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.
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.
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Color and black-and-white versions attached.
Following is a text-only version of this graphic, which
includes several, additional little-known Amazon.com facts for
use in editorial coverage.
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.
For more information, contact Kristin Schaefer at 206/266-7180, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
-- IPO -- Amazon.com appears on the NASDAQ as AMZN(a)
-- 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
-- Instant gratification reaches new heights: 1-Click(R)shopping
-- Lucky customer wins law school on us, in contest celebrating
publication of John Grisham's The Street Lawyer.
-- 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)
-- Vice President Al Gore drops by. Works customer service phone
queues. Looks spiffy in headset. Doesn't do a bad job, at
-- Amazon.com announces its 1997 bestseller list, a cool mix of
fiction, design and technology titles.
-- 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)
-- Amazon.com acquires the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). There
is much rejoicing.
-- 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:
-- Drumroll, please: Amazon Music opens for business.(a)
-- 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.
-- Amazon Auctions opens, bringing virtual, gavel-dropping fun to
-- 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
-- All New York Times bestseller list titles are discounted to 50
percent, everyday (and they still are).
-- 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.
-- 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
-- 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
-- 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
-- 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
-- Amazon.com has now shipped 20 million items to 150 countries
-- 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.
-- 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
-- Amazon Lawn and Patio opens. Buying online gives customers
more time to enjoy both lawns and patios.
-- Calling all cooks! Amazon Kitchen is open for business.
-- 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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