eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace where individuals and business can buy and sell a variety of new and used items worldwide. According to their mission statement, “eBay’s mission is to provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.”(1)
eBay was created September 3, 1995 by 28 year old Pierre Omidyar, a computer programmer in San Jose, California. eBay was developed from a program code he wrote that worked from his home computer. This code was for an online auction site that would later evolve into eBay. Originally this auction site was called AuctionWeb, and the first listing was for a broken laser pointer that sold for $14.83. AuctionWeb soon took the name Echo Bay and was shortened to eBay. This new company began selling primarily collectables but as it began growing, it soon branched of into selling anything and everything in every type of market. By the time eBay went public in 1998, it was already a billion dollar company.(2)(3)
eBay is similar to an online store but instead of having only set prices, the market determines the value of items that are sold.(3) Items can be sold in two different ways through silent auction or through “Buy it now”. Silent auctions works where the bidder inputs their maximum bid and the site will automatically increase the bids until the maximum bid is reached. “Buy it now” is different in that there is no bidding. There is a set price and the buyer will purchase the item at that price.(5)

eBay has a presence in 39 nations and has 84 million users worldwide. As of 2008, its revenue was $8.541 billion and net income was $1.779 billion.(4) eBay generates revenue through the use of their services in two different ways. First, the seller is charged up to 12% of the final price of each item and $0.20 to $0.80 per listing. The second income generator is through advertisements that appear on the webpage. eBay also owns several other media centers such as PayPal, Skype, Shopping.com, Rent.com, half.com, MicroPlace and StubHub.(5)

1. http://ebay.about.com/od/gettingstarted/a/gs_whatisebay.htm
2. http://ebay.about.com/od/ebaylifestyle/a/el_history.htm
3. http://news.ebay.com/about.cfm
4. http://zenobank.com/index.php?symbol=EBAY&page=quotesearch
5. http://www.crunchbase.com/company/ebay