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Our History



AuctionWeb is Born

After spending Labor Day weekend at home writing code on his personal computer, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launches AuctionWeb, a site "dedicated to bringing together buyers and sellers in an honest and open marketplace."

Pierre's First Sale

Canadian Mark Fraser purchased the first item that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar listed on the site in 1995 -- a broken laser pointer.

Pez Dispenser Myth

A story is circulated that Pierre created eBay to help his wife collect Pez candy dispensers. Later, it’s revealed that the story was a fabricated one.



Our First Employee

Pierre hires employee #1, Chris Agarpao, to help coordinate the fast-growing company’s online operations. Twenty years later, Chris is still an eBay employee.

$7.2 Million Worth of Goods Sold

The total value of merchandise sold on AuctionWeb reaches $7.2 million.


Photo Source: Celebrity Net Worth

Our First President

Pierre quits his day job to devote himself fulltime to his innovative auction website and brings Jeff Skoll on board as President.


Our First Office

Pierre and Jeff rent a small suite (#250) at 1025 Hamilton Avenue in San Jose, CA, in what’s now known as Building 6 (Music) on the current eBay campus.



Beanie Babies Craze

Beanie Babies, Ty Warner’s line of cuddly stuffed animals, take the world by storm. $500 million worth are sold on eBay alone, representing more than 6% of our total volume.


Seller Feedback Introduced

We introduce Feedback Forum, allowing our members to rate their transactions and create a virtual community of openness and confidence.

Millionth Item Sold

We sell our millionth item! A Big Bird jack-in-the-box toy from PBS’ Sesame Street.


eBay is Born

AuctionWeb is officially renamed eBay.



Photo Source: Christophe Langlois

Meg Whitman Joins eBay

Business leader Meg Whitman joins as President and CEO.


My eBay

The launch of "My eBay" customizes the eBay experience.


Photo Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

One of the First Acquisitions

We make an early acquisition, adding Jump Inc. and its person-to-person online trading site, Up4Sale.


eBay Goes Public

After a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) in September, we list shares on NASDAQ under the symbol EBAY. Expected to trade for $18, our shares shatter expectations and reach $53.50 in just one day.


eBay Foundation Established

The eBay Foundation becomes the first corporate foundation to be endowed with pre-IPO stock. Since then, it has given over $30 million to nonprofit organizations worldwide.



Site Outage and Lessons Learned

On June 10, 1999, the site goes down. In the middle of the night, CEO Meg Whitman rallies more than 50 engineers from eBay and SunMicrosystems to fix the problem. Less than 20 hours later since the outage began, eBay is back up and open for business.


Global Expansion

We launch sites in Germany, Australia and the U.K. As of today, eBay is available in 180 countries. 



eBay Office Expands

We continue growing in the U.S. and around the world! In San Jose, the company moves into additional buildings at our current headquarters, then known as eBay Park.


Introducing eBay Motors

We launch eBay Motors, the online automotive marketplace. In 2006, eBay Motors sold its 2 millionth passenger vehicle.


Photo Source: Jim “Griff” Griffith

Opening eBay University

We hold our first eBay University course, teaching users how to become master sellers. The format proves to be a huge success, and eBay University classes continue to be offered around the world today.

July joins eBay

We announce we will buy, making it easier than ever to sell your movies, music, books and games online.


Photo Source: The Guardian

Introducing “Buy It Now”

We introduce a new fixed-price feature, "Buy It Now," which allows users to buy an item instantly at a set price.

The eBay API

Our first Application Programming Interface (API) goes live. Now developers across the world can harness the power of eBay by building their own custom interfaces with unique functionality.



Auctioning Very Old Levi’s

The oldest known pair of Levi’s sells on eBay for more than $46,000 to Levi Strauss & Co., making fashion history.


Introducing eBay Stores

eBay Stores, a new online storefront directory, launches as a way for people to have their own customized online businesses for just a few dollars a month.

Photo Source: SF Gate. Photo Credit: Susan Goldman, Bloomberg News.

First eBay Live! Conference

Anaheim, California hosts the first eBay Live! Conference, bringing together sellers, buyers, journalists, developers, and lovers of all things eBay for action-packed days of learning and networking. 


Photo Source: Complex

A Jet Sells for Millions

A Gulfstream jet sells for $4.9 million, setting a new price record for eBay.


Auction for America

We unveil Auction for America, enabling more than 100,000 users to raise over $10 million for the victims of September 11 and their families. To date, our Giving Works program has supported over 30,000 charities. 



eBay Acquires PayPal

We purchase PayPal, unifying the web’s largest marketplace and an innovative system for secure and hassle-free payment. Being part of eBay Inc. for more than a decade enabled PayPal's strong growth and global leadership position in digital payments. Together, PayPal and eBay’s strong synergies benefit both businesses for years. PayPal is spun off 13 years later into an independent company in July 2015.



eBay Giving Works: $500 Million

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


PayPal Buyer Protection

eBay transactions become even more secure as PayPal’s Buyer Protection services are implemented for all transactions on the site.

