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Amazon is one of the few web sites that really has their act together. In the Fall of 1995, I made a presentation to a group of CEOs about the Internet. I showed them various web sites that I was fascinated with at the time, mostly related to engineering, scientific, government and academic projects. The word e-business had not yet been coined by IBM and there were not many exciting business web sites. One that seemed quite novel though was a site called Amazon.com. I asked for a show of hands from those who had heard of Amazon. Not a single hand went up.

Amazon opened its virtual doors in July 1995 with a mission to “use the Internet to transform book buying into the fastest, easiest, and most enjoyable shopping experience possible”. During the next few years Amazon became very popular and it was hailed as not only the best web site, but also as the new model of how businesses of all kinds would operate. The stock climbed from obscurity to a market capitalization of nearly $50 billion. (See other stories about Amazon in patrickWeb)

Amazon customer service is second to none. In more than a dozen years I have never once heard of a disgruntled customer. The company continues to innovate. The Kindle has been a joy. Many of us have talked about “wrap rage” when it comes to packaging. Amazon is actually doing something about it. Fortunately, Jeff Bezos has small children and has experienced the impossibility of opening toys so he has pressured manufacturers to stop their bad packaging habits and has introduced Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging.

Some years ago I enabled an Amazon Store page here on patrickWeb. If someone buys via a link from the site a small commission is generated. It amounts to less than $50 per year and more than all of it goes to charity. I just like the idea of providing a link to a retailer that I think does a really great job for customers. Forecasters are saying that online sales are not going to be so great this year. Could be, but I would not be surprised to see Amazon beat expectations. They are starting the shopping season aggressively with their Black Friday Sale.