Celebrating 25 Years of eBay: The People and Technology that Fuel Our Global Marketplace
During this milestone moment for eBay, our President and CEO Jamie Iannone reflects on the magic of eBay — for the last 25 years and beyond.
Over a Labor Day weekend 25 years ago, Pierre Omidyar wrote the code for what became eBay. Started as an experiment, eBay is fueled by a bold notion that creating a truly open, fair and honest marketplace would level the playing field and foster economic opportunity for all. In 1995, Pierre made what would become the first sale made on eBay — a broken laser pointer — and spurred not just the start of our marketplace but paved the way for ecommerce as we know it today.
We pioneered a bold model of shopping and selling that was, and still is, about empowering people and creating prosperity. Our marketplace is filled with storied firsts — from helping catapult the Beanie Babies craze in 1997 to being one of the first companies to launch an iPhone ecommerce app in 2008; hosting a record-setting charity auction for a power lunch with Warren Buffet that went for $3.46 million in 2012 to enabling shoppers to search by image in 2017.
Since the beginning, we’ve put people at the center. And our desire to help our community thrive is greater now than it has ever been.
eBay is open to everyone. We extend a hand to untapped communities with programs that encourage small business creation and lend new life to local main streets. Our nonprofit charitable foundation was one of the first created with pre-IPO money to give back to the community; we’ve given over $1 billion through eBay for Charity to more than 96,000 nonprofits globally. More recently, in the wake of COVID-19, we’ve also announced nearly $15 million in giving through our eBay Foundation to organizations around the world to support nonprofits and entrepreneurs amid this pandemic. We’ve also launched accelerator programs, like Up & Running, geared specifically toward retailers to help them transition to selling online.
Everything we do is with our community in mind: the entrepreneurs and businesses who rely on our platform to fuel their livelihoods, the buyers who look to eBay to match them with just the right thing and the employees who strive to deliver for our customers every day. We are stewards of this awesome responsibility, empowering people no matter their location to realize their dreams through entrepreneurship and reach a global network through our marketplace. Now, we are focused on where we are headed next.
eBay is ready to embrace all the challenges and opportunities of the new decade and beyond. We are keenly focused on our future because of our history as pioneers, forging our own path. Looking ahead, our next chapter is all about unlocking the untapped potential of eBay’s core marketplace while keeping our core values intact — and propel our customers toward even greater success.
The landscape of ecommerce is changing faster than ever. During the pandemic, we are leading our community through the waves of global social and economic tumult with programs that help restore the health of main streets and the strength of small businesses. Our efforts will champion consumers, creating streamlined access to goods whenever and wherever needed through safe and trusted waters. And we will continue to support sellers, with modern technology that enables entrepreneurs to become stronger now and to flourish far beyond COVID-19.
As the next phase in our history unfolds, we will accelerate a tech-led reimagination of eBay, claiming our place as the best global marketplace for buyers and sellers. We will focus on defending our core — embracing the roots of our marketplace — and building modern and compelling experiences for current and future generations of customers. We aspire to be the partner of choice for sellers, simplifying and upleveling the selling experience for small businesses and entrepreneurs while advocating on their behalf and still delivering on their needs. We’ll double down on evolving our shopping experience so it is fresher, more enriched and simpler to not only attract and retain buyers but to cultivate life-long, trusted relationships with them.
Our purpose to empower people and create economic opportunity is as vibrant and alive today as it was 25 years ago. We are excited about the promise in our path forward with our buyers, sellers and employees standing beside us at the helm, and we welcome everyone, everywhere on board for that journey.