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That time Amazon had a social network years before Facebook


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Picture: David Ryder/Getty Photos

It might look like Amazon is suddenly hungry to take over the world, however the firm has been targeted on dominating the web for a really very long time, a reality we had been not too long ago reminded of through a profile on early social networking web site PlanetAll. 

If you happen to’ve by no means heard of PlanetAll, that is as a result of it is one of many few social networks born within the ’90s that got here lengthy earlier than Fb. 

A few years after PlanetAll launched with a objective of connecting family and friends on the web, Amazon acquired the corporate in 1998. Calling one of many options on its web site a “good deal with e-book,” PlanetAll allowed customers to attach with different teams round specific pursuits, provided information updates, horoscopes, and provided a calendar reminder service that labored with the then well-liked Palm Pilot cellular organizer.

Nevertheless, the transfer wasn’t an instance of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos one way or the other having the foresight to make Amazon a social community earlier than Mark Zuckerberg. As an alternative, Amazon’s acquisition was primarily designed to assist Amazon get its books to extra individuals. 

A screenshot of PlanetAll from 1996.

A screenshot of PlanetAll from 1996.

Picture: web archive 

“Portals are an incredible enterprise to be in, but it surely simply does not occur to be our enterprise,” said Bezos following the announcement of the acquisition. “Amazon is and has at all times been targeted on being an ecommerce vacation spot, and that may stay the main focus.”

However because the Timeline profile on PlanetAll notes, Bezos and his staff later realized its mistake and filed a patent utility in 2008 for a ‘social networking system,’ however by then it was too late, a social networking gold rush was already in impact.   

“Portals are an incredible enterprise to be in, but it surely simply does not occur to be our enterprise.”

As for the title of “first social community,” that title belongs to GeoCities, which arrived round a yr earlier than PlanetAll and was finally acquired by Yahoo. You see a development right here? The early gamers in social media that bought out too shortly quickly disappeared beneath a fog of mum or dad firm mechanics, a destiny Fb managed to efficiently keep away from to turn into the world’s largest social community. 

Keep in mind this the subsequent time you suppose again to why Snapchat repeatedly turned down multi-billion greenback acquisition affords in simply the previous few years from Fb. 

However regardless of Bezos’ obvious miss, he could finally have the final snort. From the ever present Amazon Prime, to the Kindle and web equipment Amazon Show, to its rising attain in brick and mortar retail via Whole Foods, it is starting to seem like we’ll all be utilizing Amazon quickly, in a method or one other. 

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