July 13th 2000. My first eBay purchase. I remember I had decided to build my first computer around 8 years ago. I had just gotten married a few months before, had no kids, and could remember my 21st birthday as though it were the year before… because it was. Wow… I feel old.
The item was a CD-R drive; black to match the black computer case I bought. The seller was kind, saw that I was new, and walked me through the process of sending in a Money Order as PayPal was merely a year or two old at this point, and not owned by eBay, so I was wary. In any case, it was long ago enough that sellers expected money orders now and then.
Back then, sellers emailed you personally, they were kind, and for the most part, they packed their items nicely and were trustworthy. Sure, you had the handful of horror stories, most of which you could avoid by using common sense, but in my 8 years of buying and selling on eBay, I have yet to get "scammed". Sellers also left positive feedback when your money order arrived, before they even shipped the item.
Buyers were quite different back then too. It seemed that when a buyer won on eBay, they almost immediately emailed you, offering you a time when they could get the money to you, an address so you could prepare a label, and maybe a note about shipping methods, among other things. Buyers also paid on time, generally.
But two things, I feel, drew people to eBay: One, the rarity of the items available. Sure, eBay had pretty much anything you could find at a department store, but a Dukes of Hazard lunchbox isn’t something you find in the toy section of Toys R Us anymore. Two, the prices. It seemed that everything on eBay was at a low price. It may have been because people used eBay as their online garage sale. Few items were "Brand New!" but many were like new, and that was perfectly okay with me. I was looking for a deal, not a new item in most cases.