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eBay Inc.
Type Public (NASDAQEBAY)
Founded September 3, 1995
Founder Pierre Omidyar
Headquarters San Jose, California, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Pierre Omidyar, Chairman
John Donahoe, CEO
Lorrie Norrington, President of eBay Marketplaces
Industry Auctions
Products Online auction hosting, Electronic commerce, Shopping mall
PayPal, Skype, Gumtree, Kijiji,
Revenue $ 8.541 billion (2008)
Operating income $ 2.075 billion (2008)
Net income $ 1.779 billion (2008)[1]
Employees 15,500 (Q1 2008)
Slogan Come to think of it, eBay.

What ever it is, you can get it on eBay.


Shop victoriously!


From collectibles to cars, buy and sell all kinds of items on eBay


Buy it, sell it, love it
Website www.ebay.com
List of domain names
Alexa rank 23[2]
Type of site Online auction
Registration Required to buy and sell
Available in Multilingual

eBay Inc. is an American Internet company that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide.

The majority of the sales take place through a set-time auction format, but subsequent methods include a substantial segment of listings in the "Buy It Now" category.

In addition to its original U.S. website, eBay has established localized websites in thirty other countries. eBay Inc. also owns PayPal,[3] StubHub, Kijiji, and other businesses.

Contents

Origins and history

The online auction website was founded as AuctionWeb in San Jose, California, on September 3, 1995, by French-born Iranian computer programmer Pierre Omidyar [4] as part of a larger personal site that included, among other things, Omidyar's own tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Ebola virus.[5] In 1997, the company received approximately $5 million in funding from the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.[6]

eBay headquarters in San Jose

The very first item sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer for $14.83. Astonished, Omidyar contacted the winning bidder to ask if he understood that the laser pointer was broken. In his responding email, the buyer explained: "I'm a collector of broken laser pointers."[7] The frequently repeated story that eBay was founded to help Omidyar's fiancée trade Pez Candy dispensers was fabricated by a public relations manager in 1997 to interest the media. This was revealed in Adam Cohen's 2002 book, The Perfect Store,[5] and confirmed by eBay.

Chris Agarpao was hired as eBay's first employee and Jeffrey Skoll was hired as the first president of the company in early 1996. In November 1996, eBay entered into its first third-party licensing deal, with a company called Electronic Travel Auction to use SmartMarket Technology to sell plane tickets and other travel products. Growth was phenomenal; in January 1997 the site hosted 2000,000 auctions, compared with 250,000 during the whole of 1996[8]. The company officially changed the name of its service from AuctionWeb to eBay in September 1997. Originally, the site belonged to Echo Bay Technology Group, Omidyar's consulting firm. Omidyar had tried to register the domain name echobay.com, but found it already taken by the Echo Bay Mines, a gold mining company, so he shortened it to his second choice, eBay.com.[9] (Echobay.com is now owned by Echobay Partners, Ltd., a private equity firm based in Nevis.)

Meg Whitman was hired as eBay President and CEO in March 1998. At the time, the company had 30 employees[10] half a million users and revenues of $4.7 million in the United States.[11] eBay went public on September 21, 1998,[12] and both Omidyar and Skoll became instant billionaires. eBay's target share price of $18 was all but ignored as the price went to $53.50 on the first day of trading.[13]

As the company expanded product categories beyond collectibles into almost any saleable item, business grew quickly.[7] In February 2002, the company purchased IBazar, a similar European auction web site founded in 1995 and then bought PayPal on October 14, 2002.

In early 2008, the company had expanded worldwide, counted hundreds of millions of registered users, 15,000+ employees and revenues of almost $7.7 billion.[11] After nearly ten years at eBay, Whitman made the decision to enter politics. On January 23, 2008 the company announced that Whitman would step down on March 31, 2008 and John Donahoe was selected to become President and CEO.[14] Whitman remained on the Board of Directors and continued to advise Donahoe through 2008. In late 2009, eBay completed the sale of Skype for $2.75 Billion, but will still own 30% equity in the company.[15]

International sites

In addition to its original U.S. website, eBay has established localized websites in many other countries:

