I suppose this is old news, but I will put my 2 cents in anyway.
I don't think it really has any meaning. When Pierre Omidyar, the developer of eBay, made a trip to Sacramento, Ca. to incorporate his current and future business endeavors under a single holding company using a favorite name - Echo Bay, the clerk at the state capital informed him that that name had already been taken. So he shot back with eBay - the clerked checked it out and well, we all know the rest of the story.
This came from The Official eBay Bible by Jim Griffith so we have it on good authority.
"bay" usually means:
1. a body of water forming an indentation of the shoreline, larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf.
2. South Atlantic States. an arm of a swamp.
3. a recess of land, partly surrounded by hills.
but in this way I believe it means a large "area".
The online auction web site was founded in San Jose, California on September 3, 1995 by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as AuctionWeb, part of a larger personal site that included, among other things, Omidyar's own tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Ebola virus.
The very first item sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer for $14.83. Astonished, Omidyar contacted the winning bidder and asked if he understood that the laser pointer was broken. In his responding email, the buyer explained: "I'm a collector of broken laser pointers." The frequently repeated story that eBay was founded to help Omidyar's fiancée trade PEZ Candy dispensers was fabricated by a public relations manager in 1997 to interest the media. This was revealed in Adam Cohen's 2002 book and confirmed by eBay.
Chris Agarpao was hired as eBay's first employee and Jeff Skoll was hired as the first president of the company in 1996. In November 1996, eBay entered into its first third-party licensing deal, with a company called Electronic Travel Auction to use SmartMarket Technology to sell plane tickets and other travel products. The company officially changed the name of its service from AuctionWeb to eBay in September 1997. Originally, the site belonged to Echo Bay Technology Group, Omidyar's consulting firm. Omidyar had tried to register the domain name echobay.com(this company's slogan is now "What eBay could have been.") but found it already taken by the Echo Bay Mines, a gold mining company, so he shortened it to his second choice, eBay.com.
eBay went public in 1998, and both Omidyar and Skoll became instant billionaires. The company purchased PayPal on October 14 2002.
I would really like to write a paper on how ebay got its name for school. However, I am required to cite my sources. Can you please tell me how you acquired this information? We are supposed to write a paper on how to name businesses, I want to make this a funny paper and simply discuss how ebay got its name. I dont think she will give me a good grade for not commiting to the assignment, but at least we will all get a good laugh. I appreciate your help in resolving this issue.
I know I'm 7 years late on this discussion, but I stumbled upon this today. LOL. I had a dog named Ebay before this company was created. We named him that based on a swahili word for black, "ebay". Ironically the dog was white. So maybe eBay means..."Black" Market?!
Originally, the site belonged to Echo Bay Technology Group, Omidyar's consulting firm. Omidyar had tried to register the domain name echobay.com, but found it already taken by the Echo Bay Mines, a gold mining company, so he shortened it to his second choice, eBay.com