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Numbers, Part Ten: eBay and PayPal

It’s been a while since I logged a numbers blog, the last
one was in November, but it takes a while to find one that’s
worthy.  So I was gratified today to find one – eBay. 

Now, what has eBay got to do with financial technology, you
may ask? 

Well, many folks have said
that eBay is effectively a trading venue.  The only difference between
them and an exchange is that they are trading in high volume, low value
person-to-person goods and services.  Some think eBay could actually
become an exchange themselves, although it does not appear to be in their game plan at this time
.

However, they do relate to our financial technology
community, and this is why I’m blogging about their numbers.  eBay’s
distinguished research scientist, and a Brit, Paul Strong presented at
Tradetech architectures today.  He went on immediately after yours truly
and talked about eBay’s server farms and structures.

He began with a whole load of numbers that impressed me,
including:

  • eBay has 276 million registered users worldwide, with 1.3 million people saying that eBay is their primary or secondary method of generating income;
  • the 276 million users have 113 million items for sale at any given time, with 6 million new items added per day;
  • eBay users worldwide trade more than $2,039 worth of goods on the site every second;
  • eBay members worldwide have left more than 6 billion feedback comments for one another regarding their eBay transactions;
  • the most expensive item sold on eBay to date is a private business jet for $4.9 million;
  • net revenues totalled a record $1.5 billion in Q4-07, representing a year-over-year growth rate of 21%, with 46% from US operations and 54% International; and
  • gross merchandise volume (GMV), the total value of all successfully closed items on eBay’s trading platforms, was $16.2 billion, giving a total GMV for 2007 of more than $59 billion.

You can find more of these stats here.

The bit that intrigued me, which you can’t find on eBay’s
website, is their infrastructure.  Here are a few stats Paul threw out
around their technology structure:

  • eBay’s operating software is updated and renewed every two weeks;
  • 34 billion SQL transactions are processed every day;
  • 600 or more production database instances (parallel processes) run over 100 clustered servers;
  • 16,000 concurrent instances are managed over 8,000 blade servers
  • all of eBay’s applications are backed up by 2 to 4 replicas; and
  • eBay adds more than 11 terabytes of new data each week.

This is mission critical, extreme scaling with extreme
agility and, according to Paul, the daily transaction volumes being processed
through eBay are more than the combined trading volumes of NASDAQ and the NYSE
put together.

Not bad for a little website?

Meanwhile, you can also find out the latest PayPal’s numbers
on the same
area
of eBay’s website.  These include:

  • PayPal has 141 million total accounts, of which 57 million are active accounts with some activity in the past 12 months;
  • PayPal supports payments in 17 currencies;
  • PayPal maintains a very low loss rate due to fraud of just over one quarter of one percent (0.27%);
  • PayPal’s revenues for Q4 2007 were $563 million, up 35% year-over-year;
  • PayPal’s international business accounted for 44% of revenues in Q4 2007;
  • PayPal’s total payment volume, the total value of transactions in Q4 2007 was over $14 billion, up 35% year over year;
  • Merchant Services total payment volume was $6.1 billion in Q4 2007, up 66% year over year;
  • PayPal’s net total payment volume for 2007, the total value of transactions, was $47 billion, up 33% year over year;
  • PayPal transacted about $1,806 in total payment volume every second in Q4 2007;
  • PayPal’s net total payment volume in Q4 was a record $14.0 billion: this represents almost 12% of American and 8% of Global eCommerce;
  • In the U.S., PayPal is the most preferred payment service on the Web after Visa; and
  • In the UK and Australia, PayPal is the most preferred payment service on the Web.

So, between being the largest trading platform in the world
and the most preferred payment service on the web, maybe eBay should become an
exchange.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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