Piere Omidyar, a resident of San Jose, conceived an idea of an online auction site when he was only 28. He took some time out his full-time day-job and in September 1995 came up with AuctionWeb. Designed in short span of only a week this was the first ever online auctioning site to be renamed eBay, in the course of time. Piere's wished for a website that would be representative of an online marketplace. The name eBay comes from the name of his company Echo Bay. And the eBay AuctionWeb was initially just a part of his company's official website. Omidyar's broken laser pointer was the first thing to be sold on this website; it was sold for $14. Very soon a Rolls Royce 1937 model was added to the list of collectibles sold.
The site's popularity increased with leaps and bounds as numerous sellers and buyers started joining it to list an array of products. eBay collected a small fee from the sellers for each product sold and gradually the website expanded from "just-a-part" to an entire online marketplace. The makers of this site relied completely on the enrolled sellers and buyers to make this site a success, the site was configured to collect a fee from every sale and eBay was left alone to work on it's own and to run by itself. The money collected from the sellers. Omidyar used the revenue generated from these fees to expand this website.
The website climbed the success chart so rapidly that the revenue generated from this site became much more than his current salary. This is when he decided to commit full-time to his website and quit job. He started developing the website and making it more interactive. In 1996, he added the feedback option to enable people to rate sellers and buyers and give feedback.
In 1997, AuctionWeb's name was completely changed eBay, which had already become the popular name of the site till now. Omidyar designed the site's logo and launched an advertising campaign. This year marked the sale of the one-millionth item.
1998 marked the epitome of "dotcom boom", eBay harvested this boom to the fullest and turned into one of the biggest online business globally. eBay started recruiting people; managers, strategists and what not. Omidyar's small venture had expanded like a dream and was now almost an empire. As part of new strategies eBay started encouraging people to sell more than only collectibles and turned into a place where you could sell and buy anything and everything. Though the boom ended in a while and all the noise settled eBay still continues to create ripples in the online world.
1999 saw eBay go worldwide, launching sites in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. eBay bought half.com, an Amazon-like online retailer, in the year 2000 and in the same year it introduced Buy it Now and bought PayPal, an online payment service, in 2002.
Pierre Omidyar has so far earned an estimated $3 billion from eBay, and is still the Chairman of the Board. eBay has over 157 million users worldwide; an average annual turn-over of $1bn this year and present online market value over $53.6bn, much more than other online internet giants Google and Yahoo and Amazon.