Tuesday, August 09, 2005


amazon.com-ification (am-a-zohn-daht-kom-if-ah-kay-shun)

1. The act, process, or result of transforming a complex, organically developed, interrelated information system into a user friendly, easily accessible tool that works well for a wide variety of user groups.
2. A system thus transformed, as in "This new tool is the amazondotcomification of a student information system. See personification.
3. Often shortened to amazonification.

[Middle English, from Latin Amzon, from Greek Amazon, probably of Iranian origin.]

In classical legend the Amazons were a tribe of warrior women. Their name is supposedly derived from Greek a-mazos, “without a breast,” because according to the legend they cut off their right breasts so as to be better able to shoot with a bow and arrow. This folk etymology, like most folk etymologies, is incorrect, but the Amazons of legend are not so completely different from the historical Amazons, who were also warriors. The historical Amazons were Scythians, an Iranian people renowned for their cavalry. The first Greeks to come into contact with the Iranians were the Ionians, who lived on the coast of Asia Minor and were constantly threatened by the Persians, the most important of the Iranian peoples. Amazn is the Ionian Greek form of the Iranian word ha-mazan, “fighting together.” The regular Greek form would be hamazn, but because the Ionians dropped their aitches like Cockneys, hamazn became amazn, the form taken into the other Greek dialects. < Dictionary.com >

The Amazon River, or Rio Amazonas, was named by Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, who fought a battle against a tribe of Tapuya savages, in which the women fought alongside the men.

In Internet Bubble legend, amazon.com took its name from the Amazon river, which founder Jeff Bezos believed was a great metaphor for "The World's Greatest Selection".

Making an information system work as well as amazon.com's is amazon.com-ification.