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Online Auctions

eBay Inc. is an American E-commerce company that is primarily known for its auction-based online marketplace where individuals and businesses buy and sell a wide array of goods and services. Private individuals as well as businesses of various sizes can post items they’re looking to sell, and users can then bid on said items directly through the company’s platform. eBay then collects a portion of the sale as a commission. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq.

Founding Story

The first form of the company saw the light of day in 1995 when Pierre Omidyar launched Auction Web as a part of a larger personal website. The first item sold was a broken laser pointer, indicating to Omidyar that he might be on to something regarding online auctions. In 1997, the company was officially renamed eBay, and it quickly became a popular platform for buying and selling during a time when online auctions and shopping were much more of a novelty than what it is today.

The Platform

eBay operates as an online marketplace, facilitating consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales through its website. It's known for its auction-style sales model, but it also allows for traditional retail transactions. Sellers list items, ranging from electronics, fashion, collectibles, vehicles, and much more and buyers bid or buy outright. eBay provides a platform where individuals and businesses can buy and sell new, used, and unique items worldwide. It generates revenue by charging listing fees and taking a percentage of the final sale price.

Global Auctions

The eBay of today is a truly global enterprise, active in over 190 different countries worldwide. This extensive international presence not only expands the user base but also diversifies the variety of products available, offering a global shopping experience for its users, while sellers can reach buyers from all over the world. eBay is today one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, and while the business model might be similar to what Amazon and Alibaba offer, the items are more often than not more unique than what can be found on platforms focusing strictly on B2C sales.