The History Of eBay

Published: 09th April 2009
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The History Of eBay - Mr. Omidyar - What A Great Thing You Have Created

eBay - Around For 13 Years And Still Going Strong!

Yes, you read that correctly -thirteen years - It seems like just yesterday I was looking at this kind of plain thing called AuctionWeb - where has the time gone?

eBay was created in September 1995, in he living room of San Jose resident Pierre Omidyar - Jeff Skoll was co-founder. Mr.Omidyar wanted his unique site to be an online marketplace so he sat down and wrote all of the code in a weekend. He decided to call his new site "AuctionWeb" - It was one of the first websites of its kind in the world.

The name "eBay"came from the name Mr. Omidyar used for his original business, Echo Bay Technology Group, the "eBay AuctionWeb"was originally just one part of the Echo Bay Technology Group. When Mr. Omidyar went to register the domain name echobay.com it was already registered so he did the next best thing - Shortened it to eBay.com and the rest is pretty much history.

Do you know what the first thing that sold on eBay was?

The first thing to ever be sold on the eBay was Mr. Omidyar's broken laser pointer, which he got $14 for - He even knew how to make money before eBay got popular -14 bucks for a broken laser pointer? :-}

The site quickly became very popular, as sellers came to list all sorts of odd things and buyers came and actually bought them. Relying on trust seemed to work remarkably well, and meant that the site could almost be left alone to run itself. The site had been designed from the start to collect a small fee on each sale, and it was this money that Mr. Omidyar used to pay for AuctionWeb's expansion. The fees quickly added up to more than his current salary, and so he decided to quit his job and work on the site full-time.

1996 - The feedback facilities were added to "AutionWeb", to let buyers and sellers rate each other and make buying and selling safer. This was an increadible idea as the buyers and sellers basically police themselves to all activities.

1997 - Mr. Omidyar changed both AuctionWeb - and Echo Bay Technology Group's name to "eBay", which is what people had been calling the site for a long time. He began to spend a lot of money on advertising, and had the eBay logo designed. The one-millionth item was sold (it was a toy version of Big Bird from Sesame Street) in 1997, what a milestone for eBay.

1998 - Harvard Business School graduate Meg Whitman joins the eBay team after having some reserves.

This year was the start of the dotcom boom - eBay became big business, and the investment in Internet businesses at the time allowed it to bring in senior managers and business strategists, who took in public on the stock market. It started to encourage people to sell more than just collectibles, and quickly became a massive site where you could sell anything, large or small. Unlike many other sites of the dotcom boom, eBay survived and is still going strong today, very strong.

1999 - eBay goes worldwide, launching sites in the UK, Australia and Germany.

eBay buys the auction house Butterfield and Butterfield for an astounding price of 260 million dollars.

June of 1999 say eBay.com shut down for hours making both buyers and sellers very unhappy. eBay's 400 employees personally called individual sellers who were affected by this crash and apologized for the downtime and the inconvenience to them.

2000 - eBay bought Half.com, an Amazon-like online retailer to broaden their online market share.

2002 - eBay buys PayPal for 1.5 billion dollars - PayPal is perhaps the Internet's oldest payment processor. It is estimated that over 90% of eBay sellers use PayPal as their payment processor. The other 10% are just plain crazy for not using Paypal.

eBay Stores open up for e-commerce giving eBay buyers and sellers a way to access to over 200 million shoppers and sellers worldwide.

2006 - eBay introduces MyWorld and eBay Blogs to get a piece of the social networking pie.

eBay opens its new eBay Express site, which is designed to work like a standard Internet shopping site with fixed priced items.

- eBay has 135 million users world wide.

Pierre Omidyar has now earned over an estimated $3 billion from eBay, and still serves as Chairman of the Board. Oddly enough, rumor has it that he keeps a personal weblog at TypePad.

There are now literally millions of items bought and sold on eBay every single day 24-7, all over the world. It is estimated that for every $100 spent online worldwide, $14 is spent on eBay - now that is a whole bunch of laser pointers.

FD Musser is the owner of The Frustrated Computer Users Blog


Whatever it is you can get it on eBay!George Hansen writes on topics such as Ebay Alternative, Craigslist Fights Back Against Ebay. Visit The History Of eBay.

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