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Published by:
Stanford Business School (2001)
August 2001
21 pages
Data source:
Field research


eBay hosts the world's largest on-line trading community. Members of this community buy and sell in auctions conducted on the eBay web site. The success of this marketplace depends on the ability of buyers and sellers to feel secure in conducting transactions. As the community has grown, the issues involved in providing a safe marketplace have become more and more complicated. Activity conducted on the eBay site are subject to public law, but the company has supplemented public law with its own policies, rules, and regulations intended to provide a safe on-line environment for its members. This case discusses the private ordering of eBay's community, and describes several situations that might require new or revised policies, including privacy of member information, off-site transactions, sale of controversial items, and sale of banned or regulated items.


Electronic commerce; Auctions; Internet marketing; World Wide Web; Community development
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