eBay Company History Timeline


The National Consumers League found that fraud reports tripled after it created its Internet Fraud Watch project in March 1996.

In November 1996, the E-Commerce platform entered into its first third-party licensing deal, with a company called Electronic Travel Auction, to use SmartMarket Technology to sell plane tickets and other travel products.

“eBay’s AuctionWeb Tops One Million Bids,” Business Wire, December 12, 1996.

During 1996, the site hosted more than 250,000 auctions in some 60 categories including Beanie Babies, stamps, coins, and computers.

eBay has continued to enjoy success after success as its online marketplace has grown exponentially since its inception in 1996.

1996: Omidyar incorporates the company as eBay Inc. in San Jose, California.

Jeffrey Skoll was hired as the first new president of the company in early 1996.


In a May 1997 press release, eBay president Jerry Skoll stated that the growth "clearly demonstrates the receptivity and the eagerness of the general public to participate in online commerce.

In September of 1997, Auction Web is officially named eBay.

The company officially changed the name of its service from AuctionWeb to eBay in September 1997, after Echo Bay Technology Group, Omidyar's consulting firm.

In November 1997, the United States Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations conducted hearings.

Late 1997 saw the business-to-business auction service OnSale Inc. add person-to-person auctions and the launch of Auction Universe Inc., a Web auction firm owned by Los Angeles Times parent Times Mirror Co.

In 1997 the company received $6.7 million in funding from the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.

Beanie Babies quickly became the dominant product on eBay, accounting for 10% of all listings in 1997, as collectors thronged eBay's user-friendly interface to search for specific Beanie Babies.


Meg Whitman was hired by the board as eBay president and CEO in March 1998.

“eBay Announces Acquisition of Jump Inc.,” Business Wire, July 21, 1998.

During 1998, that site began providing city-oriented auction sites through a group of affiliated newspapers, with each offering a local auction site run by Auction Universe.

At the end of 1998, eBay was hosting nearly 1.8 million auctions and reported a profit of $2.4 million on revenues of $47.4 million, making it one of the few Internet retailers to return solid profits.

1998: eBay reincorporates in Delaware and goes public.

Major Growth and Change: 1998

In the risk factors section of the annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in 1998, Omidyar notes eBay's dependence on the continued strength of the Beanie Babies market.


Buel, Stephen, “Amazon.com to Challenge eBay for Online Auction Market,” San Jose Mercury News, March 30, 1999.

Williams, Martyn, “eBay Eyes Japan Market for Expansion,” Newsbytes, June 22, 1999.

The first quarter of 1999 was again record-setting, with gross merchandise sales of $541 million and net revenues of $34 million.

Under Whitman, eBay saw considerable growth in 1999.


According to Forrester Research, an Internet market research firm, eBay controlled 85 percent of the online auction action, which Forrester estimated would top $3.3 billion for the year (Fortune, June 26, 2000).

Also in that same year (November, 2000) eBay allowed buyers an option to “Buy it Now,” which allowed them to purchase an item immediately, appealing to the buyer’s need for instant gratification.

Bedell, Doug, "eBay Is a Social Phenomenon As Well As a Trail-blazing Auction Site," Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, December 5, 2000. ——,

The biggest news of early 2000 was not security but the possible merger between eBay and mega-portal Yahoo.

In the year 2000, eBay University was founded that focused on helping new sellers find their footing in the global marketplace.

In 2000, eBay had 12 million registered users and a cyberinventory of more than 4.5 million items on sale on any given day.


eBay also introduced eBay Stores in June of 2001, which allowed sellers to open their own dedicated eBay store to their customers on a regular basis, emulating the rising fame of similar online ecommerce solutions popping up.

Project for IEF248a Spring 2001 Magnus Bjornsson

Yahoo, which had gained considerable ground and was the Web's third most visited firm, lost the majority of its online auction clients after starting to charge fees in the first quarter of 2001.

In 2001, Levi Strauss offered up a pair of Levi’s, reportedly the oldest in the world, and they sold for $46,000! That’s a lot to pay for fashion that resembles poverty that you wear.

In 2001, eBay had the largest userbase of any e-commerce site.


"sotheby's, ebay team up to sell fine art online—auction competitors hope joint venture will heal past weaknesses of both." the wall street journal, 31 january 2002.

"ebay and priceline.com to share travel sales." the new york times, 2 february 2002.

eBay was forced to cease operations in Japan in March 2002, two years after establishing a site there, due to Yahoo Japan Corp.'s dominance in that market, low numbers traded on the site, and tactical errors by eBay.

"online ebay expands to china." associated press, 18 march 2002.

