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People are just realising how Amazon got its name – after original ‘creepy’ brand was cancelled

WE’VE all heard of Amazon, but how did it get its name – and was it always called that?

To find out, we need to travel back a few decades to when Amazon first began.


Amazon wasn’t always the name of Jeff Bezos’ online bookstoreCredit: Amazon

What was Amazon originally called?

Albuquerque, New Mexico-born Jeff Bezos is one of the world’s richest humans thanks to Amazon.

But the business started as a simple online bookstore when it was founded way back on July 5, 1994.

Bezos started the company in his garage in Bellevue, Washington.

The company was originally incorporated in Washington state under the name Cadabra, Inc.

It was a play-on-words of the magical word “abracadabra”.

But a few months later, he changed the name after a lawyer misheard it as “cadaver” – yes, a corpse.

How did Amazon get its name?

After ditching the potentially creepy first company name, Bezos began to search for a new brand.

He looked through a dictionary and decided to go with “Amazon”.

Bezos thought the name would be “exotic and different”, just like his online business.

The Amazon River is also the largest river in the world, which Bezos believed fit with his dreams of creating the biggest bookstore globally.

And Amazon also had the benefit of starting with an “A”, which would place it near the top of lists in alphabetical order.

Speaking to Inc in 1997 about the name, he said: “There’s nothing about our model that can’t be copied over time.

“But you know, McDonald’s got copied. And it still built a huge, multibillion-dollar company.

“A lot of it comes down to the brand name. Brand names are more important online than they are in the physical world.”

Now Amazon is one of the world’s most recognisable brand names.

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