Email History, Viral Idea, Project Management Tool

Dear Email Diva,

I was wondering if you knew when the first email campaigns started, in general? Or perhaps an approximate year when the bulk of companies (Fortune 500 and innovative companies) used email as a marketing strategy?

Kirstin Brown-Erwin

Al Copeland Investments

Dear Kristin,

On, Dave Crocker provides a fascinating (well, to true geeks like the Email Diva) history of email. He credits MCI with the first commercial email application in 1988:

"Commercial Email. In 1988, Vinton Cerf arranged for the connection of MCI Mail to the NSFNET through the Corporation for the National Research Initiative (CNRI) for "experimental use", providing the first sanctioned commercial use of the Internet. Shortly thereafter, in 1989, the Compuserve mail system also connected to the NSFNET, through the Ohio State University network.



Online Services. In 1993, the large network service providers America Online and Delphi started to connect their proprietary email systems to the Internet, beginning the large scale adoption of Internet email as a global standard."

When did most companies embrace email? While there were certainly early pioneers, my impression is that widespread commercial use began to pick up steam in the late 1990s. Let's hope that the year 2008 goes down in history as the year "Fortune 500 and innovative companies" finally give email adequate staff, timelines and budgets!

The Email Diva

Dear Email Diva,

Emarketers should position their emails to be "utilized" and then forwarded to someone else. Incorporate into the email something that the recipient can act on and then forward to a friend. (i.e. "Click here for your coupon and while you're at it tell Suzy about this offer"). The results would speak for themselves.

BrownStone Digital, Inc.

Dear George,

Great idea! Thanks!

The Email Diva

Dear Email Diva,

It's a funny thing you recommend using Basecamp. It's a good tool, but it's not integrated with email, so it can be inconvenient for those people who live in email. I spent more than a month looking for a good tool, that would make my project and client management easier and be integrated with email. I'm using now. Check it out.

Dear Daniel,

Thanks for the tip, but I don't understand why you feel Basecamp isn't integrated with email. Once you set up your users, you can send messages to all or some of them with ease. The Email Diva uses it to communicate with fellow board members of the Milwaukee Interactive Marketing Association and finds it invaluable.

I am amazed at complex email projects that are run without a tool to manage contributions, deadlines and updates. Let's work smarter, people, not harder.

Good Luck!

The Email Diva

Send your questions or submit your email for critique to Melinda Krueger, the Email Diva, at All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.

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