Weird Al Premieres “eBay” Song

Weird Al performs his new song “eBay” at eBay Live! in Orlando, FL. The song goes on to become a major hit.

Photo Source: Amazon

"eBay Bible" Published

The Official eBay Bible by Jim Griffith, Employee #11, is published.


Fortune’s List: 8th Fastest Growing Company

We grab some worldwide recognition by claiming the 8th spot on Fortune's list of Fastest Growing Companies.



Dream Big, Save Big

We launch the Dream Big. Save Big. campaign to support small business buying on eBay. 


The Power of All of Us

We launch our North America brand campaign, The Power of All of Us, celebrating the power of ecommerce and built on the idea that people are basically good.


Photo Source: Celebrity Net Worth

Jeff Jordan Named PayPal President

Jeff Jordan, Senior Vice President and general manager of eBay North America, is named President of PayPal. joins eBay

We announce our agreement to acquire, the leading website for rental housing in the U.S. In 2012, we sell to Primedia.



We welcome John Donahoe as eBay Marketplaces President

John Donahoe is named President of eBay Marketplaces. He goes on to serve as President and CEO of eBay from 2008-2015.


eBay Creates Kijiji

We launch a local classified advertising site called Kijiji. Named for the Swahili word for “village,” Kijiji connects users with their neighbors in search of goods and services in almost a dozen countries. Kijiji is now a part of eBay Classifieds.


eBay Acquires Gumtree

Expanding our classifieds presence, we purchase Gumtree, a leading global classified-listing site.


10 years and counting!

We celebrate our 10th birthday!

Main Street Launches

Our Main Street program launches as a grassroots community of ecommerce advocates interested in how public policy may affect their ability to buy and sell online. Today, the global network numbers over 275,000 members!


eBay Acquires Skype

We complete our acquisition of pioneering Internet communications company Skype. In 2009, we sell Skype to a group of investors while retaining a 30% stake in the company.



United Nations Global Compact

We join the United Nations Global Compact, the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world, demonstrating our belief in the power of business to drive positive social and environmental impact.


Photo Source: The Life of Luxury

Gigayacht: Most Expensive Item Sold on eBay

A Frank Mulder designed gigayacht becomes the most expensive item ever sold on eBay, auctioning off for $168 million, according to news reports.


PayPal Goes Mobile

PayPal debuts its first mobile application, allowing millions of PayPal users to send money on the go.  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.


Photo Source: CGU

Rajiv Dutta Named PayPal President

Rajiv Dutta is the new President of PayPal. He previously served as President of Skype.



eBay Acquires StubHub

We purchase StubHub and become the world's largest online marketplace for tickets.


eBay Green Team

The eBay Green Team starts with 40 passionate San Jose based employees. Since then, Green Teams have taken root with thousands of employees who promote sustainable business practices, inspire environmentally conscious actions and volunteer for green projects in their communities.



New PayPal President: Scott Thompson

PayPal’s Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Scott Thompson, is named President.


John Donahoe Named eBay Inc. CEO

John Donahoe, business leader and President of eBay Marketplaces, succeeds Meg Whitman to become President and CEO of eBay Inc. He’s named the #1 Internet CEO by Institutional Investor magazine.

Top 100 Best Companies to Work For

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).


Greenest Building in San Jose

The PayPal campus becomes the greenest building in San Jose with the opening of the city’s first LEED® Gold-certified building. At the time of opening, the campus was also home to San Jose’s largest commercial solar installation to date.


PayPal’s 10th Anniversary

Happy 10th birthday, PayPal! By its first decade, PayPal has 150 million accounts across 190 countries, with a total payment volume exceeding $60 billion.

eBay becomes an App

eBay is one of the first companies to launch an iPhone application and is featured during the Apple app store launch. Today, the app is available on other operating systems including Android. 


Lorrie Norrington Named eBay President

Lorrie Norrington becomes the new President of eBay Marketplaces.


Photo Source: Spokeo

National Medal of Technology & Innovation

eBay becomes the first Internet company to be awarded America’s highest honor for technological achievement, the National Medal of Technology & Innovation. The award recognizes our outstanding contributions to entrepreneurship worldwide.


eBay Adds Bill Me Later

We bring in the leading web-based payment platform Bill Me Later, offering buyers even greater flexibility in their online purchasing. Soon after, eBay and PayPal team up to offer customers a “Bill Me Later” option during checkout. Today, the service is known as PayPal Credit, joining PayPal Working Capital to offer consumers and businesses a powerful range of flexible credit solutions.  


Photo Source: Mashable

Jack Sheng Sets Record

Jack Sheng of eForcity Inc. sets an eBay Marketplaces record, becoming the first seller to receive a feedback score of 1,000,000. In honor of this, we named a conference room after him.



