML (define) is the driving force behind the Web; later, HTML would be incorporated into e-mail.
7. ClickZ is founded: 1997
Andy Bourland and Ann Hanley, ClickZ’s founders, were pioneers. In addition to being one of the first, and best, online resources for interactive marketers, they were an early successful example of an advertising-based content site on the Web.
Although I’d been working in online since 1989, I lived by Kim MacPherson‘s columns on e-mail marketing when I became director of e-mail product development for a large business-to-business (B2B) publisher. I was a fan long before I began writing this column. ClickZ confirmed what I knew, taught me things I didn’t know, and helped me build a case to get the budget and resources needed to create effective e-mail marketing programs.
8. HTML e-mail is possible: 1998
It took e-mail a while to catch up to the Web. While HTML e-mail was technically possible prior to 2000, it took a few years until most e-mail clients could read it. Every few years the debate over HTML vs. text e-mail heats up. Even at its inception, HTML e-mail was controversial.
One benefit of HTML: the ability to track open rates. While CTRs (define) on plain text e-mail messages could be tracked, we couldn’t track open rates until HTML e-mail came along. This is why CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the quantity of e-mail sent, not by the number of e-mail opened.
It was only a matter of time; two of the earliest anti-spam organizations, Spamhaus and SpamCop, were founded the same year HTML emerged. Both provided avenues for reporting spam as well as blacklists and other tools to help network e-mail administrators block unwanted e-mail.
10. The CAN-SPAM Act is passed: 2003
After years of taking a hands-off approach to commercial e-mail, the U.S. Congress passed legislation regulating some aspects of it in 2003. While many e-mail marketers were disappointed CAN-SPAM didn’t mandate an opt-in, others were hopeful that this marked the beginning of better times for e-mail.
It’s been a wild 10 years since ClickZ’s birth — cheers to at least 10 more years of e-mail marketing and ClickZ.
Until next time,
Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.