How eBay Went From A Quirky Idea To One of The World’s Biggest Marketplaces


There are only a few companies worldwide that are as successful and as big as eBay and it is hard to imagine the internet world without it but there was a time when eBay was nothing more than a peculiar idea. eBay’s story is not only inspirational but also great for those who want to start their journey in the entrepreneurial world so we thought it will be a good idea to see how eBay went from a quirky idea to one of the world’ biggest marketplaces.


What is eBay?

eBay is a platform that allows users to buy, sell and auction various new or used items online and, unless you never used the internet, you probably knew this. Launched in 1995, eBay did not mean serious business from the very beginning. The founder, Pierre Omidyar, launched Auction Web (eBay’s first name) as a side hobby but soon he realized that he needs an upgrade in internet service to accommodate the increasing traffic on the website. However, he was still not convinced that Auction Web should be his main priority until he decided to add an access fee for the users to pay for the upgrade and the users were more than willing to pay the fee. Soon after this, the founder had to hire his first employee and this was just the beginning of what eBay is today.

eBay’s First Steps

In 1996, Pierre Omidyar hired Jeffrey Skoll as the first president of his company since he was not able to handle the growth of the platform on his own. Jeffrey Skoll created a proper structure for eBay and managed to multiply by 8 the numbers of auctions hosted by the platform in 1997 compared to 1996. 1997 was also the year when Auction Web changed its name to eBay when venture capitalists invested $6.7 million in the company.

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The share price went up overnight and Skoll and Omidyar were all of a sudden billionaires. Meg Whiteman took over the President position in 1998 and she focused on creating better experiences for customers by adding more categories above on top of the auction category.

eBay Business Decisions

eBay managed to become a successful business almost overnight but the expansion of the company just began. Besides the platform that was constantly improved, eBay bought PayPal in 2002 and Skype in 2005 for $2.5 billion. Skype was soon sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion.

Since the platform continued to grow, eBay decided to launch individual websites in various countries around the world and to focus on each country’s needs and desires.

The personalized service was definitely a success and eBay reached new heights in 2008 when they had millions of users, over 15.000 employees and approximately $7.7 billion in revenues.

eBay Today

Since eBay continues to develop, nowadays people can buy, sell and auction almost any type of object or item they own or even virtual products, such as domain names and other web services.

It seemed like the quirky idea of an online auction was not only a great business idea but also one that made so many people give up their daily jobs and starting businesses that sell items exclusively on eBay.

eBay can teach entrepreneurs numerous valuable lessons but the most important ones are that good ideas will always work and that listening to customer’s feedback and constantly improving the products or services provided by the company is always a guaranteed road to success.


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