Why Is Amazon Called Amazon? (+ Other Interesting FAQs)

Amazon has established itself as one of the leading e-commerce companies in the world, allowing customers to find everything they could ever need.

But if you’re a frequent shopper at Amazon, you may be curious about the company’s start. For example, how did Amazon get its name? I’ve done the research, and here’s everything I found out about Amazon’s company name!

Why Is Amazon Called ‘Amazon’?

Amazon got its name to reflect the idea that the company is much larger and more expansive than its competitors, much like how the Amazon River is the largest river in the world. With that, Amazon’s creator, Jeff Bezos, got the idea for the name after paging through the dictionary’s “A” section.

To learn more about Amazon’s company origins, the previous name of the company, and how Amazon grew so fast, keep on reading!

How Did Amazon Get Its Name?

Amazon’s owner and creator, Jeff Bezos, gave Amazon the name it has today. At the time Amazon was getting off the ground, website listings were shown in alphabetical order.

So, Bezos knew he wanted the company name to start with an “A” to be listed at the top for people searching for books.

With that, Bezos began his naming process by going through the “A” section in the dictionary.

After paging through the dictionary, the word “Amazon” immediately caught Bezos’s attention because it is the largest river in the world.

“This is not only the largest river in the world. It’s many times larger than the next biggest river. It blows all other rivers away,” Bezos said as to why he ultimately landed on Amazon as the company name.

Essentially, Bezos wanted to portray that Amazon would be the world’s largest book and literature provider.

What Was Amazon Originally Called?

Believe it or not, Amazon was not always called “Amazon.” At the start of the company, Bezos called the online bookstore “Cadabra.”

Initially, the company name Cadabra was intended to portray the idea that the site was like magic, as it referenced the word “abracadabra.”

However, Bezos decided the company name had to change because the reference was too obscure for most people to understand.

Also, Bezos noted the words “Cadabra” and “cadaver” sound similar, which he didn’t want.

What Other Potential Names Did Amazon Have?

What Other Potential Names Did Amazon Have?

As Amazon was getting started in the mid-’90s, Bezos considered several names for the company you now know as Amazon.

For example, Bezos and his then-wife, MacKenzie Tuttle, registered various domain names as potential company names. Some of the domain names Bezos registered include:

  • Awake.com
  • Browse.com
  • Bookmall.com
  • Relentless.com

While most of these domain names weren’t used by Bezos, he did keep Relentless.com, and if you use it today, you’ll be redirected to Amazon’s website.

What Kind Of Company Was Amazon Initially?

Currently, Amazon is known for being a one-stop shop, allowing you to find everything from towels to toys to clothes.

However, Amazon didn’t initially start as the e-commerce giant you know it as today. Originally, Amazon only sold books.

The reason Bezos decided to create Amazon as a bookseller was because books aren’t super expensive, there’s a universal demand for books, and there are thousands of books available for sale.

Essentially, Bezos’ original goal was to increase profits by selling as many books as possible at the lowest possible price.

When Did Amazon Get Big?

Compared to most companies, Amazon grew at an exponential rate. For example, after its first full year in operation (in October 1997), it registered one million customer accounts.

With that, Amazon’s revenue jumped from $15.7 to $148 in just one year and then to $610 the year after that (in 1998).

How Did Amazon Grow So Fast?

Many people credit Amazon’s rapid growth to Jeff Bezos’ work ethic.

Several news outlets who’ve interviewed Bezos report him working almost non-stop during the first few years of Amazon’s existence.

In fact, several employees who worked for Amazon at the company’s start reported working 60+ hours a week and that Bezos had no concept of a work-life balance.

Essentially, at the start of Amazon, every employee was expected to eat, breathe, and sleep Amazon.

Clearly, all the diligence and crazy work ethic paid off, as Amazon is one of the largest companies in the entire world.

What Other Companies Does Amazon Own?

As Amazon has grown rapidly over the years, the company continues to acquire other businesses in various market sectors.

For example, Amazon owns companies in the technology, grocery, media, and medicine industries, which reflect the true extent of the company’s size.

While some people find Amazon’s business acquisitions impressive, others attribute it to Bezos’ need-to-win mentality.

Essentially, if Amazon cannot dominate a market, it now has the money to simply buy out the market leader.

With that, some of the business acquisitions Amazon’s made in the past few years include:

  • Whole Foods (bought for $13.7 billion in 2017)
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (bought for $8.5 billion in 2021)
  • Zappos (bought for $1.2 billion in 2020)
  • PillPack (bought for $753 million in 2018)

These are only a few of the many businesses Amazon has bought during the last few years.

If you are looking to learn more about Amazon, you can also see our posts on Amazon’s slogan, Amazon’s target market, and how many countries Amazon operates in.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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