Was There Spam in the Days of the Telegraph?

Did people have a problem receiving unsolicited telegrams? Back before the telephone, was there the equivalent of the tele-marketer sending out shotgun telegrams, hoping to get a response?

I can envision some tycoon with a celluloid collar cursing, “I make one donation to the Bull Moose Party, and now all I get is junk telegrams asking for more money!”

Even if the cost was relatively high, somebody must have considered the idea.

Damn, Fear whether it turns out there were spam telegraphs or not, your OP shot the funniest bleeping image in my head. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking milk, or it woulda gone out of my nose.

As for the question, I think the cost was prohibitive. If any people got unsolicited requests for donations, to buy things, etc., I would guess it was only relatively well-known wealthy guys.

Unlike today’s Internet, telegraphs charged by the amount of data you sent. This is why messages were sent in the abbreviated style often referred to as “telegraphese”.

Also, the message didn’t go directly to the recipient; it went to a telegraph office, and then either was held until the person picked it up or was delivered by courier.

Plus, junk mailings are dependant upon mailing lists, and I don’t know if the means for gathering such lists existed in the 19th century. In the 1950’s the credit card (and the first computers for processing credit card data) made such mass mailings practical.

One of the reasons spammers LIKE spam (Unsolicited Bulk Email, or UBE) is because they pay very little for it. The person who sends a telegram pays all of the cost, the receiver might or might not tip the messenger. Thus, spammers wouldn’t be apt to use such a service. However, email lists are cheap and easy to gather and use. The spammer doesn’t care how much he’s clogging the network(s) or if his misaddressed mail bounces, and techs have to clean up the place. Not him! Not money out of HIS pocket! THAT’S why spam is so very popular among pondscum. Please note that most reputable ISPs won’t allow spamming from their domains. So, most spammers use forged address headers. In other words, these guys have already shown that they are willing to break any agreements they make. So I urge everyone to boycott anything that’s spammed to you. Even if you want that product…do you want to buy it from someone that untrustworthy?

Spam is for losers who can’t sell stuff any other way.

I haven’t read it yet, but I just saw a new book in a bookstore window – “The Victorian Internet”, about the uses of the Telegraph. If any book is going o have telegrah "Spam, this is the book.

I’ve heard that Henry Morton Stanley (when he was a reporter, before he met Dr. David Livingstone, and before he became a “Sir”) used to tie up the telegraph lines when reporting from remote locations by sending the works of shakespeare, thereby preventing rival reporters from ther papers from filing their stories, and giving his paper an exclusive. I assume the paper paid for this, and considered it a worthwhile expense.