eBay is a web platform that specializes in buying and selling products and online auctions. On Ebay, anyone can sell new and used objects by defining the value of the auction. The highest bidder wins the item through online betting. Founded in 1995 in San José, California, Ebay is now the most used and well-known online auction site in the world with more than 128 million active users between individuals and small companies. On average, more than 500 million products are for sale on Ebay at any given time.
In 1995, the franco-Iranian computer programmer, Pierre Omidyar created the prototype for a website where people could publish advertisements that he called Auction Web. To test the page, Omidyar sold a broken laser pointer. The item unexpectedly received a bid of 15 dollars from a collector. Omidyar saw the potential of the project. He realized that on the web, you can sell just about anything and someone will be willing to buy it. You just have to connect the supply and demand.
The idea became a business when Omidyar, to pay the cost of the Internet service provider, began to implement a commission on each sale. From 1996 to 1997, the number of auctions rose from 200 thousand to 2 million per year. In 1997, the company received venture capital financing in the amount of 6.7 million dollars and officially changed its name to eBay. The name was derived from Echo Bay Technology Group, Omidyar's consulting firm. The company was listed in 1998. Omidyar was 31 years old. In 2002, after years of growth and expansion, eBay bought PayPal, the electronic payment company.
Ebay was listed on Wall Street, on the Nasdaq index of technology companies. In 2013, Ebay had registered revenues of 16 billion dollars. Meg Whitman and John Donahoe took over running the company from Omidyar..
Over the years, many diverse items have been sold on Ebay. In 2005, host Tim Shaw announced on the radio that he was leaving his family to become engaged to the model who he was interviewing during the announcement, Jodie Marsh. His wife promptly responded by putting his coupé car for sale on Ebay with the "buy it now" option. The car was put up for sale for 50 pounds.
Through his charitable foundation, the Omidyar Network, Omidyar has given more than $270 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations to support economic development programs.