Country and Region Websites Languages Release Date
 Argentina http://www.mercadolibre.com.ar/ Spanish 01999-03-04 March 4, 1999[16]
 Australia http://www.ebay.com.au/ English 01999-10-07 October 7, 1999[17]
 Austria http://www.ebay.at/ German 02000-12-18 December 18, 2000[18]
 Belgium http://www.ebay.be/ Dutch, French 02006-06-07 June 7, 2006
 Brazil http://www.mercadolivre.com.br/ Portuguese 02003-10-24 October 24, 2003
 Bulgaria http://www.ebay.bg/ Bulgarian 02005-06-04 June 4, 2005
 Canada http://www.ebay.ca/ English, French 02000-04-07 April 7, 2000[19]
 Chile http://www.mercadolibre.cl/ Spanish 02005-03-10 March 10, 2005
 China (now defunct) http://www.ebay.com.cn (site now redirects to eachnet.com) Chinese 02003-07-11 July 11, 2003
 Colombia http://www.mercadolibre.com.co/ Spanish 02005-04-08 April 8, 2005
 Croatia http://www.ebay.com.hr/ Croatian 02004-08-19 August 19, 2004
 Costa Rica http://www.mercadolibre.com.cr/ Spanish 02004-06-18 June 18, 2004
 Czech Republic http://www.ebay.cz/ Czech 02006-07-06 July 6, 2006
 Denmark http://www.dba.dk/, http://www.ebay.dk/ Danish 02005-07-08 July 8, 2005
 Dominican Republic http://www.mercadolibre.com.do/ Spanish 02006-03-30 March 30, 2006
 Ecuador http://www.mercadolibre.com.ec/ Spanish 02005-05-27 May 27, 2005
 Egypt http://www.ebay.eg/ Arabic, English 02004-03-10 March 10, 2004
 Estonia http://www.ebay.ee/ Estonian 02006-08-04 August 4, 2006
 Finland http://www.ebay.fi/ Finnish 02005-07-22 July 22, 2005
 France http://www.ebay.fr/ French 02000-10-05 October 5, 2000[20][21]
 Germany http://www.ebay.de/ German 01999-06-10 June 10, 1999
 Greece http://www.ebay.gr/ Greek 02005-04-22 April 22, 2005
 Hungary http://www.ebay.hu/ Hungarian 02006-06-15 June 15, 2006
 Hong Kong http://www.ebay.com.hk/ English, Chinese 02003-12-21 December 21, 2003[22]
 India http://www.ebay.in/ English 02005-03-25 March 25, 2005
 Indonesia http://id.ebay.com/ Bahasa Indonesia, English 02007-08-04 August 4, 2007
 Iceland http://www.ebay.is/ Icelandic 02005-07-15 July 15, 2005
 Ireland http://www.ebay.ie/ English 02001-03-29 March 29, 2001[23 ]
 Israel http://www.ebay.co.il/ Hebrew, English 02006-06-22 June 22, 2006
 Italy http://www.ebay.it/ Italian 02001-01-15 January 15, 2001[24]
 Japan http://www.sekaimon.com/, http://www.ebay.co.jp/ (Joint venture with Yahoo! Japan) Japanese 02007-12-07 December 7, 2007
 Kuwait http://www.ebay.kw/ Arabic, English 02004-08-04 August 4, 2004
 Korea http://www.auction.co.kr/, http://www.ebay.co.kr/ Korean 02003-07-11 July 11, 2003
 Kazakhstan http://www.ebay.kz/ Russian 02005-08-04 August 4, 2005
 Latvia http://www.ebay.lv/ Latvian 02006-08-04 August 4, 2006
 Malaysia http://www.ebay.com.my/ English 02004-12-02 December 2, 2004[25]
 Mexico http://www.mercadolibre.com.mx/ Spanish 01999-03-05 March 5, 1999
 Netherlands http://www.ebay.nl/ Dutch 02006-06-08 June 8, 2006
 New Zealand http://www.ebay.co.nz English 02001-03-29 March 29, 2001[23 ]
 Norway http://www.ebay.no/ Norwegian 02005-07-22 July 22, 2005
 Panama http://www.mercadolibre.com.pa/ Spanish 02006-06-30 June 30, 2006
 Peru http://www.mercadolibre.com.pe/ Spanish 02006-07-13 July 13, 2006
 Philippines http://www.ebay.ph/ English 02004-11-17 November 17, 2004[26]
 Poland http://www.ebay.pl/ Polish 02005-04-22 April 22, 2005[27]
 Portugal http://www.ebay.pt/ Portuguese 02007-03-29 March 29, 2007
 Russia http://www.ebay.ru/ Russian 02005-08-04 August 4, 2005
 Singapore http://www.ebay.com.sg/ English 02001-10-24 October 24, 2001[28]
 Slovakia http://www.ebay.sk/ Slovak 02006-07-06 July 6, 2006
 Slovenia http://www.ebay.sv/ Slovenian 02004-08-19 August 19, 2004
 South Africa http://www.ebay.co.za/ English 02006-11-10 November 10, 2006
 Spain http://www.ebay.es/ Spanish 02002-01-08 January 8, 2002[29]
 Sweden http://www.tradera.com/, http://www.ebay.se/ Swedish 02005-07-08 July 8, 2005
 Switzerland http://www.ebay.ch/ German, French 02001-03-29 March 29, 2001[23 ]
 Taiwan http://ruten.com.tw (joint venture with PCHome) [30] Chinese 02005-03-25 March 25, 2005
 Thailand http://www.ebay.co.th Thai 02004-03-12 March 12, 2004
 Turkey http://www.gittigidiyor.com/ Turkish 02007-05-04 May 4, 2007
 Ukraine http://www.ebay.ua/ Ukrainian 02005-08-04 August 4, 2005
 United Arab Emirates http://www.ebay.ae/ Arabic, English 02004-08-04 August 4, 2004
 United Kingdom http://www.ebay.co.uk/ English 01999-10-08 October 8, 1999[31]
 United States http://www.ebay.com/ English 01995-09-02 September 2, 1995
 Uruguay http://www.mercadolibre.com.uy/ Spanish 02006-06-02 June 2, 2006
 Venezuela http://www.mercadolibre.com.ve/ Spanish 02003-10-24 October 24, 2003
 Vietnam http://www.ebay.vn/ Vietnamese, English 02007-06-29 June 29, 2007[32]

