eBay History

eBay history dates back to Labor Day of 1995 when Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Skoll founded AuctionWeb in Pierre’s living room.

Starting in February of 1996, AuctionWeb sellers were charged a fee when their auctions closed successfully. In May, a fee was added when sellers created auctions.

On Labor Day 1997, AuctionWeb officially became eBay.

In March of 1998, Media Matrix named eBay the “Most Visited Auction Site”.

Meg Whitman joined eBay as CEO in 1998.

eBay history was forever changed when the eBay IPO occurred on 24 September, 1998.

The eBay Foundation was launched in 1998.

eBay purchased Butterfield & Butterfield in April of 1999.

eBay purchased Billpoint in May of 1999.

eBay purchased Alando in June of 1999.

The eBay’s API (Application Programming Interface) was introduced in 2000.

eBay continues to grow and evolve to better serve eBay’s loyal customer base. eBay history is constantly being made, and eBay is frequently making history!

eBay Financial History

For information on eBay’s financial history, visit the official eBay Financial History page.


eBay History: The Perfect Store

If you are interested in learning more about eBay history, I recommend The Perfect Store, Adam Cohen’s excellent book on eBay history.


The Perfect Store: Inside eBay
The Perfect Store: Inside eBay
In the short but wild history of the Internet, few companies have developed such an ideal approach to utilizing the uniqueness of the medium for business as eBay–hence the title of Adam Cohen’s colorful and insightful corporate biography The Perfect Store. Cohen, chief technology writer for Time magazine before joining The New York Times’ editorial board, is the only journalist to receive complete cooperation from the company for such a project, and the combination of access and experience leads to a well-researched and well-written tale capturing the essence of this online auction-house phenomenon. In the process, Cohen reveals how the pioneering site first developed into a vibrant virtual community, then a cultural icon and a model for Web-based commerce that reported revenue of $749 million in 2001.From its beginnings as a hobby site on a Silicon Valley PC, to its maturation as a real company under the burgeoning fiscal pressures of cyberspace, to its present status as one of the few original e-business practitioners to survive the dot.com implosion, eBay has always been part of the crowd while managing to stand out from it. Cohen helps us understand why by taking us inside the heads of major players like Pierre Omidyar, the cofounder who imbued his site with a Libertarian philosophy responsible for its heart and soul, and Meg Whitman, the seasoned manager who brought business savvy and a Harvard MBA to its roller-coaster world. What helps make the book so readable and informative, though, are Cohen’s accompanying observations of the many other people and events that also helped eBay develop its trademark direction and characteristic personality: the company that formulated its distinctive logo, the Kansas City clothing-iron collectors whose pastime was transformed by the upstart Web site, the quirky listings that generated controversy (and publicity) like the one in 1999 for a “fully functional kidney,” even detractors who decry its big-business underpinnings. Fans of the site, along with students of the online world in general, will find Cohen’s account both instructive and enjoyable.