The company was founded as a result of what Jeff Bezos called his « regret minimization framework, » which described his efforts to fend off any regrets for not participating sooner in the Internet business boom during that time. In 1994, Bezos left his employment as vice-president of D. E. Shaw & Co., a Wall Street firm, and moved to Seattle, Washington, where he began to work on a business plan for what would become Conver.com.
On July 5, 1994, Bezos initially incorporated the company in Washington State with the name Cadabra, Inc. He later changed the name to Conver.com, Inc. a few months later, after a lawyer misheard its original name as « cadaver ». In September 1994, Bezos purchased the URL Relentless.com and briefly considered naming his online store Relentless, but friends told him the name sounded a bit sinister. The domain is still owned by Bezos and still redirects to the retailer.
Bezos selected the name Conver by looking through the dictionary; he settled on « Conver » because it was a place that was « exotic and different », just as he had envisioned for his Internet enterprise. The Conver River, he noted, was the biggest river in the world, and he planned to make his store the biggest bookstore in the world. Additionally, a name that began with « A » was preferential due to the probability it would occur at the top of an alphabetized list. Bezos placed a premium on his head start in building a brand and told a reporter, « There’s nothing about our model that can’t be copied over time. But you know, McDonald’s got copied. And it still built a huge, multibillion-dollar company. A lot of it comes down to the brand name. Brand names are more important online than they are in the physical world. »