Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

25 facts you may not know about Amazon

The e-commerce company was funded under the name 'Cadabra'. Credit: PA/AP

Amazon is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Friday and the groundbreaking company has certainly had its fair share of highs and lows.

Here's 25 facts you may not know about the world's leading e-commerce company, from the origin of its name to how one glitch cost them millions:

  • Amazon.com was launched in Jeff Bezos' garage

It was created on July 5, 1994 and launched from Jeff Bezos's garage.

The e-commerce company was funded under the name "Cadabra", a shortened Abracadabra.

  • Jeff's adopted father Miguel funded the first $300,000
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with his father Miguel Bezos (right). Credit: AP

Amazon was funded thanks to a $300,000 cheque from Jeff's adopted father Miguel 'Mike' Bezos, a Cuban immigrant who had met Jeff's mother when Jeff was four.

The money was part of their retirement savings.

  • The company is Relentless

Bezos' second choice of name was Relentless.

If you type in relentless.com today it will still forward you to Amazon's homepage.

  • Is Amazon named after the South American river?
The second longest river in the world, the Amazon, located in South America. Credit: AP

Amazon was named for its suggestion of scale (the second longest river in the world, and largest volume of water) but also because it appears early in the alphabet list.

The name changed a year later to "Amazon" after realising the original name's phonic resemblance to the word cadaver

  • Amazon has been sued by a large American retailer

Amazon launched as "the Earth's biggest bookstore", a claim which saw it sued by US book giant Barnes and Nobles.

The two sides settled out of court and Amazon kept the claim.

A Barnes and Noble bookshop in the US. Credit: AP
  • First logo

The first logo had a water texture.

  • First book to sell on Amazon

The first book to sell - on April 3, 1995 - was Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies, by Douglas Hofstadter.

The science book on computer modelling is still available on Amazon.

  • Amazon's expansion after first four years in the business
The logo changed with the new curved arrow. Credit: AP

In 1998, Amazon's expanded to 'Books, Music & More'.

The logo changed to the web address and a curved gold line.

  • Jeff Bezos becomes known to the world in Time magazine

Jeff Bezos was named Time magazine's Person of the Year in 1999.

  • Just 1-click

Amazon owns the 1-click trademark, patenting it in September 1999. It expired in the US on September 11, 2017.

In 2000 the logo was adapted again with the gold line turned into a smiling arrow picking out the a to z

"And you're done" gets added to the logo in 2002.

  • 2004 marks a big year for the company

It was the first year Amazon recorded an annual net profit for the first time.

It was also the same year Bezos emailed staff, telling them PowerPoint presentations were banned from team meetings as a way of sharing ideas.

Instead he said ideas must be outlined in four to six page "narrative" documents, which team members would be able read before asking questions.

  • Amazon follows in the footsteps of Sony
The kindle is very similar to the Sony Reader. Credit: AP

Amazon Kindle sold out within five and a half hours when it was released on November 19, 2007 in the US for $399.

It followed the release of the Sony Librie and Sony Reader first electronic book reader.

The Kindle's original name was going to be Fiona. 'Project Fiona' was the code name for the e-reader.

  • Amazon's glitch cost them millions

The Amazon site went down for 40 minutes in August 2013.

The glitch cost the e-commerce company $4.8 million.

  • Amazon branches out from online
Customer Kirsty Carey makes the first purchase in an Amazon bookstore in 2015. Credit: AP

In 2015 Amazon opened its first actual physical bookstore in Seattle at a shopping centre near the University of Washington.

  • The workplace culture has been questioned

Amazon's workplace culture has been brought into question.

The New York Times has described it as "bruising", reporting the giant firm was "conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers" in 2015.

  • Amazon keeps tabs on its workers
Amazon’s idea treats employees like robots. Credit: US Patent and Trademark Office

Amazon patented a tracking device to keep a tab on workers.

  • Animals live at Amazon HQ

An estimated 40,000 of Amazon's 300,000 worldwide workforce live in Seattle, where the company's headquarters are based.

The Seattle HQ also houses 6,000 dogs and a dog park.

Pedestrians walk near the Amazon Spheres in Seattle. Credit: AP
  • Amazons sell some odd things

Live ladybugs are among the oddest things you can buy on Amazon.

But you can't buy houses, cars, cigarettes or animals.

  • UK money goes to Luxembourg

Most of the UK money spent on Amazon has gone to low-tax Luxembourg - though a 2015 restructuring sees some taxes on profits returned to the UK.

  • Amazon owns Whole Foods

Amazon bought Whole Foods in June 2017 for $13.7 billion.

It joined audio-book seller Audible, book review website GoodReads and live-streaming platform Twitch within the Amazon stable of firms.

Amazon owns more than 40 subsidiaries and brands.

  • Bezos could be the world's first trillionaire

Forbes named Jeff Bezos as the richest person on earth in July 2017.

He has now overtaken Bill Gates and is projected to be the world's first trillionnaire.

  • Huge tax

Amazon paid £61.7m in corporation tax in two decades in the UK.

This was noted to being less than M&S pays in a year.

  • Earnings

Amazon has surpassed £7 billion in UK turnover in 20 years.

  • Are the workers robots?

Workers have been given 'Robotic Tech Vests' to prevent robots from bumping into them, according to reports.

  • Amazon Prime used by more than 100 million in the US

There are 101 million Amazon Prime devices being used in the US.