It’s hard to imagine that Amazon wasn’t called “Amazon,” but that wasn’t the first name chosen by Jeff Bezos before his company became the global e-commerce giant, as well as a hardware maker, media distributor, retailer, of ebooks and parent of Amazon Web Services, a service that was born in support of Amazon.com and today is a leading cloud computing company.
The first name of Bezos’s company when he moved it to Seattle in 1994 was a far cry from what we finally know. The name chosen was “Cadabra, Inc.“, orA reference to “abracadabra” to suggest that using the store would work like magic, sAccording to what they say in the bookThe Everything Store” by American journalist Brad Stone, which is considered to be one of the most comprehensive biographies of the founder and of the company that made one of the first and biggest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we read and shop.
“Cadabra” didn’t stick around for long. Just a few months after the move to Seattle, a company lawyer misheard the name as “corpse” and upon hearing Bezos decided to look for a new name. The executive and his wife bet on relentless.com, but the chronicles say that he sounded too “hostile.” Other names that were considered at the time were “Awake.com” and “browser.com.” These three brand names still redirect to Amazon.com.
Before Google Search completely dominated Internet search, being at the top of alphabetical lists mattered a lot. That was what led Bezos to come up with another name for his company: “Aard.” But he wasn’t the one who stayed either.
Finally, the executive pulled out the dictionary and liked “amazon” because it sounded “exotic and different”. Amazon is not only the name of a tropical rainforest, but also the largest river in the world. Remember that at the time the company was essentially a book seller, but Bezos planned to turn it into the world’s largest online bookstore. His visionary founder wasn’t content with just being a bookseller and he wanted Amazon to become the one-stop-shop for everything, offering limitless and enticing selection at disruptively low prices.
To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that Stone has tried to decipher in a book where he talks about many curiosities and the name of the company. Bezos felt that the brand was important to his company and he thought about it many times until he chose the final one that has come this far. The rest is history. Millions of people still buy e-books on Amazon.com, but today it’s only a small part of everything it sells. Not to mention the services and that AWS that by itself is already a great company leading global cloud computing.