Jeff Bezos is filling the newspaper articles, partially due to his private love life and partially due to the fact that what he started was one of the most successful companies nowadays. With its 244 million regular customers, Amazon revolutionized the way we think about shopping. It truly proved to be “the everything store”. Join us on the tour of remembering 1994 and the Amazon’s History.
It has been 25 years since Mr. Bezos started his company from his garage in Seattle. Today, we are recalling some of the circumstances surrounding the Internet at that time. We all witnessed, and the rare ones participated in the beginning of these magnificent Internet times.
Almost no one had access to the Internet
It has been estimated that 0,45% of the world population had access to the Internet in 1994. Imagine starting an online business at that point. Naturally, the percentage was increasing each year. Following year, the number of Internet users was 0,78% of the world population.
On the other hand, building a web site costs amounted to approximately $120.
The White House did not have a web page in the Summer of 1994 when Amazon was launched. They got involved in November that year with the first version of the official web page.
The Internet Access Was Slow and Expensive
In the summer of 1994, accessing Internet from home was charged $19.95 for the first 5 hours. Each subsequent hour cost was $3.00.
Additionally, the connection was incredibly slow comparing to the current one. Furthermore, the web pages were quite simple. Apparently, the users were not in a focus. Web sites were there solely to have your company registered, so you could say that your company is present online. However, having in mind the fact that in 1994 we still did not have smart or android phones, there was no need to build responsive sites, accessible anywhere, anytime. Design was quite simple and unbelievably funny from today’s point of view. As a quick reminder, you can check out the following archived web pages of Apple (1997.), Microsoft (1994.), and Yahoo (1996.)
CDs and Transfer of Files
Do you recall floppy disks and CDs? For the younger readers, we feel the need to explain that there was no other way to transfer a file from one computer to another than to download the file from a computer to a disk, and then from a disk to another computer. The speed of transfer was up to several hundred bits per second. The disks had the capacity of 1.44MB. If you do not know how the floppy disk looked like, imagine a bigger, thin “save” icon.
That year, 1994., Microsoft announced they would stop selling MS-DOS. We can bet that many people have never even heard of it.
Internet Advertising and Domain Names
Online advertising came much later. In 1994, only a month prior to the establishment of Amazon, the first e-newsletters were sent. Banners followed later in the process. Online adds were scarce. Hence, entire industries looked differently.
Up to 1995, anyone was able to register a domain free of charge. After the involvement of big players, the situation changed drastically.
Search Engines Were Basic
When it comes to Search Engines, almost everything that we use today did not exist back in 1994. The first Netscape search engine was launched in late 1994. To be completely clear: there was software for surfing the net, but no Google Chrome, Mozilla, Edge, Opera, etc.
A year after Amazon was launched, eBay appeared. Naturally, the issue of payments arises. Remember this was a time before PayPal and similar companies were established. This was truly a challenge. The solution came in the form of a check. Yes, a check! Namely, the buyers needed to write a check and send it out before receiving a product.
Interesting Facts About 1994
The interesting fact about Amazon is that Jeff Bezos planned to call it www.MakeItSo.com. The idea did not sustain, as the name “Amazon” fitted more practically having in mind that lists for web links were originally alphabetized. Moreover, the name of the largest river in the world and its “flow” was a nice context to exploit.
In 1994 the biggest music hits were “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz 2 Men, “I will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, “Hero” by Mariah Carey. The movie hits included “Forrest Gump” and “Pulp Fiction”. The WonderBra was invented to the excitement of both men and women. The Playstation was invented that same year taking young and old by storm.
What were you doing in 1994?