A chain letter in its most basic form consists of a list of x persons. You're expected to send anything to the person at the top of the list. Then you take the top person off the list, moving the second person to the top, yourself to the bottom, and make copies of the letter to mail to your pals. The chain continues until it's ended when all the people on the list refuse to continue.
People started sending money instead. Now there are companies that will send goods to everyone on the list for you. It's still a chain letter as no one wants to be last person on the list so they'll still send things to everyone even if they can't be sent to them cashally anymore.
You can say that email is becoming the new chain letter. Email chains are used by marketers to promote their products or services by sending out promotional emails with a link included that when clicked leads to more emails being sent out.
There are two ways to include a link in an email message. Either way, when someone clicks on the link they will be taken to another page on the website where they can complete some action. The first method is to include a link in the body of your email message. When the recipient opens this type of link they will see the other page directly within the email program.
A chain letter is a type of correspondence in which the recipient is encouraged to transmit the letter to a number of individuals in exchange for a reward or punishment for breaking the chain. For almost a century, people have exchanged chain letters. The first known example is from 1935 and is known as the "Prosperity Club" or "Send-a-Dime" letters. It is estimated that more than 100 million chain letters have been sent since then.
The popularity of chain letters explains their widespread presence in ancient documents. A famous example is the Greek manuscript Prorokos Vellias, which dates back to about AD 600. In it are descriptions of rituals performed by priests to obtain money, health, or fertility. The book also contains a section of letters that can be sent to members of the community in exchange for money, food, or clothing. These letters are called "prosperity letters" because they promised recipients good luck if they followed the instructions.
Even though prosperity letters were used in many other cultures over the years, they reached China only in 1810. By then they had become extremely popular there and many different versions of them were circulating. One version instructed readers to write letters to 19 friends, giving them 19 pieces of gold. Another one required its recipients to send 19 letters to 19 different people within nineteen days or a tragic event would befall someone.
In America, chain letters first became popular in the mid-1930s.
Chain letters are communications sent to a large number of persons with the request that each receiver forward them to as many additional people as possible. While some may be funny or provided for fun by the original sender, others may include concealed hazards to your internet security—viruses, phishing efforts, and so on.
They often involve requests that read like horoscopes because they are based on the idea that everyone has an individual destiny just like everyone's daily horoscope. The letter will usually claim to reveal this destiny through dreams, visions, or some other form of inspiration. It may also include instructions on how to "unlock" its meaning.
People started sending these letters in the early 1990s after a series of viral emails began spreading quickly across college campuses. Although most email chains end when the recipient deletes their message file, some can continue to circulate online if they find their way into spam folders or other bulk mail files.
Many chain letters ask users to send messages under the title "The Future Has Already Been Decided For You," which is exactly what it sounds like: Someone's future has already been decided before it happens. This kind of thinking is common in fortune-telling systems that rely on reading tea leaves, bones, or cards. It also appears in certain religions where faith is needed to receive salvation; people believe that their fates have been determined since birth, without any choice involved.