In the early 1990’s the World Wide Web was still a somewhat new concept, especially to the everyday household, however its growth and raw potential were increasing at an unprecedented rate. One of its many potential benefits included commerce, or how goods and services could be offered to the average person. Jeff Bezos was one of those early internet pioneers who saw that potential.
In 1994 Bezos left his job as Vice-President of the Wall Street firm D.E. Shaw after reading a report that projected annual Web growth to be around 2300 percent. He moved to Seattle, WA to hatch out a business plan for what would eventually become Amazon.com. Bezos’ original plan included 20 different products that he thought would sell well over the internet, which was then dwindled down to just five after careful consideration: Compact discs, computer hardware and software, videos, and books. The website debuted in July 1995 and quickly became the number one book-related site on the web.
Less than two years into operations, Amazon became a publically traded company in 1997, with an IPO (Initial Public Offering) of three Million shares of common stock. The proceeds that were taken from the IPO were used by Bezos to improve the web site’s overall efficiency and user friendliness as well as for kick-starting other programs such as the very popular and successful “Associates” program. The Associates program allowed individuals or “Associates” with their own websites to choose books of interest and place ads for them on their own sites. If the customer wanted to purchase the book they would click the link and then be directed to Amazon.com for the purchase. “Associates” were sent reports on their contribution of sales and made a 3 to 8 percent commission on every book sold through the links placed on their websites.
As the company continued to grow in 1997, Bezos announced in October that Amazon.com would be the first internet retailer to reach the milestone...