eBay also owns the following related companies / websites:

  • dba.dk - Den Blå Avis, a Danish form  Denmark classified ad website, mainly with fixed price on items as opposed to the auction model. dba.dk was acquired by eBay in 2008, along with other Danish used-sale websites, for 2.1 billion DKK.[33]

Items

Millions of collectibles, decor, appliances, computers, furnishings, equipment, vehicles, and other miscellaneous items are listed, bought, or sold daily. In 2005, eBay launched its Business & Industrial category, breaking into the industrial surplus business. 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. Anything may be offered for sale as long as it is not illegal and does not violate the eBay Prohibited and Restricted Items policy.[34] Services and intangibles can be sold, too. Large international companies, such as IBM, sell their newest products and offer services on eBay using competitive auctions and fixed-priced storefronts. Separate eBay sites such as eBay US and eBay UK allow the users to trade using the local currency. Software developers can create applications that integrate with eBay through the eBay API by joining the eBay Developers Program.[35] In June 2005, there were more than 15,000 members in the eBay Developers Program, comprising a broad range of companies creating software applications to support eBay buyers and sellers as well as eBay Affiliates.

Controversy has arisen over certain items put up for bid. For instance, in late 1999, a man offered one of his kidneys for auction on eBay, attempting to profit from the potentially lucrative (and, in the United States, illegal) market for transplantable human organs. On other occasions, people and even entire towns have been listed, often as a joke or to garner free publicity. In general, the company removes auctions that violate its terms of service agreement.

PayPal-only categories

eBay North First Street satellite office campus (home to PayPal)

Beginning in August 2007, eBay required listings in "Video Games" and "Health & Beauty" to accept its payment system PayPal and sellers could only accept PayPal for payments in the category "Video Games: Consoles".[36] Starting January 10, 2008, eBay said sellers can only accept PayPal as payment for the categories "Computing > Software", "Consumer Electronics > MP3 Players", "Wholesale & Job Lots > Mobile & Home Phones", and "Business, Office & Industrial > Industrial Supply / MRO".[37] eBay announced that starting in March 2008, eBay had added to this requirement that all sellers with fewer than 100 feedbacks must offer PayPal and no merchant account may be used as an alternative.[38][39] This is in addition to the requirement that all sellers from the United Kingdom have to offer PayPal.[40]

Further, and as noted below, it is a requirement to offer Paypal on all listings in Australia and the UK.

eBay Express

Ebay express.png

In April 2006, eBay opened its new eBay Express site, which is designed to work like a standard Internet shopping site for consumers with United States addresses. It closed in 2008. Selected eBay items were mirrored on eBay Express, where buyers shop using a shopping cart to purchase from multiple sellers. The UK version was launched to eBay members in mid-October 2006 but on January 29, 2008 eBay announced its intention to close the site.[41] The German version, eBay Express Germany, was also opened in 2006 and closed in 2008.

Selling Manager Applications

At the 2008 eBay Developer's Conference, eBay announced the unveiling of their Selling Manager Applications program (SM Apps).[42] The program will allow approved developers to integrate their applications directly in the eBay.com interface.[43] This application is available to those who enroll in the eBay Stores program.

eBay and rich media

eBay allows sellers to use a variety of rich media solutions within listings in order to aid and improve the format and presentation of the listing. This includes audio, video and picture galleries. The list of approved video providers[44] that eBay sellers are permitted to use includes AuctionMercial, AuctionVideo, CarTHINK, CreativeVideosOnline, Dailymotion, eCommercePlayer, Google, i2iAuction, Microsoft, Motionbox, MySpace, Silverdock, vzaar and YouTube. Furthermore, in 2008 eBay acquired VUVOX[45] an easy to use production and instant sharing service that allows you to mix, create and blend your personal media.

eBay specialty sites

eBay maintains a number of specialty sites. eBay Pulse, for example, provides information about popular search terms, trends, and most-watched items. Other ebay Community Content includes the Discussion Boards, Groups, Answer Center, Chat Rooms, and Reviews & Guides. eBay has a robust mobile offering, including SMS alerts, a WAP site, J2ME clients, and an Apple iPhone application available in certain markets.

