The History of eBay
eBay was founded in Pierre Omidyar's San Jose living room back in September 1995. It was from the start meant to be a marketplace for the sale of goods and services for individuals.
In 1998, Pierre and his cofounder Jeff Skoll brought in 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 culled 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.
They quickly shed the image of only auctioning collectibles and moved 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 namebrands
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.
The Business Model
eBay has built an online person-to-person trading community on the Internet, using the World Wide Web. Buyers and sellers are brought together in a manner where sellers are permitted to list items for sale, buyers to bid on items of interest and all eBay users to browse through listed items in a fully automated way. The items are arranged by topics, where each type of auction has its own category.
eBay has both streamlined and globalized traditional person-to-person trading, which has traditionally been conducted through such forms as garage sales, collectibles shows, flea markets and more, with their web interface. This facilitates easy exploration for buyers and enables the sellers to immediately list an item for sale within minutes of registering.
Browsing and bidding on auctions is free of charge, but sellers are charged two kinds of charges:
eBay notifies the buyer and seller via e-mail at the end of the auction if a bid exceeds the seller's minimum price, and the seller and buyer finish the transaction independently of eBay. The binding contract of the auction is between the winning bidder and the seller only.
Project for IEF248a