eBay's Changing Identity

In its television ads, eBay describes itself as the place to get "it," whatever it may be. The company deliberately leaves "it" undefined to emphasize the immense variety of goods available for auction on its site. "It" is anything a consumer can imagine. But as eBay expands into myriad new businesses—from telecommunications to social networking—some investors are puzzling over what it (eBay) is becoming.

Since shelling out $1.5 billion in 2002 to acquire online payment processor PayPal, eBay (EBAY) has aggressively expanded into areas well beyond its core business of charging people fees to auction off goods via the Internet. Over the last five years, a spate of acquisitions—some of which are just now generating significant profits—has made the company into something of an enigma. EBay is a Web auctioneer. It's an online payment processor and bank of sorts (PayPal). It's a ticket seller (StubHub). It's a global Internet telephone service (Skype). It's a classified ad service (Kijiji).

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News source: Business Week

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PayPal was founded as a means to pay bills via your Palm Pilot PDA...
I still have an issue of Wired explaining what a great idea it is...

They are becoming a monopoly themselves. They charge you for listing your goods, selling your goods, as well as using paypal which they own. The thing is - when they want paid, they immediately take their money from any existing funds available you havent transferred back to a bank account, but - when you want to transfer any funds you have, it takes them several days. Kinda like they use your money to make some interest. They keep getting more and more greedy, raising prices and finding ways to make the consumer pay.

Their fees are getting ridiculous, and they know they can charge whatever they want and get away with it. First they charge you a listing fee, then more fees for extra services that should really be free anyway, and finally and worst of all they dip in and take their cut of your final sale. Then Paypal comes in and takes their cut. By the time it's all over you've lost a good deal of whatever profits you might have made (if any). I remember when ebay first started, there was just one low fee to list an item and that was it, plus they had free listing days all the time. Sad to see what happens to a company when corporate greed takes over.

and to think all those years ago, eBay was formed by a guy so he could get Pez dispensers for his wife, go figure huh?

"The frequently repeated story that eBay was founded to help Omidyar's fiancée trade PEZ candy dispensers was fabricated by a public relations manager in 1997 to interest the media" -- Wikipedia