Best of eBay is a specialty site for finding the most-unusual items on the eBay site. Users can vote on and nominate listings that they find.

Auction types

eBay offers several types of auctions.

  • Auction-style listings allow the seller to offer one or more items for sale for a specified number of days. The seller can establish a reserve price.
  • Fixed price format allows the seller to offer one or more items for sale at a Buy It Now price. Buyers who agree to pay that price win the auction immediately without submitting a bid.
  • Fixed price format with best offer allows the seller to accept best offers. If a buyer submits a best offer, the seller either rejects or accepts the best offer. If the best offer is not satisfactory, a seller may submit a counter offer to the buyer. Best offer is not available for auction style listings. In addition, best offer is not available in every category. Sellers also meet specific requirements in order to sell with best offer.

Bidding

Auction-style listings

Bidding on eBay's auction-style listings is called proxy bidding and is essentially equivalent to a Vickrey auction, with the following exceptions.

  • The winning bidder pays the second-highest bid plus one bid increment amount (i.e., some small predefined amount relative to the bid size), instead of simply the second-highest bid. However, since the bid increment amounts are relatively insignificant compared to the bid size, they are not considered from a strategic standpoint.[46]
  • The current winning bid is not sealed, but instead is always displayed. However, at any given moment, the highest bidder's bid is not necessarily displayed, since this amount may be higher than the amount required to win the auction.
eBay announced that on June 15, 2009, they would change the page layout, and here is an example

Example of bidding on an auction-style listing

Suppose bidding for an item placed by Anne starts at $1.00 and that the bid increment amount in this price range is $.25. Khalid bids $3.00 for the item, and since no one else has bid yet, eBay displays that the current winner is Khalid, with a bid of $1.00, and that the minimum allowable bid is $1.25, which is equal to one bidding increment above the winning bid. Suppose then that Sanjeev bids $2.00 for the item. Since Khalid has already bid more than Sanjeev, eBay will display that the current winner is Khalid, with a bid of $2.25, which equals the second-highest bid ($2.00) plus the bid increment amount ($.25). Again, eBay will also display that the minimum allowable bid is $2.50, one bid increment above the winning bid. Suppose that Sanjeev bids again, this time at $2.75. Again, since Khalid's bid is higher than Sanjeev's, eBay will display that the current winning bidder is Khalid, with a bid of $3.00, which is equal to the second-highest bid ($2.75) plus the bid increment ($.25). eBay will also display that the minimum allowable bid is $3.25, one bidding increment above the current winning bid. Suppose Sanjeev bids one more time, at $10.00. Since Sanjeev's bid is now higher than Khalid's, eBay will display that the current winning bidder is Sanjeev, with a bid of $3.25, which is equal to the second-highest bid ($3.00) plus the bid increment ($.25). If Sanjeev were to win the auction, he would have to pay the amount equal to the winning bid ($3.25), even though his previous bid was much larger than that.

Seller ratings

In 2007, eBay began using detailed seller ratings with four different categories. When leaving feedback, buyers are asked to rate the seller in each of these categories with a score of one to five stars, with five being the highest rating and one the lowest. Unlike the overall feedback rating, these ratings are anonymous; neither sellers nor other users learn how individual buyers rated the seller. The listings of sellers with a rating of 4.3 or below in any of the four rating categories appear lower in search results. Power Sellers are required to have scores in each category above 4.5.[47][48][49][50][51]

Profit and transactions

eBay generates revenue from a number of fees. The eBay fee system is quite complex; there are fees to list a product (Insertion Fee) and fees when the product sells (Final Value Fee), plus several optional adornment fees, all based on various factors and scales. The U.S.-based eBay.com takes $0.10 to $4 (based on the opening price) for a basic listing without any adornments and 8.75% or less of the final price (as of May 2009). The UK based ebay.co.uk (ebay.co.uk offices) takes from GBP £0.15 to a maximum rate of GBP £3 per £100 for an ordinary listing and from 0.75 percent to 10% (writing as of June 2009) percent of the final price. Reduced FVF's are available to business registered customers.In addition, eBay now owns the PayPal payment system which has fees of its own.

