Omidyar was intrigued by the technical problem of establishing an online venue for direct person-to-person auction of collectible items. He created a simple prototype on his personal web page, and launched an online service called Auction Web as a sole proprietorship on Labor Day weekend in 1995. The business exploded as correspondents began to register trade goods of an unimaginable variety.
Omidyar incorporated the enterprise; the small fee he collected on each sale financed the expansion of the site. The revenue soon outstripped his salary at General Magic and Omidyar decided to dedicate his full attention to his new enterprise. Business expanded through word of mouth, and Auction Web added a Feedback Forum, allowing buyers and sellers to rate each other for honesty and reliability.
Omidyar changed the company's name to eBay in 1997 and began to advertise the service aggressively. By the middle of that year, eBay was hosting nearly 800,000 auctions a day. By the time eBay went public in 1998, the site had more than a million registered users. By the end of the year, the value of Omidyar's personal stake in the company was nearly $3 billion. Pierre Omidyar has served as Chairman of the Board since its incorporation. At first he also served as Chief Financial Officer, President and CEO, but he relinquished these positions one by one, the last when he hired former Hasbro executive Margaret Whitman to serve as CEO in 1998....
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