December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

King of the jungle

In the e-retailing jungle, one roar is heard above the rest. Beneath the flowing mane rests the face of Amazon.com.

Amazon’s revenue jumped from $964 million during the first nine months of 1999 to $1.78 billion for that period this year. And the company has been attaching its name to nearly every retail category-boasting more than 28 million unique items. For example, Amazon struck a deal in August with Toys R Us to be that company’s online arm. It is also pumping money into other pure-plays. “Amazon set the gold standard for all other consumer sites,” says Analyst Keven Wilder, of Chicago-based Wilder and Associates. And although its sales are increasing, so is its debt. To be the true leader, Amazon will have to show that it can make money, she says. “The deficit numbers for Amazon are Amazonian.” Operating losses for Q3 were $68 million, down from $79 million in that quarter in 1999.

A run through the site’s gift search feature shows the extent of its reach. By entering the search topic “stained glass,” visitors are shown how-to books and videos (both new and used from its auction), tools for making stained glass, children’s craft kits and stained glass items for sale. Through all its investments and partnership agreements, Amazon is moving ever closer to being a one-stop shopping site. Amazon often machetes its way through the unexplored areas of Internet retailing. This past summer it sold Stephen King’s new book as an online only product. Installments of the book could only be bought at and downloaded from Amazon.

Amazon lords over the Gomez Advisors’ scorecards, leading nearly every category in which it appears. Whether it’s books, music, video or electronics, Amazon consistently ranks on top. And with rare exception, that consistency carried over to Gomez’s subcategories on the various scorecards.

Amazon.com

Seattle, Wash.

Monthly visitors: 19 million*

Sales: $1.78 billion through Q3

Went live: July 1995

Design by: In-house & Sapient

OS: N/A

E-C Software: N/A

*source: PC Data

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