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People are only just realising what eBay really stands for after 28 years


After 28 years, many internet users are only just discovering the true meaning behind the name of popular online marketplace, eBay.

The American multinational e-commerce company was initially known as AuctionWeb when it launched in September 1995.

Its founder, Pierre Omidyar, had a vision to create a website “dedicated to bringing together buyers and sellers in an honest and open marketplace”. He spent Labor Day weekend coding on his personal computer before unveiling AuctionWeb to the world.

Pierre, as the first user, listed a broken laser pointer for sale shortly after the site’s launch. He was thrilled when Canadian Mark Fraser bought it.

Around this time, a story circulated that Pierre created the website to assist his wife in collecting Pez candy dispensers. However, eBay has since debunked this tale, with a spokesperson stating: “It’s revealed that the story was a fabricated one”.

Just a year later, the total value of goods sold on AuctionWeb hit $7.2million. But this was just the beginning of its success.

The ‘beanie babies craze’ arrived 10 months later, with eBay reporting: “Beanie Babies, Ty Warner’s line of cuddly stuffed animals, take the world by storm. $500million worth are sold on eBay alone, representing more than 6% of our total volume.”

In a surprising twist of events, AuctionWeb rebranded itself as eBay in September 1997, leaving many internet users puzzled about the reason behind this change. This led to one baffled Quora user asking: “What is the full form of eBay? , while another queried: “What does the name eBay mean?”

The company revealed that it adopted the name eBay after Echo Bay Technology Group, which was Pierre’s consulting firm. However, since the domain name echobay.com was already taken by a gold mining company named Echo Bay Mines, Pierre decided to abbreviate it to eBay.com.

As of May 2024, with a market cap of $25.36billion, eBay ranks as the world’s 782th most valuable company, according to Companies Market Cap.

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