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Email Turns 50, LISTSERV is 35

Email Stays Relevant, Widely Used for Our Everyday Business and Personal Communications.

Bethesda (June 21, 2021) – Half a century ago, in 1971, Ray Tomlinson invented email using the @ sign to separate the username and destination server, "user@host". The first networked email system was born. From that point onward, people could send messages on the network of that time, ARPANET.


Fast-forward 15 years to Paris, France, and the introduction of BITNET, aka, "Because It's Time Network". The World Wide Web was yet to be invented by Tim Berners-Lee, yet the nets of the moment were busy. People exchanged email and chat text messages frequently despite minimal bandwidth.

Mailing lists existed on LISTSERV@BITNIC, but they required manual administration.


As mailing lists grew to be more popular, the manual system became burdensome to maintain.

This sparked Eric Thomas, then an engineering student in Paris, to invent LISTSERV software, to automate mailing lists once and for all – and save bandwidth, too. From then on, the Internet culture

of communications and knowledge exchange could continue to flourish.

The first version of LISTSERV software, called Revised LISTSERV at the time, was released in June 1986. It's the same LISTSERV® software today, with the first spam filter, double opt-in subscription confirmation and many more innovations and features continuously added throughout its 35 years and beyond.

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Eric Thomas released automated LISTSERV software in June 1986

About L-Soft

L-Soft is the exclusive provider of LISTSERV® email list technology and related services for global digital communications. Organizations across all sectors rely on L-Soft's permission email solutions to manage email newsletters, announcement lists, discussion groups and email communities. Invented by L-Soft Founder and CEO Eric Thomas in 1986, LISTSERV pioneered automated email list management and remains the de facto industry standard. In 2021, L-Soft celebrates the 35th anniversary of LISTSERV.

L-Soft Press Contact


Susan Brown Faghani

L-Soft Public Relations