Why ‘Relentless.com’ Redirects to Amazon

A sign outside Amazon's Seattle headquarters.
A sign outside Amazon's Seattle headquarters. / David Ryder/Getty Images

When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in July 1994, it wasn’t yet Amazon. Its original name was Cadabra—a nod to the classic magic word Abracadabra.

According to Brad Stone’s book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Bezos wasn’t married to the moniker, and his lawyer Todd Tarbert gave him two compelling reasons to scrap it. For one, people just might not get the reference. Cadabra also sounded a lot like cadaver when spoken, especially over the phone.

So, as Insider reports, the founder and his then-wife MacKenzie Bezos (now MacKenzie Scott) dreamed up alternatives and registered some of the most promising domain names, including Awake.com, Browse.com, and Relentless.com. They didn’t relinquish the domains once they landed on Amazon: To this day, if you type any of those three web addresses into your search bar, you’ll be redirected to the Amazon website. (They also registered Bookmall.com, but it’ll only give you an error message. Bookmall.co.za, on the other hand, will take you to a South African bookselling site.)

Other possibilities were slightly more esoteric—like MakeItSo.com, an earlier suggestion from Bezos’s colleague Jeff Holden that was inspired by the catchphrase of Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard. And Aard.com, from the Dutch word for earth (aarde), which would all but guarantee that Bezos’s company would sit atop any alphabetically arranged list.

Needless to say, Bezos ended up settling on a different A word. He came across Amazon while perusing the dictionary and liked the idea of naming his future retail behemoth after such a colossal body of water.

“This is not only the largest river in the world, it’s many times larger than the next biggest river. It blows all other rivers away,” he said, according to Stone.

[h/t Insider]