View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. What Is
July 14, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 12:53pm

What is spam?

How a Monty Python sketch helped name one of the big internet phenomena.

By Alexander Sword

In a computer context, spam refers to unwanted and unsolicited messages sent via electronic means.

This can include email spam, with most email services coming equipped with a spam filter which automatically removes emails that look suspicious and redirects them into a specific spam folder. The user can then access this folder if necessary.

It can also include spam posted on other websites: for example, bots can be used to post spam into comments sections or forms on the website to boost exposure to unwilling viewers.

One way of solving the spam problem in this context is Captchas, which require a poster to authenticate themselves as a human.

Spam is named after the eponymous foodstuff, the brand of precooked pork that dates back to the 1930s. Spam was lampooned in a Monty Python sketch in the 1970s about a cafe serving only spam, which may have led to its adoption as a byword for something unpleasant and over-abundant.

Content from our partners
DTX Manchester welcomes leading tech talent from across the region and beyond
The hidden complexities of deploying AI in your business
When it comes to AI, remember not every problem is a nail

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
THANK YOU