December 30, 1999
Dear eBay Community:
With my responsibilities, I don't get the chance to talk to you on a regular basis about the issues impacting our community. But as this year draws to a close, I did want to take a few moments to reflect with you on some of the events of 1999 and to talk to you about our vision for 2000.
1999 was a phenomenal year of growth for eBay. Consider this. In the third quarter of 1998, we were at 1.3 million registered users, 9.2 million items listed and $195 million in gross merchandise sales. One year later, we climbed to 7.7 million registered users, 36.2 million items listed and gross merchandise sales topped $741 million.
These numbers are testimony to what has been accomplished together with you, our users. I believe that together we have helped expand the boundaries of Internet commerce. I believe that together we have helped to dramatically change the way that people buy and sell collectible and non-collectible merchandise. And I believe that eBay has helped people achieve success on their own terms.
1999 will also be remembered as the year that someone actually broke the 10,000 Feedback Rating and became eBay's first "Shooting Star."
The year was not without its challenges, however. We experienced some tough times with issues like site stability and policy changes that upset some of you. Your loyalty to eBay has been incredible, and I want you to know how grateful I personally am to you - our community members - for having stood by us through all of this. These experiences were difficult for all of us, but they helped me remember something very important - something I learned when I first joined eBay in 1998.
eBay is about people. It's about finding success on your own terms. It's about giving people the freedom to work for themselves, to supplement their income and even to generate their own income through trading on eBay. It changes the way people do business. It changes lives. I was reminded frequently this year that everything we do makes a difference to all the people in the eBay community. And it's a tremendous responsibility.
A member recently wrote to me and said, "The amazing fact is eBay has done something that has never been done and with no owner's manual, guide book, or mentor. Now you're the model others are emulating." His words really struck me. Yes, what we're doing is pioneering, and we will have challenges for 2000...
We understand that the availability of eBay is vital to your businesses, your livelihoods, your hobbies and your fun. We believe our efforts to stay ahead of the growth curve are paying off. We have achieved significant performance and capacity improvements. We feel that we are exiting the year far stronger, and we will keep building strength from here.
I believe that we have made great strides in Customer Support, and I am confident that we will continue to improve in this area next year. Like you, I am looking forward to the launch of Online Customer Support in 2000. Working together, I am sure we can make this a huge success.
Features, Functionality and Services
Throughout the year, we worked to make eBay a safer place for trading. We clarified our policies on permissible items, on Feedback and selling requirements, including the credit card requirement for new sellers. Our plan for 2000 is to continue refining our features and services to help you trade more easily, efficiently and safely at eBay.
Categories and Expansion
We expanded to reach new areas of the world - including the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. We also entered regional markets to help bring trading closer to your hometown - Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, Denver and a host of other locales across the country.
We also entered new trading areas to add to the variety of items in the marketplace. In April, we announced the acquisition of Butterfield & Butterfield. And in September, we launched Great Collections - a new area of eBay devoted to fine antiques, art and rare collectibles. We also announced the acquisition of Kruse to help build an area of eBay devoted to cars.
The Year 2000 should find us well established in these new areas. And who knows what new collecting areas you will bring to eBay!
The eBay Foundation
As the new millennium approaches, I did want to tell you that I feel privileged to be a part of eBay. I am proud of what we have been able to build together in the last year. And I look forward to continuing to work with you to build the world's greatest personal trading community.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
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