Since its founding by Iranian-American Pierre Omidyar in June 1967, eBay (originally named Auction Web) has emerged as the leading bidding website in the world. From the first item ever sold on eBay (a broken laser pointer which sold for $14.83) to the most expensive item ever auction a 405-foot, steel mega-yacht which sold for $168 million, eBay has maintained the enthusiasm of customers around the world. But what makes eBay so successful when others have failed? Simply stated, eBay has very little competition. Yes, there are several online bidding sites such as,, and but these websites do not have near enough popularity or selling volume as eBay does. When looking at eBay as one of the most successful ecommerce businesses there are some very interesting facts about eBay including:

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• Each and every day there are over 95 million eBay users each who spend $894 per second.
• There are approximately 2 million new items offered on eBay each day
• There are over 19 million auctions, divided into 45,00 different categories at any given moment of the day
• Everyday more than 100,000 individuals register to buy and sell on eBay
• Everyday more than 10,000,000 bids are placed on eBay.
• EBay employs over 17,700 employees worldwide
• eBay owns PayPal and Skype (as well as many other holding companies)
• Twenty-four percent of all e-commerce in the United States in 2004 took place on
• Website revenue in 2010 amounted to some $9 billion with approximately $2 billion of operating income.

When reviewing eBay’s website for it viability and content, there are several key areas that are the defining reason why eBay is so successful including:

Strategic Intent
The website clearly directs the user towards their initial intent (buy or sell and item). Upon arriving at the home page, it is clear that the website’s object is online commerce.

The eBay oversized search bar is placed directly in the middle of the home page and includes sub-categories if you so desire. The instantaneous results appear and the intended buyer may either make a bid and await the countdown (can be hours up to a week or so). The buyer can also place a “buy me now” which is a set price a buyer can pay without going through the bidding process (although, the price is generally on the high end). Once you made your bid or buy me now, you make your payment (usually through PayPal) set up the where to ship and within days your purchase is at your front door. Generally, the whole eBay process is generally straightforward and more than likely the reason why so many individuals use eBay for their ecommerce needs. Also noted is that eBay does have certain rules that must be followed, and much of these rules are covered in eBay’s User Agreement page. Fellow eBay members can provide negative (or positive) feedback after a transaction. Which if enough bad feedback, will poise individuals not purchase from you or even worse, being banned from eBay entirely. There is also a buyer protection code which is similar to a money back guarantee for purchasers.

Content Organization
eBay has a multitude of hypertext links which will direct the user to either sell or buy an item. When shopping, an individual only needs to go to the “Shop by Category” which has hundreds of categories and sub-categories. The shopper need only point and click in order to search what they are looking for. When conducting a search, making a purchase or selling an item, eBay’s directions and item descriptions are written in plain English (no fancy jargon).

With its internationally-recognized Logo in the left-hand corner of each page, a distinctive simplistic white background can be found on many of eBay’s pages. Shoppers and purchasers do not need fancy colors, they just want to get on the site find what they are looking for and leave.

Brand Preference
Since its inception, and many years of online ecommerce success, eBay has become one of the most recognizable brands on the Internet. Ecommerce buyers and shoppers almost instantly identify with eBay when considering to purchase or sell an item. There are numerous instances whereas business have closed up shop (e.g. their physical location) and sell exclusively on eBay and have been and continue to be quite successful.

Content Freshness
As there are millions of items on the multitude of categories for sale on eBay, Thousands of items are added each and every hour and their content is refreshed almost instantly. As eBay tends to keep track of what the user has viewed as well as previous purchases, there are several hyperlinks that direct the user to those areas.

Page Load Time
No matter what the speed time of your home or office connection is, the eBay webmasters have found a way to make the site’s most intricate pages appear rather quickly. Whether waiting to see the final bid for an item you are selling, or waiting to see if the price you bid will be the winning offer, the page load times are incredibly fast.

Content Organization
As eBay is both a buyer and sellers’ website, there is an extreme amount of content available when viewing webpages. On some pages, there seems to be an overcrowding of graphics as well as multiple hyperlinks. Perhaps if eBay had a single website for buyers and another for sellers, the website would be much easier to navigate.

EBay will continue to thrive as the market for ecommerce grows each and every day. There are individual sellers who upon going up to their attics, find items they no longer wish to keep, and by placing it on eBay, can sell that item to another and even make money doing so. For the buyer, the opportunities are limitless, you can purchase most any item new, or if you so desire, used and save yourself money as well as the convenience of shopping at home, and having it delivered to your front door. Generally, that is what has made eBay so successful.