Under current U.S. law, a state cannot require sellers located outside the state to collect a sales tax, making deals more attractive to buyers. Although some state laws require purchasers to pay sales tax to their own states on out-of-state purchases, it is not a common practice. However, most sellers that operate as a full time business do follow state tax regulations on their eBay transactions.[52][53] However for the tax called Value added tax (VAT), eBay requires sellers to include the VAT fees in their listing price and not as an add-on and thus eBay profits by collecting fees based on what governments tax for VAT.[54]

The company's current business strategy includes increasing international trade.[55][56] eBay has already expanded to over two dozen countries including China and India. The only places where expansion failed were Taiwan and Japan, where Yahoo! had a head start, and New Zealand where TradeMe, owned by the Fairfax media group is the dominant online auction website.

A more recent strategy involves the company increasingly leveraging the relationship between the eBay auction site and PayPal: The impact of driving buyers and sellers to use PayPal means not only does eBay turn buyers into clients (as a pure auction venue its clients used to be predominantly sellers) but for each new PayPal registration it achieves via the eBay auction site it also earns offsite revenue when the resulting PayPal account is used in non-eBay transactions. In its Q1 2008 results, total payment volume via PayPal increased 17 percent, but off the eBay auction site it was up 61 percent.[57]

For most listing categories, eBay sellers are permitted to offer a variety of payment systems such as Paypal, Paymate, ProPay, and Moneybookers.[58]

eBay runs an affiliate program under the name eBay Partner Network.[59] eBay affiliate marketers were originally paid a percentage of the eBay seller's transaction fees, with commissions ranging from 50% to 75% of the fees paid for an item purchased. In October 2009, eBay changed to an affiliate payout system that it calls Quality Click Pricing, in which affiliates are paid an amount determined by an undisclosed algorithm. The total earnings amount is then divided by the number of clicks the affiliate sent to eBay and is reported as Earnings Per Click, or EPC.

Acquisitions

Economics

As eBay is a huge, publicly visible market, it has created a great deal of interest from economists, who have used it to analyze many aspects of buying and selling behavior, auction formats, etc., and compare these with previous theoretical and empirical findings.

Controversy and criticism

eBay has its share of controversy, including cases of fraud, its policy of requiring sellers to use PayPal, and concerns over forgeries and intellectual property violations in auction items.

Prohibited or restricted items

In its earliest days, eBay was essentially unregulated. However, as the site grew, it became necessary to restrict or forbid auctions for various items. Note that some of the restrictions relate to eBay.com (the U.S. site), while other restrictions apply to specific European sites (such as Nazi paraphernalia). Regional laws and regulations may apply to the seller or the buyer. Generally, if the sale or ownership of an item is regulated or prohibited by one or more states, eBay will not permit its listing.[60] Among the hundred or so banned or restricted categories:

  • Tobacco (tobacco-related items and collectibles are accepted.)[61]
  • Alcohol (alcohol-related collectibles, including sealed containers, as well as some wine sales by licensed sellers are allowed)[62]
  • Drugs and drug paraphernalia[63]
  • Nazi paraphernalia[64]
  • Bootleg recordings[65]
  • Firearms and ammunition,[66] including any parts that could be used to assemble a firearm as well as (as of July 30, 2007) any firearm part that is required for the firing of a gun, including bullet tips, brass casings and shells, barrels, slides, cylinders, magazines, firing pins, trigger assemblies, etc. Crossbows and various types of knives are also forbidden.
  • Police and Emergency Service vehicular warning equipment such as red or blue lights and sirens (antique or collectible items are exempt)
  • Used underwear (see Panty fetishism) and dirty used clothing[67]
  • Forged, Illegal, Stolen, or Confidential Documents which include Passports, Social Security Cards, Drivers Licences, Voter Registration Cards, Birth Certificates, School Documents, Medical Records, Financial Information, Government License Plates, Government Classified Information, or CarFax documents. Any Item which is used to modify documents are restricted as well.[68]
  • Human parts and remains (with an exception for skeletons and skulls for scientific study, provided they are not Native American in origin)[69]
  • Live animals (with certain exceptions)[70]
  • Certain copyrighted works or trademarked items.[71]
  • Lock-picking tools, accessories, and practice locks fall into the category of burglar tools.
  • Lottery tickets, sweepstakes tickets, or any other gambling items.
  • Military hardware such as working weapons or explosives.
  • Any items of a sexual nature must be listed in the Adult Only category, which prohibits:[72]
    • Child Pornography
    • Obscene Materials including bestiality, necrophilia, rape, coprophilia, and incest
    • Pre-owned sex toys
    • Services including any sexual activity
    • Links to sites that contain prohibited items
    • Adult products that are delivered digitally
  • Virtual items from massively multiplayer online games, restrictions which vary by country[73][74]
  • Non-physical items no longer can be sold through eBay. They can only be advertised through classified ads on eBay and do not get feedback.[75]
  • Ivory products.[76]
  • Knives, other than cutlery, are prohibited in the UK following media pressure about the sale of items assessed by police to be 'illegal'[77]
  • Many other items are either wholly prohibited or restricted in some manner.[78]

