A marketplace “by the people and for the people,”

is how Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay describes the essence of eBay.


eBay is also a virtual warehouse with millions of shop owners and millions of potential customers and a timely model for the buying and selling of goods and services. Everyone owns a key to this warehouse and everything has a customer-generated value. That’s true market value in a free enterprise system. Every single product sold this way will eventually figure out its own value based on what buyers as a collective will average out to pay or what a buyer as an individual is willing to pay. The sellers are individuals, auctioneers, re-sellers, exporters, retailers and manufacturers. The buyers are here, next door, in the next county and half way around the world.

There are 55 million items across more than 50,000 categories at any given time, with over 150 million users worldwide. It’s the many attaining market freedom from the few.

No matter how well intentioned, if the market is left unchecked and manipulated, the few generally tend to develop an isolated disconnect. Human nature has exhibited that when there is excessive market control, price manipulation, quality drop-off and viability issues soon emerge. Big companies can still advertise, promote their brand and sell and retailers can still retail. Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay says,” Big companies sell on eBay and they find it to be a very cost effective distribution channel. But they sell on the same terms as an individual would sell.” The great sustaining equalizer is that many more people become involved and a self-generated system of checks and balances is maintained.

The eBay model provides a fair and accessible platform; it enables buying power, selling power and to become a merchant of one. It contributes to a swelling middle class and has tremendous impact on job creation and a healthy economy. According to a survey conducted by AC Nielson International Research in July of 2005, more than 734,000 Americans report that eBay is their primary or secondary source of income. Another 1.5 million say they supplement their income by selling on eBay.

A free market is a place where there is a free flow of ideas, where there is the opportunity to be able to fulfill those ideas and an environment in which consumers as a collective can determine what is and isn’t viable for them.

If there is one thing a free market does, it sniffs out, finds and rewards ‘the best way.

When people en mass gravitate towards a concept who’s time has come and reward it in the tune of 5.4 billion dollars (estimated 2006 eBay value), that is the very definition free market success.

It safeguards price gauging and reduces waste; why throw something out when there may a customer that can make use of it and willing to pay.

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