eBay corporate logo
eBay is a very successful online auction website, at which people from all around the world buy and sell goods and services.
eBay was founded in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar as "AuctionWeb", part of a larger personal site that included, among other things, Omidyar's own tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Ebola virus. The site belonged to Echo Bay Technology Group, Omidyar's consulting firm. He had tried to register the domain name "EchoBay.com" but found it already taken, so he shortened it to his second choice, "eBay.com". eBay is headquartered in San Jose, California. Meg Whitman has served as eBay's president and CEO since March 1998. In terms of revenue growth, eBay is the fastest growing company of all time.
Items and services
Millions of collectibles, appliances, computers, furniture, equipment, vehicles, and other miscellaneous items are listed, bought and sold daily. Some items are rare and valuable, while many others are dusty gizmos that would have been discarded if not for the thousands of eager bidders worldwide, proving that if one has a big enough market, one will find someone willing to buy anything. A recent search of eBay uncovered thousands of passe beanie babies and hundreds of vintage Kewpie Dolls. It is fair to say that eBay has revolutionized the collectibles market by bringing together buyers and sellers internationally in a huge, never-ending yard sale and auction. Large international companies, such as IBM, sell their newest products and offer services on eBay using competitive auctions and fixed-priced storefronts. Regional searches of the DB make shipping slightly more rapid or cheaper. Software developers can create applications that integrate with eBay through the eBay API by joining the eBay Developers Program.
- In June 2004, eBay prohibited the sale and auction of both alcohol and tobacco products. Some exceptions to this rule are made for rare aged liquors, where a bottle may sell for many times higher than its actual value in alcohol.
There has also been controversy over the sale of various things that are clearly not in ethical standards to be sold. Once, a man put his kidney on eBay, trying to get enough money to become a wealthy man. On other occasions, people and even entire towns have been listed, often as a joke. eBay is also full of cheap imitations, which are usually not found out about unless brought in front of an expert.
Profit and transactions
eBay generates revenue from sellers, who pay a 1.25% to 5.25% premium on the final bid price of each item, a fee based on the starting price, and from advertising. It does not handle the goods, nor does it transact the buyer-seller payment, except through its subsidiary PayPal. Instead, much like newspaper want-ads, sellers rely on the buyer's good faith to make payment, and buyers rely on the sellers' good faith to actually deliver the goods intact. To encourage fidelity, eBay maintains, rates and publicly displays the post-transaction feedback from all users, whether they buy or sell. This way, the buyer is encouraged to examine the sellers' feedback profile before bidding to rate their trustworthiness. Sellers with high ratings generally have more bids and garner higher bids.
- In June 22, 2004, eBay acquired all outstanding shares of Baazee.com, an Indian auction site for approximately US $50 million in cash, plus acquisition costs.
- In September 2004, eBay moved forward on its acquisition of Korean rival Internet Auction Co. (IAC), buying nearly 3 million shares of the Korean online trading company for 125,000 Korean Won (about US$109) per share.
- On 28 May 2003 a US District Court federal jury found eBay guilty of patent infringement and ordered the company to pay US$35 million in damages. The jury found for plaintiff MercExchange, which had accused eBay in 2001 of infringing on three patents (two of which are used in eBay's "Buy It Now" feature for fixed-price sales) held by MercExchange founder Tom Woolston. This decision is currently (November, 2004) under appeal.
- On 28 July 2003 eBay and its subsidiary PayPal agreed to pay a $10 million fine to settle allegations they aided illegal offshore and online gambling. According to the settlement, PayPal between mid-2000 and November 2002 transmitted money in violation of various US federal and state online gambling laws. Paypal was also forced out of this market, which accounted for some 6% of its volume. These offenses occurred prior to eBay's purchase of PayPal.
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