Unusual sale items

  • In May 2006, the remains of U.S. Fort Montgomery, a stone fortification in upstate New York built in 1844, were put up for auction on eBay. The first auction ended on June 5, 2006, with a winning bid of $5,000,310. However, the sale was not completed, and the fort and lands surrounding it remain for sale and have been relisted on the site several times since.[79] [11]
  • In February 2004, a scrapped F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet was listed on eBay by Mike Landa, of Landa and Associates, with a starting bid of $1,000,000. He was the legal owner of the plane after purchasing it from a scrap yard and also offered to have the plane restored for flying condition for a Buy It Now price of $9,000,000. Landa also told potential buyers that maintenance of the plane would cost roughly $40,000 a month for just 2 to 3 hours of flying time. The FBI told Landa that he could only sell the plane to an American citizen residing in the United States, and that the plane must not leave U.S. airspace. The auction ended without a sale.[80]
  • In December 2005, a brussels sprout cooked on Christmas Day was listed by "crazypavingpreacher" (Andrew Henderson of Darlington, England). It sold for £99.50 on 4 January 2006. The sprout had been frozen and was sent by first class post in insulated packaging to the buyer, "5077phil". The listing was reported in the Daily Star, making the front page (and was followed by a series of "copycat" listings of various vegetables). The proceeds of the sale were donated to Tearfund, a major Christian relief and development agency working in the third world. This sprout was the first cooked brussels sprout to be sold on eBay.[81]
  • In January 2006, a British man named Leigh Knight sold an unwanted brussels sprout left over from his Christmas dinner for £1550 in aid of cancer research.[82][83]
  • In May 2006, a Chinese businessman named Zhang Cheng bought a former Czech Air Force MIG-21 fighter jet from a seller in the United States for $24,730. The seller, "inkgirle", refused to ship it. It is not known whether he was refunded.[84][85]
  • In June 2005, the wife of Tim Shaw, a British radio DJ on Kerrang! 105.2, sold Tim's Lotus Esprit sports car with a Buy It Now price of 50 pence after she heard him flirting with model Jodie Marsh on air. The car was sold within 5 minutes, and it was requested that the buyer pick it up the same day.[86]
  • In May 2005, a Volkswagen Golf that had previously been registered to Joseph Ratzinger (then a cardinal, who had since been elected pope and chose the regnal name Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005) was sold on eBay's German site for €188,938.88 ($277,171.12 USD). The winning bid was made by the GoldenPalace.com online casino, known for their outrageous eBay purchases.[87]
  • A seaworthy 16,000-ton aircraft carrier, formerly the British HMS Vengeance, was listed early in 2004. The auction was removed when eBay determined that the vessel qualified as ordnance, even though all weapons systems had been removed.[88]
  • Water that was said to have been left in a cup Elvis Presley once drank from was sold for $455. The few tablespoons came from a plastic cup Presley sipped at a concert in North Carolina in 1977.[89]
  • Coventry University student Bill Bennett got £1.20 for a single cornflake.[90]
  • A man from Brisbane, Australia, attempted to sell New Zealand at a starting price of $0.01AUD. The price had risen to $3,000 before eBay closed the auction.[91]
  • An Australian newspaper reported in December 2004 that a single piece of the Kellogg's breakfast cereal Nutri-Grain sold on eBay for AUD$1,035 because it happened to bear a slight resemblance to the character E.T. from the Steven Spielberg movie. Apparently the seller went on to make even more money in relation to the sale for his appearance on a nationally televised current affairs program.[92]
  • One of the tunnel boring machines involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel was auctioned on eBay in 2004.[93]
  • A group of four men from Australia auctioned themselves to spend the weekend with the promise of "beers, snacks, good conversation and a hell of a lot of laughs" for AU$1,300[94]
  • Disney sold a retired Monorail Red (Mark IV Monorail) for $20,000[95]
  • The German Language Association sold the German language to call attention to the growing influence of English in modern German.[96]
  • In late November 2005, the original Hollywood Sign was sold on eBay for $450,400.[97][98]
  • In February 2007, after Britney Spears shaved all of her hair off in a Los Angeles salon, it was listed on eBay for 1 million USD before it was taken down.[99]
  • In September 2004, the Indiana Firebirds arena football team was auctioned off, first in a regular auction that failed to reach the reserve price,[100] and again as a "Buy it Now" item for $3.9 million.[101]
  • Bridgeville, California (pop. 25) was the first town to be sold on eBay in 2002, and has been up for sale 3 times since.[102]
  • In April 2005, American entrepreneur Matt Rouse sold the right to choose a new middle name for him. After receiving an $8,000 "Buy It Now" bid, the Utah courts refused to allow the name change. He currently still has his original middle name "Jean".[103]
  • In 2004, a partially eaten, 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary sold on eBay for $28,000.[104]
  • In January 2008, four golf balls were auctioned on eBay after being surgically removed from the carpet python which had inadvertently swallowed them whilst raiding eggs in a chicken enclosure. The story attracted considerable international attention and the balls eventually sold for more that AUD$1,400. The python recovered and was released.[105]
  • In May 2008, Paul Osborn of the UK listed his wife Sharon for sale on eBay, alleging that she had an affair with a coworker.[106]
  • In June 2008, Ian Usher put up his "entire life" on auction. The auction included his house in Perth, belongings, introduction to his friends, and a trial at his job.[107] When bidding closed, his "life" sold for $384,000.[108]
  • In August 2008, Dr Richard Harrington, Vice President of the UK Royal Entomological Society, announced that a fossilized aphid he bought for £20 from a seller in Lithuania, was a previously unknown species. It has been named Mindarus harringtoni after Dr Harrington. He had wanted to name it Mindarus ebayi, but this name was disallowed as being too flippant. The 45-million-year-old aphid, preserved in a piece of Baltic amber, is now housed in the Natural History Museum in London.[109]
  • In October 2008, amidst the 2008–2009 Icelandic financial crisis one seller had put up Iceland for sale. Auction started with 99 pence but had reached 10 million pounds (US $17.28 million). However, singer Björk was "not included" in the sale. The notice read Located in the mid-Atlantic ridge in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland will provide the winning bidder with — a habitable environment, Icelandic Horses and admittedly a somewhat sketchy financial situation. Bidders' questions included: "Do you offer volcano/earthquake insurance?" [110]
  • In November 2008, a Swedish man put a digitally hand-drawn picture of a 7-legged spider onto eBay. The picture stemmed from an article on the site 27bslash6.com wherein David Thorne claims to have attempted to pay a chiropractor's bill with a picture of a 7-legged spider, which he valued at $233.95. On eBay, the bidding price started at $233.95, with bidding ended at a sale price of US$10,000.[111] Both the e-mail exchange and the picture have become internet hits.[112]
  • In July 2009 Dornoch Capital Advisors placed England's Coca Cola League One Side Tranmere Rovers F.C. on eBay without permission for them to do so from owner and chairman Peter Johnson. This led to Johnson issuing a statement on the team's website saying that the team was not for sale and that he had contacted eBay to have the listing removed.[113]
  • In August 2009 a mother of six from South Arkansas auctioned off the legal rights to name her unborn child.[114]
  • In December 2009 a woman auctioned the copyright for a never before seen four-minute home video of Marilyn Monroe smoking a joint which contained marijuana.[115]

