Introduction

On any given day there are more than 12 million items listed for auction at eBay, the world's largest online trading community. In the year 2002, almost $15 billion worth of merchandise, in more than 638 million individual auctions, was traded over eBay. That's $50 million a day—or $579 every second.

So who's making all that money?

While most eBay users are simple hobbyists, a surprisingly large number of users sell enough items to actually make a living from their eBay auctions. Officially or not, these users are running eBay businesses. They purchase inventory, market their products, collect payments, and ship merchandise, just like an Amazon.com or L.L. Bean does. They're businesses, pure and simple, that operate on and through ...

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