100% Rating from the Human Rights Campaign

In recognition of our commitment to a discrimination-free workplace, eBay receives a perfect 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign – a distinction the company has received six years in a row.


Top-Rated Seller Status

We begin recognizing outstanding sellers with our new Top-Rated Seller status, helping buyers find the eBay sellers who most consistently deliver exceptional customer service.


eBay Promotes Deals

eBay launches its Deals app, offering buyers and sellers great deals every day.



eBay comes to the iPad

eBay is on the iPad during its launch! Our new iPad app takes advantage of the tablet’s stunning visuals to build a beautiful and easily shoppable venue. The app is one of the first featured at the Apple keynote debuting the iPad.


eBay Adds

We acquire, a leader in web-based local product search, helping launch local products on eBay. 



Photo Source: John Murray

Women’s Initiative Network (WIN)

We launch the WIN program to support women in building lasting, successful careers in the company. WIN also provides opportunities for women at all levels to learn, grow, and develop.


The Opportunity Project Opens

Advancing our Social Innovation commitments, the eBay Foundation launches The Opportunity Project. Our signature grant-making program supports entrepreneurial solutions to expand economic opportunity in impoverished communities in the U.S. and emerging markets.

eBay Adds GSI Commerce (eBay Enterprise)

We announce the acquisition of ecommerce specialist GSI Commerce, now known as eBay Enterprise. eBay Enterprise provides commerce technologies, omni-channel operations and marketing solutions to brands and retailers of all sizes.

Ethisphere: World’s Most Ethical Companies

We’re honored to be named one of the world's most ethical companies by the Ethisphere Institute, a leading business ethics think tank. We will go on to receive this designation for four years straight.


Major Stake in GittiGidyor

We announce that we will purchase a majority stake in Turkey’s principal online marketplace, GittiGidyor.


eBay Acquires Magento

To facilitate even stronger open platforms, we announce we will acquire Magento, a leading toolset for open-source ecommerce.


eBay Acquires Zong

We expand our mobile capabilities and announce our acquisition of Zong, a leading mobile carrier billing-based payments platform.


eBay Welcomes Devin Wenig

Former Thomson Reuters Markets CEO Devin Wenig joins as President of eBay Marketplaces. 



Photo Source: PayPal

PayPal Here Announced

PayPal announces PayPal Here, the first mobile payment solution that allows small businesses to accept nearly any form of payment, no matter their size.


Photo Source: All Things Digital

PayPal Welcomes David Marcus

Entrepreneur David Marcus, who came to eBay via the Zong acquisition, is named President of PayPal.


$3+ Million Power Lunch with Warren Buffett

The annual charity auction for a power lunch with Warren Buffett goes for a record $3.46 million.


Global Shipping Program Launched

We launch a Global Shipping Program, helping U.S. sellers grow their businesses by more easily shipping to international buyers. 



PayPal’s Working Capital Initiative

PayPal pilots its Working Capital initiative, a new loan program for Small Business. By the end of the year, Working Capital enables thousands of SMBs to borrow tens of millions of dollars. In 2014, the program expands to Australia and the U.K.

Braintree Acquisition

To strengthen PayPal’s online payment capabilities, we add an innovative payment platform, Braintree.

Bloom Energy Servers

Advancing our commitment to cleaner energy sources, we open the world’s first data center to use Bloom Energy Servers™ as the primary, on-site power source, instead of the traditional electric utility grid.


Digital Storefronts Unveiled

Pointing the way to the physical storefront of the future, we unveil three connected storefronts at San Francisco’s Westfield Shopping Mall. Customers can browse items in a virtual window, pay using PayPal, and arrange for free home delivery



Machine Translation Tools

Our path-breaking Machine Translation Tools help drive cross-border commerce, enabling the company to reach consumers in markets like Russia and Latin America.


PayPal Available in 203 Countries

PayPal announces 10 new international markets and is now accessible in 203 countries.


eBay Joins with Sotheby’s

Proving that art isn’t only for the super rich, we join forces with Sotheby’s to offer mid-priced works of art in a virtual live-auction format.


Photo Source: Wired

Superman Comic Sold for $3.2 Million

A well-preserved copy of Superman #1 is sold for $3.2 million on eBay. It’s the most expensive comic book ever sold.


eBay and PayPal to Become Two New Companies

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.

Welcoming Dan Schulman

Consumer brands expert Dan Schulman is named as PayPal’s President and CEO designee.



eBay Spins Off PayPal

eBay and PayPal trade as separate companies on Nasdaq stock exchange. 

Photo Source: The Countelegraph

Devin Wenig is eBay’s Fourth CEO

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


eBay’s 20th Anniversary

Happy 20th birthday, eBay!


eBay Inc. Completes Sale of eBay Enterprise

eBay Inc. completes the sale of eBay Enterprise to a consortium of businesses for $925 million.

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