Charity auctions

Using MissionFish as an arbiter, eBay allows sellers to donate a portion of their auction proceeds to a charity of the seller's choice. The program is called eBay Giving Works in the US, and eBay for Charity[116] in the UK.

Some high-profile charity auctions have been advertised on the eBay home page, and have raised large amounts of money in a short time. For example, a furniture manufacturer raised over $35,000 for Ronald McDonald House by auctioning off beds that had been signed by celebrities.

To date the highest successful bid on a single item for charity was for a letter[117] sent to Mark P. Mays, CEO of Clear Channel (parent company of Premiere Radio Networks the production company that produces The Rush Limbaugh Show and Glenn Beck Program) by United States Senator Harry Reid and forty other Democratic senators, complaining about comments made by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The winning bid was $2,100,100, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, benefiting the education of children of men and women who have died serving in the armed forces. The winning bid was matched by Limbaugh in his largest charity donation to date.[118]

In 2007, eBay Canada partnered with Montreal-based digital branding agency CloudRaker to develop a campaign to raise money for Quebec’s national children’s hospital, Sainte-Justine. They aligned themselves with internet phenomenon Têtes à Claques to create an eBay auction based on popular T-A-C character Uncle Tom, an infomercial host who pitches absurd products. eBay and CloudRaker reproduced Uncle Tom’s imaginary products, The Body Toner Fly Swatter, The Willi Waller Potato Peeler, and the LCD Shovel and sold them online. In 6 weeks, they raised $15,000 for Hopital St-Justine with one fly swatter, one potato peeler, and one shovel, a world record. The Body Toner Fly Swatter sold for $8,600, the Willi Waller Potato Peeler sold for $3,550, and the LCD Shovel sold for $2,146.21.

