Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: obidos ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: obidos
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: gw3tja-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 18 Nov 2005 13:52 PST
Expires: 18 Dec 2005 13:52 PST
Question ID: 594885
Why does the term 'obidos' seem to form part of most Amazon pages? An
example is
Does obidos have a meaning (I know about the town in Portugal...)
Subject: Re: obidos
Answered By: emjay-ga on 18 Nov 2005 14:44 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi gw3tja,

What is this ubiquitous "obidos" of fame? The answer can be
found in Wikipedia's entry for "":

"Some of the words in URLs are nods to the Amazon River and
Brazil: obidos comes from Óbidos, the meeting place of the Amazon's
tributaries; varzea is Portuguese (Brazil's main language) for a
forest flooded after heavy rains, as parts of the Amazon forest are;
gp is short for Gurupa, a region in northeastern Brazil near the mouth
of the Amazon."
< >

A September 2002 post titled "The Mystery of Obidos" on a weblog
called "Deadprogrammer's Cafe" notes that the Amazon/obidos question
was a subject of debate on Usenet. Here's how some interpreted

- Castle near Lisbon
- OBI (Wan Kenobi) + DOS (Disk Operating System)
- 'OBI' = Object Broker Interface

The blogger goes on to quote a Livejournal user who had this to say:

"I worked at Amazon for a couple of years, and can mostly answer that.

"Obidos is the area where the Amazon is "concentrated" - it narrows to
a point about a mile wide and a couple hundred feet deep. It's the
chokepoint of the Amazon. A wry sense of humor turned that to the
naming scheme.

"Amazon wrote their own web serving environment because the selection
of scripting/webcontrol languages when they got started was so lousy.
They had to call it something, so obidos it was. :)"

< >
You may also be interested in this Oct. 30, 2005 post by blogger Jason
Diamond in which he laments an apparent disappearance of "obidos" from
Amazon's URLs:

< >

Finally, you may want to check out a discussion called "What Exactly
Are Obidos?" that took place in a forum on the Fog Creek software


The following search string was successful in finding your answer:

amazon url obidos

All the best!

gw3tja-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for a very comprehensive answer, which answers something I have
puzzled about on and off for several years. The only thing that
surprises me is that my own attempts to search Google for "obidos"
produced no relevant results. Whereas if you search for "g3tja" (my
other alias) you will know find a trail of forums that I have visited.

Thanks again for your excellent answer.

Subject: Re: obidos
From: nelson-ga on 19 Nov 2005 06:56 PST
The Óbidos in Brazil/Brasil is, of course, named after the Óbidos in Portugal.

Try googling: Óbidos -amazon.

It is near my parents hometown.
Subject: Re: obidos
From: gw3tja-ga on 19 Nov 2005 08:43 PST
Thank you, Nelson, Small world, eh?
Richard (gw3tja)

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy