eBay Inc.  is an American multinational internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages ebay.com. ebay.com is an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide. Founded in 1995, eBay is one of the notable success stories of the dot-com bubble; it is now a multi-billion dollar business with operations localized in over thirty countries. eBay expanded from its original “set-time” auction format to include “Buy It Now” standard shopping; shopping by UPC, ISBN, or other kind of SKU (via Half.com); online classified advertisements (via Kijiji or eBay Classifieds); online event ticket trading (via StubHub); online
money transfers (via PayPal) and other services.

Millions of collectibles, decor, appliances, computers, furnishings, equipment, domain names, vehicles, and other miscellaneous items are listed, bought, or sold daily on eBay. In 2006, eBay launched its Business & Industrial category, breaking into the industrial surplus business. Generally, anything can be auctioned on the site as long as it is not illegal and does not violate the eBay Prohibited and Restricted Items policy. Services and intangibles can be sold, too. Large international companies, such as IBM, sell their newest products and offer services on eBay using competitive auctions and fixed-priced storefronts. Separate eBay sites such as eBay US and eBay UK allow the users to trade using the local currency. Software developers can create applications that integrate with eBay through the eBay API by joining the eBay Developers Program. In June 2005, there were more than 15,000 members in the eBay Developers Program, comprising a broad range of companies creating software applications to support eBay buyers and sellers as well as eBay Affiliates.

Controversy has arisen over certain items put up for bid. For instance, 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. On other occasions, people and even entire towns have been listed, often as a joke or to garner free publicity. In general, the company removes auctions that violate its terms of service agreement.

Online shopping reached new heights in popularity in 2005, with retail sales totaling roughly $81 billion. According to a study by Jupiter Research, the trend will only continue to grow, with 2010 totals expected to exceed $144 billion. According to the study, by 2010 slightly more than 70 percent of the online population will use the Internet to shop.Consumers cite a variety of different reasons for preferring online shopping to shopping in person at retail locations. One of the main reasons for shopping online is convenience. Another reason to shop online is better prices. When you shop online you get the chance to compare prices from several different online retailers. People also prefer online shopping because it allows them to research products without receiving biased pressure from sales associates. eBay is one of the most popular websites for shopping online. In addition to the convenience of online shopping, eBay also offers a selection of items you won’t find anywhere else online. Here are some interesting facts about eBay for you trivia buffs. The first item ever sold on eBay: a broken laser pointer that belonged to eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. One of the most expensive items ever sold on eBay was a Grumman Gulfstream II jet, which sold for $4.9 million. Among the more unusual things sold on eBay have included the right to permanently place a tattoo on a woman’s forehead ($10,000) and grilled cheese sandwich featuring a likeness of the Virgin Mary ($28,000).