Environmental record

On May 8, 2008, eBay announced the opening of its newest building on the company's North Campus in San Jose, which is the first structure in the city to be built from the ground up to LEED Gold standards.[119] The building, the first the company has built new in its 13-year existence, uses an array of 3,248 solar panels, spanning 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2), and providing 650 kilowatts of power to eBay's campus.[120][121] All told the array can supply the company with 15-18 percent of its total energy requirements, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that would be produced to create that energy by other means.[120] SolarCity, the company responsible for designing the array, estimates that the solar panels installed on eBay's campus will prevent 37 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment as a result of replaced power production over the next three decades.[121] Creating an equivalent impact to remove the same amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would require planting 322 acres (1.30 km2) of trees.[121] The design of the building also incorporates other elements to reduce its impact on the environment. The building is equipped with a lighting system that detects natural ambient light sources and automatically dims artificial lighting to save 39 percent of the power usually required to light an office building.[119] eBay's newest building also reduces demand on local water supplies by incorporating an eco-friendly irrigation system, low-flow shower heads, and low-flow faucets.[119] Even during construction, more than 75 percent of the waste from construction was recycled.[119] eBay also runs buses between San Francisco and the San Jose campus to reduce the number of commuting employees.[119]

Craigslist

In the summer of 2004, eBay acknowledged that it had acquired 25% of classified listings website, Craigslist. Former Craigslist executive Phillip Knowlton was the seller, and he insisted that his former employer was aware of his plans to divest his holdings. Initially, eBay assured Craigslist that they would not ask the company to change the way it does business. eBay spokesman Hani Durzy stated that the "investment was really for learning purposes; it gives us access to learn how the classified market online works."[122]

The classifieds service Kijiji was launched by eBay in March 2005. In April 2008, eBay sued Craigslist to "safeguard its four-year financial investment", claiming that in January 2008, Craigslist took actions that "unfairly diluted eBay's economic interest by more than 10%."[123] Craigslist countersued in May 2008 "to remedy the substantial and ongoing harm to fair competition" that Craigslist claims is constituted by eBay's actions as a Craigslist shareholder.[124] The case will be tried in Delaware and is scheduled for late June, 2009.[125]

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Cihlar, Christopher (2006). The Grilled Cheese Madonna and 99 Other of the Weirdest, Wackiest, Most Famous eBay Auctions Ever. Random House. ISBN 0-7679-2374-X.  
  • Cohen, Adam (2002). The Perfect Store: Inside eBay. Little, Brown & Company. ISBN 0-316-15048-7.  
  • Collier, Marsha (2004). eBay For Dummies. John Wiley. ISBN 0-7645-5654-1.  hi
  • Hillis, Ken and Michael Petit with Nathan Epley (2006). Everyday eBay: Culture, Collecting and Desire. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-97436-4.  
  • Jackson, Eric M. (2004). The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth. World Ahead Publishing. ISBN 0-9746701-0-3.  
  • Kent, Peter & Finlayson, Jill (2005). Fundraising on eBay. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-226248-6.  
  • Klink, Edward & Klink, Stephen (2005). Dawn of the eBay Deadbeats: True Tales of Treachery, Lies, and Fraud from the Dark Recesses of the World's Largest Online Auction Marketplace. Mooncusser Media. ISBN 0-9768372-1-8.  
  • Nissanoff, Daniel (2006). FutureShop: How the New Auction Culture Will Revolutionize the Way We Buy, Sell and Get the Things We Really Want. The Penguin Press. ISBN 1-59420-077-7.  
  • Spencer, Christopher Matthew (2006). The eBay Entrepreneur. Kaplan Publishing. ISBN 1-4195-8328-X.  
  • Walton, Kenneth (2006). FAKE: Forgery, Lies, & eBay. Simon Spotlight Entertainment. ISBN 1-4169-0711-4.  

External links


Simple English

eBay is a website. It is a place for online auctions. Anybody can sell almost anything they want there. People can buy many things there as well.

People have to send what they sell themselves, usually using mail. They can transfer the money in any way they want. A lot of people use PayPal to transfer the money. PayPal is owned by the same people as eBay. Margaret Whitman is the current CEO of the company.

History

eBay was started in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar. It was first called Auctionweb. The name 'eBay' came later when he tried to register a domain name for his planned name EchoBay. It was already taken so he shortened the name to 'eBay'.

Statistics

Millions of items are bought on eBay every day. It is very cheap to list an item on eBay. Many people look at others' items because they are interested in them.

Other websites








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