Tedeschi, Bob. "E-Commerce Report; The Three Big Internet Portals Begin to Distinguish among Themselves as Shopping Malls." New York Times, April 8, 2002.

Barmann, Timothy, "eBay Manages to Thrive As Other Internet Startups Drop Like Flies," Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, November 11, 2002.

In early 2002 eBay signed an agreement with Priceline.com to dabble in the travel and leisure market, for which the company's 42 million registered users had already shown a keen interest.

Yahoo controlled 95 percent of the market by 2002 and eBay's dismal performance affected its hopes for worldwide dominion.

"ebay foundation." ebay inc., 2002. available at http://pages.ebay.com/community/aboutebay/foundation.

In 2002, eBay acquired PayPal, an Internet service that enables individuals and businesses to securely and easily send and receive payments online.


Since 2003, eBay Giving Works has raised over $500 million for charities.

eBay's CEO Meg Whitman made news in early 2003 by following in the footsteps of Pierre and Pam Omidyar.

2003: Revenues climb to a remarkable $2.17 billion.


After eBay raised its listing fees in January 2004, there was concern that some sellers might be more inclined to avoid listing on the site.

In 2004 the firm went on an acquisitions spree, buying Germany's mobile.de, India's Baazee.com, Korea's Internet Auction Company, Ltd., and a stake in online classifieds forum craigslist.

More than $34 billion of transactions took place in 2004 via eBay's online auctions and listings.

The campaign later won a 2004 Gold EFFIE Award in the retail category.

By 2004 eBay was the dominant online-auction site in the world.

In 2004 eBay earmarked about $250 million for United States advertising.

EBay's television commercials also helped boost the company's sales in the last quarter of 2004, which coincided with the campaign's run.

One, "Toy Boat," garnered special recognition at the Directors Guild of America Awards for 2004.


In addition Goodby, Silverstein & Partners won the $100,000 first prize at the 2005 Radio Mercury Awards for the "Abbreviated" spot.

Financial goals for the company are to reach $3 billion in revenues and $1 billion in operating profits by the year 2005, which would mean more than tripling the number of registered buyers and sellers to 150 million.


In June 2006, the President of Paypal, Rajiv Dutta was named as the President of Paypal, an emerging rock star payment processor that created a symbiotic relationship with eBay.

In 2006, eBay Motors sold its 2 millionth passenger vehicle.


On January 23, 2008, the company announced that Whitman would step down on March 31, 2008, and John Donahoe was selected to become president and CEO. Whitman remained on the board of directors and continued to advise Donahoe through 2008.

In 2008, PayPal launches a mobile app for iOS, making it one of the first apps to launch in the Apple app store for the iPhone.

By early 2008 the company had expanded worldwide, counting hundreds of millions of registered users as well as 15,000 employees and revenues of almost $7.7 billion.


Celebrated for our supportive work environment, eBay Inc. lands a coveted spot on Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For (and again in 2009).

In late 2009 eBay completed the sale of Skype for $2.75 billion, but still owned 30% equity in the company.


On September 30, 2014, eBay announced it would spin off PayPal into a separate publicly traded company, a demand made nine months prior by activist hedge fund magnate Carl Icahn.

In 2014, the program expands to Australia and the U.K.

Tapped as our CEO Designee in 2014, Devin Wenig takes over as eBay CEO.


In September of 2015, the online auction giant celebrated its 20th anniversary of offering new and used items for sale on eBay.

eBay and PayPal announce plans to become independent companies in 2015, enabling both to sharpen their strategic focus and hone in on innovative growth opportunities in their respective markets.


Flipkart and eBay entered into a strategic partnership in 2017 under which eBay Inc acquired a 5.44% stake in Flipkart in exchange for its eBay India business for $211 Mn and a $514 Mn cash investment.


On January 31, 2018, eBay announced that they would replace PayPal as its primary payments provider with Netherlands-based start-up Adyen.

eBay raised a record amount in 2018 by connecting buyers and sellers to the causes they care about most.


On July 31, 2019, the company acquired a 5.59 percent stake in Paytm Mall.


On April 13, 2020, it was announced that Jamie Iannone would become the CEO on April 27.

In July 2020, Adevinta announced to acquire eBay Classifieds Group.


Wernick, Ellen; Rhodes, Nelson "eBay Inc. ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved June 22, 2022 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/ebay-inc

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eBay is 28 years old.

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Pierre Morad Omidyar founded eBay.

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eBay may also be known as or be related to AuctionWeb (1995–1997), Ebay Inc., eBay, eBay Inc and eBay Inc.