History of eBay: from an idea to hundreds of thousands of transactions per day in just a couple of months
Buying goods on the Internet in our time is not even a trend, but quite an ordinary phenomenon. There are both full-fledged online stores and individual online auctions. EBay is the leader in the last niche for over 20 years.
The history of eBay began in the late 90s, when the Frenchman Pierre Omidyar finally realized his long-standing idea of bringing a project to the market where people could sell their goods.
The origin of eBay
Of course, eBay did not appear on level ground. After graduating from school and university, Pierre Omidyar first worked at Apple, where he developed software for the revolutionary Macintosh computer. Then, in 1991, he launched the Ink Development Company, which carried out sales via the Internet, with partners.
After another 3 years, the businessman moved to General Magic, as a service development engineer. After Microsoft acquired the company, Pierre Omidyar decided to start his own project – a platform where he could sell his goods.
As a result, in 1995 he founded the AuctionWeb platform. The online auction was free and immediately attracted the attention of users. Starts in the fall, by the end of the year thousands of deals were made there a day.
After a couple of years, the site changed the sign. Pierre Omidyar wanted to call him the Echo Bay Technology Group, but the domain EchoBay.com was already busy by that time. Thus, the familiar eBay name has appeared.
Further history of eBay
The platform has been developing at a tremendous pace. While similar services charged 30% of the transaction fee from customers, eBay worked without it at all. However, over time, from a startup, he grew into a full-fledged business, which took more and more time and required financial investments. Soon the site still set a commission, but at a rate of only 6% and only on the price of the goods. In a couple of months, the profit obtained in this way began to bring Pierre Omidyar more money than the salary in General Magic, so the businessman reasonably decided to give him all his time.
As early as 1997, up to 80,000 transactions per day were made on eBay. More than 1 million people used the service. Pierre Omidyar held the position of CEO, financial director, and other important positions. This workload did not allow him to work effectively. He began searching for a qualified manager who would take over some of the tasks.
After a series of interviews, (one of the candidates was even Steve Jobs, who eventually returned to Apple), Margaret Whitman, former executive director of Hasbro, became eBay’s top manager.
Her arrival happened just at the moment when other players of the IT market, in particular, Yahoo!, began to launch their online auctions with more favorable conditions. In response, eBay signed a contract with the AOL Internet provider, which increased the credibility of the site. In 1998, the brainchild of Pierre Omidyar held an IPO.
In the early 2000s, the project is also actively developed. Users were able to pay for goods with a credit card, and then through PayPal, which eBay bought for one and a half billion dollars in 2002.
The following year, they sold goods worth $ 2 billion at the site, and the number of users reached 95 million. At the end of 2018, the company’s revenues amounted to almost 11 billion dollars, and its net profit was about three billion. To date, 180 million people use eBay services. Here you can buy and sell everything that is not prohibited by law.