eBay, previously known as AuctionWeb, was set up by Pierre Omidyar, an Iranian-American software programmer in September 1995. Born in France, Omidyar founded the company in his drawing-room.
Headquartered in San Jose, California, eBay is a US-based multinational e-commerce company that deals in B2C (business-to-consumer) and C2C (consumer-to-consumer) selling via its official website. eBay is a prominent example of how much success the dot-com. the bubble could achieve. As of 2019, eBay has its presence in more than 32 nations across the world and has turned into a billion-dollar commercial enterprise.
Initially, AuctionWeb intended to be a market for trading goods and services for people with a lot of transparency. One of the oldest articles sold via AuctionWeb was a damaged laser pointer that was sold for $14.83. For Pierre, eBay was just a pastime till the time his Internet Service Provider solicited him to promote his account because of the significant amount of traffic it generated.
eBay handles the official website of eBay that is a shopping and online auction site where individuals and commercial enterprises trade a range of products and services all over the world.
eBay does not charge fees for using its website. Nonetheless, vendors are subject to charges for listing their products following a limit of complimentary listings and once more after these products are sold off.
Other than the conventional auction-pattern selling by eBay, there has been a lot of transformation of the official website. It has grown to incorporate shopping features like buy it now, shopping with ISBN, Universal Product Code, any other category of SKU number (through Half.com that ceased operations in 2017), online ticketing through StubHub, and online classifieds through eBay Classifieds or Kijiji. Earlier, eBay also provided online money transfer services as a segment of its facilities through PayPal which acted as a subsidiary company of eBay from 2002-2015.
How Omidyar funded eBay
On September 3, 1995, AuctionWeb came into existence in San Jose, California as a segment of a bigger private website. The originator of the company was Pierre Omidyar, an Iranian-American software programmer who was born in France. After selling a damaged laser pointer at $14.83, surprised, Omidyar got in touch with the successful applicant to question if he realized that he bought a damaged laser pointer. The bidder then clarified that he was a gatherer of damaged laser pointers. Shortly, it turned into the oldest online auction website that enabled customer-to-customer deals and the admiration of the site flourished.
According to reports, eBay was just a pastime for Pierre till the time the ISP he was using communicated to him that he needed to promote his account and switch it into a business account because of the significant volume of traffic drawn by it. The rate payable by him every month went up to $250 from $30 and it stimulated him to begin asking for subscriptions from people who utilized eBay and there was no dissent from them.
The foremost extra worker for eBay for processing mailed check disbursements was Chris Agarpao.
At the beginning of 1996, Omidyar recruited Jeffrey Skoll as the President of eBay. Pierre also said goodbye to his day job to dedicate himself entirely to his creative e-commerce site. In October 1996, they hired a tiny apartment at Hamilton Avenue in San Jose, CA. Now, the name has changed to Building 6 on the present site of eBay. In November the same year, the popular e-commerce site ventured into its initial third-party authorization agreement with a firm known as Electronic Travel Auction for using SmartMarket Technology for vending flight tickets and goods related to the tourism industry. At that time, eBay witnessed phenomenal expansion: from just 250,000 bids throughout 1996 to around 200,000 bids in only January 1997.
In 1996, AuctionWeb was also able to sell products worth $7.2 million.
In May 1997, Ty Warner’s range of fluffy stuffed toys, Beanie Babies, took the world by storm. Sales worth $500 million took place exclusively on eBay, constituting above 6% of their overall capacity.
In September 1997, formally, eBay altered the name of its facility to eBay from AuctionWeb on the advisory agency of Pierre, Echo Bay Technology Group. A gold excavation firm already took the name of the domain, echobay.com. Therefore, Pierre decided to cut it short and named it eBay.com.
In 1997, eBay obtained seed financing to the tune of $6.7 million from Benchmark Capital, a prominent venture capital company.
In 1997, Mary Lou Song, the PR manager of eBay, cooked up the often reiterated narrative that Omidyar set up eBay as a means to aid the groom-to-be of Omidyar for buying and selling candy dispensers with the brand name Pez. The goal was to provide a feature story to the media that was additionally attractive in comparison to the archetypal imagination of Pierre of an atomistic market. The parable related to the dispenser produced huge promotion and resulted in volatile and prompt expansion among toy gatherers.
