vrijdag, oktober 07, 2005

eBay 10 Years - 2004

The Year that Was: 2004
"We thought getting married here would be a fun thing to do." - Brad, eBay seller

As the third annual eBay Live! was winding down on Saturday afternoon June 26, 2004, hundreds of eBay community members and employees were gearing up to witness yet another uniquely eBay moment. Brad and Maggy—two long-time PowerSellers who first communicated on the bidding discussion board in 2001—were married in a gazebo built especially for them inside the New Orleans Convention Center where the community gathering was being held. "I had no idea there would be so many people here," remarked Linda Van Davis, the judge who presided.

Originally, Brad and Maggy had planned a small wedding, but, since they shared close ties with so many other people in the eBay Community, they felt it was only fitting to tie the knot at eBay Live! "We thought getting married here would be a fun thing to do," said Brad.

The couple's courtship and marriage was yet another vivid illustration of the strength of the eBay Community during another year of rapid expansion and phenomenal growth.

In 2004, eBay continued to acquire other companies that offered exciting new business opportunities. Among these were mobile.de, one of the leading classified Web sites for vehicles in Germany; Marktplaats.nl, the leading classified Web site in the Netherlands; Baazee.com, the largest online marketplace in India; and Rent.com, a leading Internet listing site in the apartment and rental housing industry. In addition, eBay acquired a minority ownership interest—about 25 percent—in craigslist, the amazingly successful online meeting place for people looking to share ideas, meet a friend, find romance, get a job, or locate an apartment. In every case, the common element was reaching out to new online communities and bringing more people together in more ways.

As well as expanding through acquisitions, eBay continued to grow internally. In May, the company's Dublin site—announced in 2003 to serve the dual role as eBay's second European customer support center and PayPal's international headquarters—was opened. In July, the eBay China Development Center, a research and development facility in Shanghai, became operational. And in December, local sites in both Malaysia and the Philippines were launched.

In addition to building the size of its community during 2004, the company also kept enhancing the value of the eBay brand and improving the quality of its services. In October, for example, the North America brand campaign, The Power of All of Us, was launched. And, in November, the Want It Now feature—which allows buyers to tell sellers what they are looking for—was introduced.

And for yet another year, the astounding growth numbers spoke for themselves. By the end of 2004, more than 8,000 eBay employees were serving 135 million registered users who traded more than $34 billion in gross merchandise volume in more than 50,000 categories. Among the items sold, incidentally, were gum once chewed by Britney Spears, dryer lint balls wrapped in yarn, and a skeleton of a 50,000-year-old mammoth. The skeleton, considered to be one of the most complete and best preserved mammoth skeletons in the world, sold for 61,000 British pounds.

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