eBay: Private Ordering for an Online Community

By David Baron, D. Hoyt
2001 | Case No. P37
eBay hosts the world’s largest online trading community. Members of this community buy and sell in auctions conducted on the eBay website. 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 online environment for its members. The 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 or banned or regulated items.
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