Sunday, August 1

Cadabra, or the dark beginnings of Amazon | Digital Trends Spanish

In July 1994, the concept of Amazon referred mainly to the Amazon River, in Brazil. At that time there was no store that sold products online or anything like that. And in the months after Jeff Bezos decided to create a store on-line To sell books, Amazon literally did not exist either.

The first iteration of Amazon came under another name: Cadabra, which came from Abra Cadabra, the magic word that some magicians still use in their routines. However, Cadabra had a problem: in English, it was easy to confuse it with corpse. In fact, this happened, which triggered the search for a new brand.

At that point, with Cadabra just a few months old, it didn’t matter much if the fledgling company was renamed. Jeff Bezos had several in mind; including Relentless and Amazon. Although both were registered, he finally opted for the second and, more than a grandiose meaning related to the Brazilian river, the reason was more practical: the internet sites were still listed in alphabetical order. Amazon, then, would appear higher than the rest.

The first years of Amazon were dedicated exclusively to the sale of books through the Internet. The reasons, as with the name, were also practical as the books were cheap to sell, there were many available, and the potential reach was great, who doesn’t ever buy a book?

However, that did not prevent Amazon from being far from being successful at an early stage. The company had to use every possible strategy when acquiring inventory, which was sometimes a problem when distributors required a minimum of 10 books to complete an order. When Amazon didn’t need as many books, they simply ordered the ones they needed and filled out the order with products that they knew were out of stock and the distributor couldn’t sell (and therefore charge) to them.

Amazon became a public company in 1997 and the arrival of investors allowed it to expand beyond just books in 1998. Until then, the company was in direct competition with Barnes and Noble, another book giant that had both online and physical sales. . And that competition occurred not only in the field of books, but also in the judicial: while Barnes and Noble alleged that Amazon was not the largest bookstore in the world that it claimed to be, Amazon was suing them again accusing Barnes and Noble to copy your purchasing system with a single click.

Amazon 1995
The first version of Amazon

In parallel, the growth of Amazon in the second decade of the 90s would allow them to acquire other types of businesses, such as the Internet Movie Database, the website that to this day stores information on film or television productions. In those years, Amazon still did not deliver profits to its shareholders, but the income was enough to carry out these operations.

With the perspective that gives the time and in the light of what Amazon is today, it can be argued that the great merit of Jeff Bezos towards the end of the last century was to create Amazon at the right time. In 1994, the Internet was beginning to become widespread in the United States and anyone who wanted to sell products online would not have much competition. Still, nothing was certain, and according to Bezos, the chances of the company failing were high because starting to sell books online from the garage of a rented house might have made more sense in the 1970s.

Although Cadabra’s name went down in history, one of the alternatives to Amazon still remains valid: the domain is active and continues to redirect to Amazon in 2021.

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