Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

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Kenkat
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Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by Kenkat » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:54 pm

My oldest son pointed this out to me - Amazon.com has their home page set to an image of their site from 1999 for today.

Pretty amazing to see how far their site and websites in general have evolved since 1999 and the days of Nasdaq 5000. Well, never mind the Nasdaq 5000 thing - I guess not everything changes. :D

Worth checking out.

cherijoh
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by cherijoh » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:04 pm

They also have list of spoof top products.

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camper
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by camper » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:18 pm

Can we get 1999 prices?

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by nisiprius » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:39 pm

The very first time I used Amazon, I accessed it with the LYNX browser (character-based, not graphic). I'm not sure whether or not you could place an order with a credit card online then--I think you could, but I certainly wasn't going to trust it--I telephoned them to give them my credit card number.

I was actually influenced by an endorsement by none other than Bill Gates, who had commented in an interview that he'd used Amazon and found them to be "very reliable."

It was earlier than 1999, I'm thinking maybe 1998, that I became a hero to my daughter who was in college. The college bookstore hadn't ordered enough copies of a textbook and she couldn't get one. I logged onto Amazon with a graphical browser--probably Netscape, possibly with the throbbing "N"--and ordered it from Amazon, with next-day shipping. Seemed like a miracle.

Sometime around then, Bezos gave an interview explaining why Amazon wasn't going to sell anything but books. Books, he explained, were ideal for online sales because the ratio of available titles to the number you could get in a physical bookstore was higher than for any other kind of goods. There were several million books in print, but a bookstore only had room for a few thousand. The ratio for CDs, for example, was much lower.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Kenkat
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by Kenkat » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:00 pm

I am trying to remember when I first placed an order on Amazon.com. I am thinking it was around the 1999-2000 timeframe, but didn't see any way to determine that. I know that by comparison, I have been on eBay since 2001, and I think Amazon probably pre-dates that.

I have an unopened copy of Netscape Navigator 1.1 that my son spotted at a thrift store for $1.99 that we bought as a "historical artifact".

System requirements:

386SX or higher
Windows 3.1
14.4k or higher modem
8MB Ram (that's actually pretty high for the time)
6MB hard disk space

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by nisiprius » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:09 pm

kenschmidt wrote:...I have an unopened copy of Netscape Navigator 1.1 that my son spotted at a thrift store for $1.99 that we bought as a "historical artifact"...
The one I wish I had bought when I had a chance was an unopened box containing a product from Lotus Development Corporation. What was it? Nope. Believe it or not, it was a package of installable add-on fonts for the Apple ][.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by mhc » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:25 pm

Google Maps lets you play Pacman on the map. Pretty cool.

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by etarini » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:56 pm

I just looked up the earliest order that they had on file for me - it was October 26, 1997. And, of course, it was a book. You used to be able to look up everything you bought by year - maybe that will come back after they return to the present.

Eric

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by gkaplan » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:19 pm

The earliest order they have on me is September 20, 1999.
Gordon

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Kenkat
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by Kenkat » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:31 pm

Ah, the scroll down option was not obvious on this newfangled tablet thing...first order May 12,1999.

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by SimonJester » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:36 pm

gkaplan wrote:The earliest order they have on me is September 20, 1999.
I have you beat my earliest was June 25, 1999

I have an un opened copy of MS dos 3.3 I have no idea why Ive kept that all these years. It sits next to my copy of Windows 3.1 which is opened. Ok now which one of you is going to speak up about your work on eniac... :P
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by FedGuy » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:16 pm

I hate to be a curmudgeon, but I was annoyed by the retro site. One of the first things I do every morning is go over to Amazon and check out the free app of the day. In my half-awake, uncaffeinated state this morning, I couldn't find it right away, and had to do a search. It's a minor irritant in the grand scheme of things, but since I hadn't even brushed my teeth yet, it was hard to have a sense of humor about it.

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by poker27 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:54 pm

I remember back in grade school we had to pick a stock to 'invest' in for our economics class (or whatever it was). We picked Amazon, well this guy in my group did, I had no idea what it was. This must have been 97-98. I have no clue what the price was back then, but I'd imagine we would have done well for ourselves if it was real money

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by mudfud » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:40 pm

This thread made me look up my first amazon purchase. It was August 1st, 1996: an order of 4 books. Can't believe it has been almost 2 decades!
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by FedGuy » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:14 am

poker27 wrote:I remember back in grade school we had to pick a stock to 'invest' in for our economics class (or whatever it was). We picked Amazon, well this guy in my group did, I had no idea what it was. This must have been 97-98. I have no clue what the price was back then, but I'd imagine we would have done well for ourselves if it was real money
I feel old.

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by nisiprius » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:24 am

mudfud wrote:This thread made me look up my first amazon purchase. It was August 1st, 1996: an order of 4 books. Can't believe it has been almost 2 decades!
You beat me.

Image

There was also a period of time, before my first purchase, when I just used Amazon as an online copy of Books In Print. I'd look 'em up on Amazon, then order them at a regular bookstore. Hard to believe there was ever a time when bookstores were cannibalizing Amazon and not the other way around.

If Amazon didn't invent the "shopping cart," it was certainly among the pioneers. I remember the first time I saw that presentation and thinking how clever and easy it was. And I remember being amazed by the various confirmation emails ("you book has shipped") and thinking how nice it was to get those progress updates.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by bertilak » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:02 am

My account shows earliest order as:
Image

$24.92 - $20.97 = $3.95 shipping. No taxes then. No Prime membership either.

This order was probably done with Netscape under SuSE Linux because back then that was what I was working on. At the time I ordered many Linux and programming books.

For jollies, I clicked on "Return or Replace Items." I got the message
  • We're Sorry.
    There was a problem with your request
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by M_to_the_G » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:55 am

It was extremely annoying
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Re: Amazon.com Goes Retro (1999) for April Fool's

Post by batpot » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:08 pm

Sep 18th, 1999: "Data Structures & Algorithms in Java with CDROM (Mitchell Waite Signature)" ...it's still available:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157169 ... UTF8&psc=1

That class made me NOT become a software developer. :|

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