From AsSeenOnScreen to the world’s number one fashion destination for 20-somethings
So you know us and love us as ASOS. But people often ask where our name comes from (usually straight after they ask us how to pronounce it – it’s ACE-OSS, by the way).
The idea of ASOS started in 1999 when founders Quentin Griffiths and Nick Robertson (who’s still CEO) had the idea of starting an internet business where people could find clothes or accessories they had seen celebs wearing.
A website was registered in August 1999 and www.asseenonscreen.com went live in March 2000, with a full launch in June 2000 under the name AsSeenOnScreen. In fact, ASOS PLC and ASOS.com Limited were originally called AsSeenOnScreen Holdings PLC and AsSeenOnScreen Limited. By the end of that first trading year, the company won the Best Trendsetter Award by The Sunday Times – a sign of things to come.
Almost immediately, the business was referred to internally as ‘ASOS’, an abbreviation of AsSeenOnScreen. That led the directors and staff to realise that the website name needed shortening too.
In October 2000, we bought the easier-to-type domain name www.asos.com, although, at this stage, traffic to www.asos.com was directed to the www.asseenonscreen.com website, which remained the central site for the business. That was followed by www.asos.co.uk in August 2001.
Soon we began to sell more fashion than just clothes that had been ‘seen on screen’. This made the AsSeenOnScreen name even less relevant, so the brand started to shift to ASOS as the trading name.
From 2002, the name ASOS (in a logo form which has since evolved) began to be used on stationery and on the website. Email addresses changed to @asos.com and our marketing began to use ASOS rather than AsSeenOnScreen. In July 2002, the company advertised on the Pepsi Chart Show on UK commercial radio as ASOS. By September 2002, the march from AsSeenOnScreen to ASOS was unstoppable, as the first ASOS logo began to be used on the website, instead of the AsSeenOnScreen logo.
The website itself was next. By January 2003, we changed our homepage title tag to include the name ASOS at the beginning. In July 2003, we moved the ‘shop front’ of the online retail business to being branded as ASOS on the website www.asos.com. The re-direct to the old website was also reversed and www.asos.com went live independently. In the final move, our shareholders in August 2003 agreed to change the names of the AsSeenOnScreen Holdings PLC and AsSeenOnScreen Limited to ASOS PLC and ASOS.com Limited. And that’s how ASOS was born (bless!).
That’s enough looking back. We’d rather focus on tomorrow. So what are you waiting for? Go and explore the rest of ASOS!