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eBay Inc. is an American Internet company that manages eBay.com, an on-line auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide. Founded in 1995, eBay is one of the notable success stories of the dot-com bubble; it is now a multi-billion dollar business with operations localized in over thirty countries.

Mashable has a compiled a list of 10 really interesting facts about eBay. Here’s a sneak peak:

As the world’s largest marketplace, eBay has hundreds of millions of listings live at any given moment. Since its founding in 1995, the company has grown from just one curious computer programmer to over 15,000 employees.  Over the past 15 years, eBay has become one of the largest companies in America, consistently ranking in the Fortune 500, and is one of the most recognized brands around the world. Throughout the years, the world has gawked at some of the oddest items listed on eBay, including, among others, old gum, entire towns, and even spouses. The fact that anyone can list almost anything (yes, there are some restrictions), makes this site one of the most interesting places to find rare or outlandish items.

eBay was Originally Called AuctionWeb

The site we now know as eBay was launched during Labor Day weekend in 1995 as “AuctionWeb,” by entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar in his living room in San Jose, California.
AuctionWeb was just one of four sites housed under Omidyar’s umbrella company, eBay Internet. The other three included a travel site set up in loose partnership with a local San Jose travel agent, a personal shopper site, and a site about the Ebola virus. Check out the screenshot above of AuctionWeb, circa 1997. The decision to change the name from AuctionWeb to eBay was made by Omidyar and Jeffrey Skoll, eBay’s first full-time employee and president, in mid-1997. The change was spurred by the fact that most customers referred to the site as “eBay,” and the initial media coverage, though sparse, also used “eBay” more than “AuctionWeb.” The actual name change took place in September of 1997 and involved a migration of existing users to a completely new platform with a more graphical website and home page. It also introduced the world to the multi-colored eBay logo we know today. So, where did “eBay” actually come from? Long before AuctionWeb existed, Omidyar went to Sacramento to register the domain echobay.com for his planned business name Echo Bay Inc., but it was taken. He came up with “eBay” on the spot and registered it instead.

The First Item Listed on eBay was a Broken Laser Pointer

On Labor Day weekend in 1995, computer programmer Omidyar wrote the code for what he called 
an “experiment.” He wanted to know what would happen if everyone in the world had access to a single global marketplace. To test his idea, he came up with an auction website, where he listed a broken laser pointer that he was going to throw away. In the end, a collector bought it for $14.83. Among the other items sold just a week after Omidyar launched eBay were autographed Marky Mark underwear for $400, a Superman metal lunchbox for $22, and a Toyota Tercel for $3,200.

The Most Expensive eBay.com Purchase: A Jet

A Gulfstream II Jet that sold for $4.9 million in 2001 is the record for highest eBay sale price yet. The record sales price was more than three times the previous known eBay record of $1.65 million. The jet was sold by Tyler Jet (now, Tyler Jet Motorsports), the world’s largest business jet dealer at the time.
Check out all 10 here.
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