In March 1998, the board of directors of eBay recruited Meg Whitman as the Chief Executive Officer and President. During that period, there was 30 staff in eBay, half a million subscribers, and it had revenue to the tune of $4.7 million in the US.
In 1998 July, eBay performed one of its earliest acquisitions, including Jump Inc., and its customer-to-customer e-commerce site, Up4Sale.
eBay launched its IPO in 1998. Their stocks were listed on NASDAQ with the emblem EBAY. It was anticipated that the stocks would trade at $18, however, they broke predictions and attained $53.50 within only 24 hours.
In 1999 July, eBay witnessed a worldwide expansion of its business. They introduced websites in Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Till today, eBay enjoys a presence in around 180 nations of the world.
In 2000 April, eBay Motors was launched. It served as an online vehicle market. They were able to sell its two millionth passenger car in 2006.
In 2000 June, they also launched eBay University. The goal was to educate customers on how to turn into expert marketers. The arrangement was remarkably successful and their classes are in offering across the globe now.
In 2000 July, Half.com became a part of the company and it made selling books, music, videos, and games on the Internet more convenient through eBay.
In the 2nd quarter of 2001, they auctioned a very old pair of Levi’s Jeans to Levi Strauss and Company for higher than $46,000 and this is a landmark event in the world of fashion.
In the 3rd quarter of 2001, eBay sold a Gulfstream jet at $4.9 million and this was a new feat for the company.
2002 was a crucial year in the journey of eBay. This year, it acquired PayPal, combining the biggest online market and a creative network for safe and trouble-free payment processing. Once PayPal joined eBay, it contributed towards the phenomenal expansion of PayPal and its leading position in online payments. Their collaboration was advantageous for both entities for an extensive period.
In December 2004, Rent.com became a part of eBay. It was a popular website for rental accommodation in the United States.
In May 2005, eBay took over GumTree, a top-ranking worldwide classified ad listing website.
In 2005 October, they acquired Skype, a trailblazer online communications firm.
In 2006 February, the costliest product was sold on eBay and it was a Gigayacht conceptualized by Frank Mulder. The item was sold at $168 million as per information sources.
In January 2007, the company acquired StubHub and turned into the biggest online ticketing market in the world.
In October 2008, eBay included BillMeLater, an outstanding web-oriented payment processing platform. In 2009 November, eBay introduced its Deals app.
In 2010 December, the company took over Milo.com, a prominent online local item search site. In March 2011, eBay acquired GSI Commerce, also known as eBay enterprise, an e-commerce technology platform. In April 2011, eBay declared about buying a majority stake in GittiGidiyor, a major web-based market in Turkey. In June of the same year, they took over Magento, a popular open-source suite of tools for e-commerce. In July 2011, Zong, a popular payment processing platform, was taken over. In 2013 September, they acquired Braintree, a novel payment processing platform. In November of the same year, they launched digital storefronts in San Francisco. Their groundbreaking machine translation tools helped them expand their business in Latin America and Russia.
In August 2014, a well-kept Superman comic sold by eBay helped it raise $3.2 million. For the e-auctioning site, it was the costliest comic ever traded.
In 2015 November, eBay Inc. closes the selling dealer of eBay Enterprise to a syndicate of commercial enterprises at $925 million.
In 2016 April, it collaborated with Big Commerce for reorganizing online selling, serving over 169 million customers throughout the globe. In May the same year, it took over Expert make, a top AI, ML, and Big Data Analytics company.
Stubhub, the biggest online ticket market in the US took over Ticketbis and kept on expanding through entering the Asia Pacific, European, and Latin American markets.
In October 2016, eBay acquired Corrigan, a trendsetter in visual search technologies. In November 2017, the company collaborated with Kiva.org, a top-rated micro-lending platform. In February 2018, it took over Giosis to grow its footmark in Asia.
In February 2020, it closed the selling of StubHub against $4.05 billion to Viagogo. It was entirely a cash deal. In July same year, it sold its classified business to Adevinta at around $9.2 billion.