eBay embodies the image of a perfect shop where everyone can shop for everything conceivable. The term ‘everything’ is used here in its broadest possible connotation and the reason for doing so would be clear when we consider the fact that the items listed for auctioning include things ranging from the necessary. They are electric equipments to collectibles like a scrapped fighter jet with a starting bid of $1,000,000 and the downright eccentric like the sale of an unwanted Brussels sprout left over after a Christmas dinner for £1550. eBay which has, for the better or for the worse, changed the way millions of people across the globe shop, is owned and run by eBay Inc., an American internet company. In addition to the original website in the United States, eBay has today established localized websites in about thirty other countries and has become one of the roaring success stories in the history of American corporations.
The auction website was founded by French born Iranian computer programmer, Pierre Omidyar as part of a larger personal site on September 3, 1995. The very first item that was sold on this site was a broken laser pointer, which brought Omidyar a revenue of $14.83. A much astonished, Omidyar contacted the winning bidder to ask if he understood that fact that the item being auctioned was broken. The buyer explained, “I’m a collector of broken laser pointers”, in the mail sent in response to the seller’s query. This opened Omidyar’s eyes to the enormous potential that such a website held where the supply of even otherwise ‘useless’ items met with demand generated by the thousands of bidders worldwide. Chris Agarpao was hired as eBay’s first employee and Jeffrey Skoll was hired as the first president of the company in early 1996. In 1997, the company received approximately $5 million funds from the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital and the company officially changed the name of its service from AuctionWeb to eBay in September the same year. eBay went public on September 21, 1998 and both Omidyar and Skoll became instant billionaires.
The wonderful thing about this site is that it allows the sale and purchase of virtually everything, provided it does not violate the eBay Prohibited and Restricted Items policy. Services and intangibles are sold here too. Large international companies, such as IBM, sell their newest products and offer services on eBay using competitive auctions and fixed-priced storefronts. Of course controversies have also been generated due to the nature of some of the items put up for sale in eBay. For instance, in late 1999, a man listed one of his kidneys for auction on eBay. Also, eBay has been under scrutiny for being a source for shop lifters and thieves to put up their stolen items for sale. Auctioning stuff at eBay can also be potentially dangerous because it might actually manifest and grow into an addiction. There has been instances of both teenagers and adults stealing stuff just because they ran out of things to auction off and put up for sale at eBay. Inspite of all such controversies eBay looks here to stay and there’s no denying that!
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