Don't dismiss dot coms

Jeff Bezo’s finally made a profit in the last quarter of 2001.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  January 26, 2002

Jeff Bezo’s finally made a profit in the last quarter of 2001.

While it is by no means the first dot com to actually make money instead of burning it, Amazon is something of a figurehead to the industry, the most recognised brand of the new era, and the news created a quiet satisfaction among dot com proponents.

OK, it has cost billions of dollars to build that brand, the company still owes most of those billions, and there are some that say that the more Amazon sells, the more it loses—what it gains on the margins, it loses on the volumes apparently—but it made a profit and it made record sales of over one billion dollars in the last quarter of 2001 alone.

That is a lot of people who have trusted their credit card numbers to a company that did not exist six years ago, via a technology that most had not even heard of. Amid all the hype about changing the way people shop, Amazon really has delivered.

I must admit to being a big fan of Amazon. Its investment in new technology really shows—the enormous amount of data held by Amazon on each customer has resulted in a service which really can be pertinent and personal.

For example, I was trying to find an old record that I had lost years ago. Not only did a search on Amazon turn up the whole back catalogue of the band in question, but by analysing what customers who had bought those particular albums had also bought, the site was able to suggest half a dozen more records that I had forgotten ever hearing.

A quick shopping trip down memory lane followed, not so good for my bank balance, but great for Amazon’s sales. Amazon has taken the pleasure of rooting about in old book shops and recreated it online—the new economy sometimes delivers.

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