Columbia University Computing History

Milestones in the Annals of Junkmail

Web pages are a great source of postal addresses for direct mailers. Judging by some of the addresses we've seen recently, it's evident that the data is sometimes harvested not by humans, but by computer programs that scan web pages for names and addresses. Several weeks ago we (the Kermit Project at Columbia University) announced a new release of our Kermit 95 communication software for Windows -- SSH, secure FTP, etc; cousin of C-Kermit for Unix. Since this was a major release, we chose a new icon for it: the Columbia crown. A web page explained that this is the emblem of Columbia University: the crown of King George II of England (1727-1760), who founded Columbia in 1754. JUST ONE WEEK LATER guess who received a postcard from Dell . . .

junk-mail postcard

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The Kermit Project / Columbia University / kermit@columbia.edu / 8 July 2002