SAN JOSE, CA — More than 200 sellers sang "Happy Birthday" to eBay at the fourth and final stop of the eBay: On Location tour Wednesday, as the event's kick-off coincided with the 15th anniversary for the online marketplace.
"We've saved the best for San Jose. [Today] coincides with something special," eBay Radio host Jim "Griff" Griffith told the crowd of sellers. "It was on this day 15 years ago that eBay was born."
While all the eBay: On Location events have been meant to bring sellers together, give them tips to improve their businesses and put them in the same rooms as eBay officials, there was added excitement at the San Jose event as officials had eBay's 15th birthday on their minds. They celebrated with sellers by sharing some history—and having a cake and eating it, too.
eBay CEO John Donahoe thanked the sellers in attendance for helping eBay grow from a small auction site into the largest online marketplace. He said people often ask him if the site is a place for small or large sellers, but he tells them it's just about sellers.
"The largest seller on eBay is still a small business in the economy," he said. "Whether you work on your own or have 15 employees, you inspire us… So, thank you. We wouldn't be here without you."
Griffith recalled the first item successfully auctioned on the site back in 1995: a broken laser pointer that belonged to eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar.
"Pierre actually e-mailed the person and said, 'You know it's a broken laser pointer, right?'" Griff laughed. "The guy said, 'Yeah, I still want it.'"
The item sold for $14.83, and since then millions of other items have been sold on the site. In fact, today, one item sells every minute just with mobile apps, according to eBay's Mobile team.
eBay's first 15 years have been filled with innovation—such as the development of eBay Giving Works, which was created when sellers wanted a way to help victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, and the recent formation of eBay's Green Team, a community of sellers promoting environmental and social responsibility. And officials promise much more to come.
"Our dream is to create, in 100 years, the best place for people to buy and sell," says eBay Marketplaces President Lorrie Norrington. eBay sellers will help the site reach that goal by continuing to provide feedback and suggestions, she adds. This, according to Norrington, is what has helped eBay grow into what it's become.
"I hope you get a view that we really do want to make eBay a special place for the next 100 years," she says.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.