From its inauspicious launch on Labor Day 1995 as AuctionWeb, a free auction website designed by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar, eBay has evolved into a global economic, social, and cultural phenomenon. Wildly profitable since it began charging listing fees in early 1996, the company has benefited from exponential growth in registered users and sales volume. Even as it faces the maturation and potential saturation of its U.S. market, it is aggressively expanding globally, in part to meet the expectations of the stock market.1 During the second quarter of 2005 alone, eBay had over 440 million listings and 157.3 million registered users worldwide (of whom eBay counts 64.6 million as “active,” having bid on, bought, or listed an item within the previous twelve-month period).2 In 2004, the website facilitated international gross sales of more than 34 billion USD in merchandise, and in 2005 was on target to facilitate over 40 billion. Each day, sellers list 4.89 million items organized across more than 40,000 main and subcategories that continually expand in number. Five hundred thousand Americans, eBay estimates, made all or part of their living from selling on its site in 2005; other business analysts project that hundreds of thousands more sellers worldwide make their living through eBay. As the Economist noted, “Never before has there been a market with such abundant dimensions.”3