Rumour originally had it that eBay was set up as a means to trade Pez dispensers online – though this has since proved to be nothing more than a myth perpetuated by a PR company, eBay is still one of the most trusted and frequently used marketplaces on the internet.
It is irrefutable that the site that started out in 1995 as no more than a hobby, and has grown to become the 25th largest website on the internet, reportedly with an income of $16.5 billion in 2013 alone.
Though traditionally used as a means for the public to buy and sell their own unwanted products, many profitable businesses have sprung up that operate purely as eBay web stores – with even established brands now have their own outlet stores on the site. The way that eBay makes money through these transactions is by charging users to list their item, as well as demanding a cut of the final selling fee – usually around 10% of the total sum.
Much of the allure of eBay is the fact that almost any item can be bought or sold through the website – though, obviously, anything listed must not be illegal, and fit within other certain terms and conditions. As well as books, CDs and day-to-day items, eBay users commonly sell specialist equipment – with some even auctioning boats, cars and homes through the site.
Typically, there are two types of sales made through eBay – the classic auction style, where people make bids until a listing ends, and Buy It Now, where a buyer pays must pay a price set by the seller to end the listing. The company also runs a network of other businesses, generally based around eCommerce, with Gumtree, Kijiji, iBazar and PayPal all owned by eBay.