Every industry resembles a classic kingdom with a strict hierarchy, its own laws, and regulation. And like in every kingdom the major role belongs to a King. If we take online auctions and marketplaces market kingdom there is an obvious King –eBay, of course!
Let’s follow the story of eBay’s success from the very beginning. eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar from San Jose in September 1995. In those times it was called AuctionWeb made as a part of a larger personal website. From the start, eBay was meant to be a marketplace for the sale of goods and services for individuals.
In 1998, Pierre and his cofounder Jeff Skoll cooperated with Meg Whitman to sustain the success. Meg had studied at the Harvard Business School and had learned the importance of branding at companies such as Hasbro.
Meg gathered her senior staff from companies such as Pepsico and Disney, created an experienced management team with an average of 20 years of business experience and built a strong vision for the company — that eBay is a company that’s in the business of connecting people, not selling them things.
Very quickly they shaped the image of only auctioning collectibles which moved them into an array of upscale markets where the average sale price (ASP) is higher. ASP is a key metric in determining eBay’s transaction fees, so increasing the ASP became an important item. By forging partnerships with brands such as GM, Disney and Sun, eBay has managed to do exactly that. Sun has sold $10 million worth of equipment and it now lists between 20 and 150 items per day.
eBay has both fostered and globalized traditional person-to-person trading, which has evolved from garage sales, collectibles shows, flea markets and more. This facilitates easy exploration for buyers and enables the sellers to immediately list an item for sale within minutes of registering.
1. eBay was Originally Called AuctionWeb
2. The First AuctionWeb Logo Was Called the “Death Bar”
3. The First Item Listed on eBay was a Broken Laser Pointer
4. The eBay HQ Building Names Reflect Categories on eBay
5. Jack Sheng Was the First to Reach a Feedback Score of One Million
6. Fixed-Price Format Trumps Auction Format
7. Mobile is Used for Big Ticket Purchases
8. The Most Expensive eBay.com Purchase: A Jet