donderdag, oktober 06, 2005

eBay 10 Years - 2003

The Year that Was: 2003
Tell me why I need another pet rock. Tell me why I got that Alf alarm clock. Tell me why I bid on Shatner's old toupee. They had it on eBay. - "Weird Al" Yankovic
Pop culture icon Weird Al sings "eBay" for the crowd. More

Building on the success of the first eBay Live! in 2002, the company hosted its second in Orlando, Florida, June 26-28. The session in question was the keynote speech by Meg Whitman on Day 2 of the conference. After welcoming more than 10,000 registered users—roughly twice the number that attended the first eBay Live!—and sharing some "shop talk," Meg turned the stage over to a surprise attendee, satirical singer "Weird Al" Yankovik. In his own inimitable way, Al delighted the audience with the world premiere of his new song "eBay." The song, which went on to be a major popular hit, was further testimony to the eBay's unique status in the popular culture. The glint in Pierre Omidyar's eye just eight years before, had become a true global phenomenon.

Once again, the two constants for eBay during 2003 were expansion and astounding growth. By the end of 2003, the company had more than 5,700 employees, three times the number it had just three years before. Together, those employees now served 95 million registered users, twice the number of eBay registered users just two years before. And together, those users accounted for $23.8 billion in GMV (including $200+ for the world's longest French fry)—four times the volume reported in the year 2000. Clearly, millions and millions of other people found eBay as irresistible as Weird Al did.

To support this demand, the company announced that it would add two new customer support centers and more office space in San Jose. One customer support site located in Burnaby, British Columbia, near Vancouver, would provide support to eBay members from the company's U.S., Canadian, and Australian Web sites. The other site—in Dublin, Ireland—would serve as both eBay's second European customer support center and as PayPal's European headquarters. In April, the company also announced the purchase of an additional 511,000 square feet of office space in North San Jose, Commenting on the development, San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales called the company "one of San Jose's true success stories."

Good things continued to occur for the company on all fronts that year. In January, eBay Business was launched a separate site in recognition of the enormous number of business items—at the time, 500,000 per week—bought and sold on eBay. In October, the PayPal Buyer Protection policy was instituted to help buyers recover funds from eBay sellers who do not deliver the promised goods or who deliver goods that are different from what is promised.

In October, eBay announced that during the Holiday Season it would now offer eBay and PayPal gift certificates—providing gift givers a convenient and novel shopping option. In December, the company launched still another international site—this time in Hong Kong.

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