Press Release

<< Back Celebrates Fifth Anniversary; Timeline Illustrates Milestones and Little Known Facts About Leading Online Retailer's First Five Years

July 12, 2000--


       Five years ago this week, Jeff Bezos launched -- a
        small online book retailer -- from his garage. The company's
        mission? Leverage the Internet to transform book buying into
        the fastest, easiest and most enjoyable online shopping
        experience, while becoming the Earth's most customer-centric
        company. Today is the world's leading online
        retailer, whose customer-centric mission includes being the
        place to find and discover anything (with a capital "A") one
        wants to buy online.

       The company's customer base and product offerings have
        exploded since the early days ... and is today
        recognized as a pioneer in changing the way people shop. The
        proliferation of the Internet and e-commerce has raised the
        customer experience bar, shifting power from the retailer to
        the customer. has believed in and supported this
        evolution since it opened it virtual doors in 1995.

   Graphic:'s five year history includes numerous well- and
        little-known milestones, ranging from ground-breaking
        e-commerce developments to funny, behind the scenes anecdotes.
        Here are just a few of the highlights that have helped build's 20+ million customer base.

   Recommended usage size: Minimum of 6" wide.
   Color and black-and-white versions attached.

   Text Only:
       Following is a text-only version of this graphic, which
        includes several, additional little-known facts for
        use in editorial coverage.

   Notes: currently lists more than 18 million unique items
        in categories such as books, CDs, toys, electronics, videos,
        DVDs, tools and hardware, lawn and patio items, kitchen
        products, software and video games, as well as auctions.
        zShops, and electronic greeting cards.

For more information, contact Kristin Schaefer at 206/266-7180,

Five years of

July 1995

-- opens for business. Systems beep every time

customer places an order. Constant beeping drives employees

nuts. Beeper disabled. Orders, thankfully, continue.

-- By month's end, books shipped to all 50 states in the U.S. and

45 countries worldwide.

September 1995

-- Seattle Yellow Pages listing under "bookstores" results in

customers trying to place orders by phone. We were kind of

hoping they'd use the Web site. We don't renew the listing.(a)

October 1995

-- First 100-order day. (First 100-order hour comes less than a

year later. One hundred-order minutes are common today).(a)

November 1995

-- Moved Web site to new office in back seat of chief

programmer's Honda. Site down for just 20 minutes.

July 1996

-- Associates Program launched. First Associate is

        Pure-bred PuppyNet. Most common response in
        the office: "awwww..." (Today, there are more than 450,000 Associates.)(a)

   May 1997

    --  IPO -- appears on the NASDAQ as AMZN(a)

   July 1997

    --  Forty-four Amazonians co-author online short story with John
        Updike, who pens the opening and closing paragraphs. editors go cross-eyed reading through thousands of
        entries daily.

   September 1997

    --  Instant gratification reaches new heights: 1-Click(R)shopping
        introduced. (a)

    --  Lucky customer wins law school on us, in contest celebrating
        publication of John Grisham's The Street Lawyer.

   October 1997

    --  One-millionth customer places order. It's hand-delivered to
        Japan by Jeff Bezos. Package contains Windows NT manual and
        Kitty Kelly's Princess Di biography.(a)

   November 1997

    --  Vice President Al Gore drops by. Works customer service phone
        queues. Looks spiffy in headset. Doesn't do a bad job, at

   January 1998

    -- announces its 1997 bestseller list, a cool mix of
        fiction, design and technology titles.

   February 1998

    --  The little guy gets a leg up as Advantage launches,
        leveling the playing field for independent publishers.
        (Program now includes music and video.) (a)

   April 1998

    -- acquires the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). There
        is much rejoicing.

   May 1998

    --  Garry Trudeau joins with customers to pen the first
        collaborative online comic strip, The People's Doonsbury Thousands enter panel captions daily. The outcome
        is a good giggle, if we do say so:

   June 1998

    --  Drumroll, please: Amazon Music opens for business.(a)

   October 1998

-- We're international! and open. (a)

-- Stephen King stops by to sign few copies of Bag of Bones. A

Corgi-owner himself, King writes a lovely inscription in one

book to the original company pooch, a Corgi named Rufus.

November 1998

-- We're ready for our closeup, DeMille: Amazon Video & DVD

opens. (a)

December 1998

-- More than 1 million new customers shop during the

        holiday season. Employees from every department in the company
        work 'round-the-clock -- wrapping, packing and shipping orders
        to insure they'll be delivered in time for the holidays.

   March 1999

    --  Amazon Auctions opens, bringing virtual, gavel-dropping fun to
        homes worldwide.

   April 1999

    --  Amazon E-cards launches, based on the belief that if cards
        were free, the world would be a better place. Woof, the waving
        English Bulldog, quickly pulls to the head of the e-cards

   May 1999

    --  All New York Times bestseller list titles are discounted to 50
        percent, everyday (and they still are).

   June 1999

    --  Ten-millionth customer served. Customer population is now
        equivalent to the population of Greece. The order? A set of
        golf clubs, purchased via Amazon Auctions.

    -- becomes first Internet retailer to offer free
        digital music downloads to customers with offerings from Lyle
        Lovett and Randy Newman to Sarah McLachlan and Public Enemy.

   July 1999

    --  Amazon Toys opens for business. Customers' Slinky needs,
        thankfully, are met.(a)

    --  Amazon Electronics opens for business, quickly upping the
        number of Pilots in the world's palms.

    --  A welcome pop cultural embrace: is the answer to a
        Jeopardy question and a punch line in a Jay Leno monologue

   September 1999

    --  Amazon zShops launches, enabling anyone to offer merchandise
        for sale at, be they micro- or major manufacturers,
        small businesses or global corporations, specialized retailers
        or "mega-conglomerates".

   November 1999

    --  Four new stores join the family: Software, Video
        Games, Gift Ideas and Tools and Hardware. Finally -- we
        provide customers with the tools they need to build shelves
        for all the stuff they've been buying from us!

    -- launches its Wishlist service. Countless customers
        get presents they actually want for the holidays. Harmony

    -- launches, bringing authenticated art and
        collectibles to our auction experience. First offerings
        include Austin Powers' Spy Who Shagged Me Time Machine and
        salvaged treasure from the "Ship of Gold," the SS Central

   December 1999

    -- has now shipped 20 million items to 150 countries
        worldwide. (a)

    --  Eight-o-clock p.m., 12/23. Deluxe Scrabble set ordered. It
        arrives in Honolulu the next day.

    --  Jeff Bezos is chosen as Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

   January 2000

    --  Customers smile. New logo smiles back.(a)

    --  You ain't heard nothin' yet: and Audible, Inc. team
        up to provide customers with spoken-word content

   April 2000

    --  Amazon Lawn and Patio opens. Buying online gives customers
        more time to enjoy both lawns and patios.

   May 2000

    --  Calling all cooks! Amazon Kitchen is open for business.

   July 2000

    -- celebrates fifth anniversary! Twenty million
        customers now served -- and we're ready for more!

(a) = Appears on timeline graphic

Note to editors: The URL under the May 1998 section has been broken up to fit.

Note: A Photo is available at URL:

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