A Short History of eBay

A Short History of eBay
Since its founding back in 1995, eBay has celebrated a number of successes.

With sales from the start, it has grown exponentially over the years into the global marketplace that it is today.

It is the biggest online auction-based company, used by customers all over the world. Its ups and downs have all played a role in its ever-changing status.

You can buy almost anything that you can think of on the site, often at cheaper prices that would find in high street stores.

Currently, the business employs about 12,600 people and has a revenue of $8.97 billion! The site is home to over a billion products.

Although in the beginning the majority of items were second hand, this ratio has now reversed. Today, 81% of goods are brand new and are sold by 6.7 million sellers.

Below you can find out the timeline of events that have led to the business eBay is today.
A Short History of eBay - Infographic

1995- In the Beginning…

1995 saw the very emergence of the global marketplace that we today know as eBay. The company’s creator, Pierre Omidyar, founded a small auction-based company which he called ‘Auction Web’. The start-up was based in his own home at first and saw the sale do a few small, used items. The aim was for the company to be a marketplace for both goods and services.

This year also saw the first sale. A Canadian collectioner purchased the broken laser pointer that was up for sale on Auction Web. Although this may sound like a pointless item, he claimed it was exactly what he was looking for.

1996 - Baby Steps

In 1996, Pierre and his business partner brought on board a third party under the name of Meg Whitman. The company also started to hire employees, starting with a man named Chris Agarpao. His role was to help to coordinate the online operations, and he is still an employee to this day.

In this year Pierre also founded eBay’s feedback system. It was created for users to rate their buying experience and tell others which tellers to trust and which to avoid.

1997 - Rapid Growth

Only 2 years after its founding, the company saw its millionth sale in 1997. The item was a Bird Bird Jack in the Box. The auction site found success very quickly, with reported over 7.2 million dollars worth of sales in its first 2 years of business.

The company also changed its name from Auction Web to the one that we know today, eBay.

2000 - University

In the year 2000, eBay University opened its doors. The university focused on helping new sellers find their footing when it came to selling their goods on the eBay platform. It was initially very successful and was used by many businessmen and women.

In November of 2000, a new way to make a purchase was also created. As well as just bidding for items, eBay opened the ‘Buy it now’ option. As the name suggests, this alternative allowed customer to make a purchase immediately for a set price. This option was very popular among buyers, and to this day is still a regularly used option by eBay users.

2002 - Expansion

Another huge milestone was reached in 2002. PayPal was acquired by eBay in June for a huge $1.5 billion. At the time, more than 70% of all eBay auction listings accepted PayPal payments, and it became the payment method that was used by the majority of eBay users.

2015 - Diversification

eBay and PayPal had a good run together, but it was not a venture that lasted too long. In 2015 the businesses decided to part ways and become separate companies. For a long time, PayPal was the sole payment processing system used by eBay, but then they started introducing others to accommodate a larger range of buyers.

Although the companies are now separate from each other, PayPal is still widely used by eBay users, and is still the preferred payment method for both buyers and sellers.

It was in September of this year that eBay celebrated its 20th anniversary. The big day was commemorated with a huge gathering at the eBay headquarters.