|Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com -- 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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com 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. Amazon.com has believed in and supported this evolution since it opened it virtual doors in 1995. Graphic: Amazon.com'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 Amazon.com'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 Amazon.com facts for use in editorial coverage. Notes: Amazon.com 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.
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Five years of Amazon.com
-- Amazon.com 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.
-- 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)
-- First 100-order day. (First 100-order hour comes less than a
year later. One hundred-order minutes are common today).(a)
-- Moved Web site to new office in back seat of chief
programmer's Honda. Site down for just 20 minutes.
-- Associates Program launched. First Amazon.com Associate is
Pure-bred PuppyNet. www.puppynet.com. Most common response in the office: "awwww..." (Today, there are more than 450,000 Amazon.com Associates.)(a) May 1997 -- IPO -- Amazon.com 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. Amazon.com 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 all.(a) January 1998 -- Amazon.com announces its 1997 bestseller list, a cool mix of fiction, design and technology titles. February 1998 -- The little guy gets a leg up as Amazon.com Advantage launches, leveling the playing field for independent publishers. (Program now includes music and video.) (a) April 1998 -- Amazon.com acquires the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). There is much rejoicing. May 1998 -- Garry Trudeau joins with Amazon.com customers to pen the first collaborative online comic strip, The People's Doonsbury @amazon.com. Thousands enter panel captions daily. The outcome is a good giggle, if we do say so: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/subst/promotions /doonesbury/doonesbury-home.html/). June 1998 -- Drumroll, please: Amazon Music opens for business.(a) October 1998
-- We're international! Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de 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.
-- We're ready for our closeup, DeMille: Amazon Video & DVD
-- More than 1 million new customers shop Amazon.com 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 pack.(a) 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. -- Amazon.com 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: Amazon.com is the answer to a Jeopardy question and a punch line in a Jay Leno monologue joke. September 1999 -- Amazon zShops launches, enabling anyone to offer merchandise for sale at Amazon.com, be they micro- or major manufacturers, small businesses or global corporations, specialized retailers or "mega-conglomerates". November 1999 -- Four new stores join the Amazon.com 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! -- Amazon.com launches its Wishlist service. Countless customers get presents they actually want for the holidays. Harmony reigns. -- Sothebys.amazon.com 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 America. December 1999 -- Amazon.com 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: Amazon.com and Audible, Inc. team up to provide Amazon.com customers with spoken-word content online. 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 -- Amazon.com celebrates fifth anniversary! Twenty million customers now served -- and we're ready for more! (a) = Appears on timeline graphic
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