A Brief History of Email [Infographic]

Today, email has turned out to be an inevitable part of people’s lives. The number of email users is growing steadily over the years, making it 3.9 billion at present. As the market potential of the email became widely apparent, it began to multiply exponentially. We can expect it to climb over 4.4 billion by the end of 2023.

This widely used communication medium is much older than you would imagine. The first email ever was sent out 49 years ago. Go through this Infographic to be familiar with the history of email. It neatly traces back the root of email to the very infancy and explains how it has now become a significant part of our life.

brief history of email

Infographic Content:

The 1970s – Marks the Start of Email

1971:

  • The first-ever network email was sent out by a computer programmer Raymond Samuel Tomlinson
  • The first email message was “QWERTYUIOP”
  • Raymond Samuel Tomlinson is internationally known as the “inventor of email”

1972:

  • Ray Tomlinson developed the first email program

1973:

  • The first email standard was proposed at Darpa
  • It included common things like “to” and “from” fields

1976:

  • Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the first heads of state to send out an email on March 26
  • With username “HME2” which stands for “Her Majesty, Elizabeth II,” she christens the connection
  • 75% of all ARPANET traffic was electronic mail in 1976

1978:

  • On May 1st, Gary Thuerk sent out a first unsolicited mass emailing to 400 customers
  • This campaign helped him sell $13 to $14 million worth of the DEC machines
  • This mass campaign also made him famous as “the father of spam”

1979:

  • Shiva Ayyadurai, a 14-year-old boy, writes a program called EMAIL for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
  • This software sent electronic messages within the university

1982:

  • Shiva Ayyadurai copyrights the term EMAIL

1985:

  • Government, military agencies, academic professionals, and students were the most common email users in the mid-1980s

1988:

  • The first copy of Microsoft Mail was released for Mac OS

1989:

  • CompuServe begins internet-based email service
  • It is the first online service which let other internet users to email each other
  • Lotus Development Corporation released the first version of Lotus Notes

1991:

  • Astronauts Shannon Lucid and James C. Adamson sent their first email from space using Macintosh Portable
  • The second version of Microsoft Mail was released for DOS and Windows

1992:

  • Began the start of the “attachment” when the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions protocol was released

1993:

  • The first version of Microsoft Outlook was released
  • AOL and Delphi, two of the prominent US internet service providers, connected their email systems, making way for the modern system

1994:

  • Two lawyers Laurence Carter, and Martha Siegel recorded the first business practice of spam
  • The duo ended up writing a book on it

1996:

  • Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith launched HoTMaiL
  • It became one of the first email services to adopt new HTML-based email formatting

1997:

  • Yahoo Mail was launched which gained users by the thousands
  • Microsoft bought HoTMaiL and rebranded it as MSN Hotmail

1998:

  • The word “Spam” entered the Oxford English Dictionary following its growth in the 1990s
  • Data protection act made email opt-out compulsion

2003:

  • Can-Spam law was introduced in the United States
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations were introduced in Europe

2004:

  • Google’s popular email service, Gmail was announced to the public
  • Gmail was used internally for several years before releasing it to the public
  • AOL offers ESPs with feedback on spamming
  • Multimedia emails are introduced

2005:

  • A standard of authentication called Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) was released to prevent email spoofing and phishing

2007:

  • Apple’s first iPhone began to introduce mobile email to the consumer

2008:

  • Barack Obama was the first president to use email on mobile phone

2011:

  • The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook changes “e-mail” to “email”

2019:

  • Total of 294 billion emails were sent out and received in 2019
  • Nearly 42% of emails opened on a smartphone or a tablet

Today:

  • 9 billion email users worldwide
  • 59 billion active email accounts
  • Gmail has over 1.5 billion active user accounts globally
  • Email users are predicted to reach 4.4 billion in 2023

Source: Radicati, Computer History Museum, Computer World, Wikipedia, Statista



blank
Author: Robert Duke
Robert Duke is a Marketing Manager at Blue Mail Media. With over 10 years of experience across B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, and brand marketing, Duke has helped several SMBs and large-scale organizations to elevate their marketing strategies.
Lance Rogers, Consultant