AuctionWeb (aka eBay) is born

The year was 1995, Shaggy was number one in the charts with “Boombastic” and Michael Jackson was hot on his heels with “You are not alone”. The internet was truly growing, and Pierre Omidyar released AuctionWeb – or what we now know as eBay.

AuctionWeb was founded on September 3, 1995, by Pierre Omidyar. According to Wiki, eBay was a hobby horse for Pierre until “his Internet service provider informed him he would need to upgrade to a business account due to the high volume of traffic to his website.”

The first item for sale on AuctionWeb was a broken laser pointer and to Omidyar’s surprise, it sold for $14.83. In fact, it is reported that after the bid was taken, he contacted the buyer to ask if they understood that the laser pointer was broken. The response he received from the buyer was brilliant. It read, “I’m a collector of broken laser pointers”. You can read about that here!

AuctionWeb becomes eBay

AuctionWeb changed its name to eBay in September 1997. It got its name from Pierre Omidyar’s consulting firm, Echo Bay Technology Group. It was very nearly called echobay.com, however, this domain was taken by a gold mining company called Echo Bay Mines.

During 1997, a venture capitalist firm invested $6.7 million in funding into the business. By 1998, they had “30 employees, half a million users and a revenue of $4.7 million in the United States.”

Wiki tells us that on the day that eBay went public, their target share price was $18, however, the price went to $53.50 and Omidyar became an instant millionaire.

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