eBay is an online auction and shopping website where people buy and sell goods around the world. Here are a few interesting facts about eBay’s origins and operations:
- Beginning in 1995, eBay was originally called AuctionWeb and hosted on the same site as software developer Pierre Omidyar’s page on the ebola virus.
- The first listing was a broken laser pointer which sold for $14.83 to a collector of broken laser pointers.
- eBay is short for Echo Bay, the name of Omidyar’s consulting firm.
- eBay went public in 1998.
- There are now more than 94 million active users globally.
- In 2010, the total worth of goods sold on eBay was $62 billion — more than $2,000 every second.
- More information on eBayinc.com, and about.com
Here are some unusual items offered on eBay:
- In December 2005, a brussels sprout cooked on Christmas Day was listed by “crazypavingpreacher” (Andrew Henderson of Darlington, England). It sold for £99.50 on January 4, 2006. The sprout had been frozen and was sent by first class post in insulated packaging to the buyer. The proceeds of the sale were donated to Tearfund, a major Christian relief and development agency working in the Third World.
- In June 2005, the wife of Tim Shaw, a British radio DJ on Kerrang! 105.2, sold Tim’s Lotus Esprit sports car with a Buy It Now price of 50 pence after she heard him flirting with model Jodie Marsh on air. The car was sold within 5 minutes, and it was requested that the buyer pick it up the same day.
- Water that was said to have been left in a cup Elvis Presley once drank from was sold for $455. The few tablespoons came from a plastic cup Presley sipped at a concert in North Carolina in 1977.
- Coventry University student Bill Bennett got £1.20 for a single cornflake
- A man from Brisbane, Australia, attempted to sell New Zealand at a starting price of A$0.01. The price had risen to $3,000 before eBay closed the auction.
- A group of four men from Australia auctioned themselves to spend the weekend with the promise of “beers, snacks, good conversation and a hell of a lot of laughs” for A$1,300
- In 2004, a partially eaten, 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary sold on eBay for $28,000.
- In January 2008, four golf balls were auctioned on eBay after being surgically removed from the carpet python that had inadvertently swallowed them whilst raiding eggs in a chicken enclosure. The story attracted considerable international attention and the balls eventually sold for more than A$ 1,400. The python recovered and was released
- In June 2008, Ian Usher put up his “entire life” on auction. The auction included his house in Perth, belongings, introduction to his friends, and a trial at his job. When bidding closed, his “life” sold for $384,000.
- In August 2009, a mother of six from South Arkansas auctioned off the legal rights to name her unborn child.
- In November 2008, a Swedish man put a digitally hand-drawn picture of a 7-legged spider onto eBay. The picture stemmed from an article on the site 27bslash6.com wherein David Thorne claims to have attempted to pay a chiropractor’s bill with a picture of a 7-legged spider, which he valued at $233.95. On eBay, the bidding price started at $233.95, with bidding ended at a sale price of US$10,000.
- In late 1999, a man offered one of his kidneys for auction on eBay, attempting to profit from the potentially lucrative (and, in the United States, illegal) market for transplantable human organs.
- More on Wikipedia here