In 1994, posting commercial ‘spams’ to USENET was still relatively rare, and would generally elicit quite a spirited response from irate newsgroup readers.
One day an article showed up in alt.tasteless called “Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots” whereby a firm purporting to represent Jane Goodall was selling children’s slippers, with the proceeds going to benefit Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program.
I took the opportunity of this unsolicited advertisement to mix it around, poke fun at the folks who sent it, a firm claiming to represent Dr. Jane Goodall, and post it back into alt.tasteless.
Well, the world is a funny place, and it turns out that someone saw my ‘edited’ version of this spam and contacted the Roots and Shoots program to tell them of my posting. As it turns out, the Roots and Shoots program had never authorized any firm to sell children’s slippers on their behalf, and not only was the spam a spam, it was using the Roots and Shoots name illegally. In short order, the firm was debunked and cease-and-desisted, and life went on. My article scrolled off into /dev/null on USENET, but I archived it for fun.
Then I received this letter in 1997.