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WEB/DIGITAL E-business employees?

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Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jul 26, 2007
For those of you that run a successful e-business, do you have employees? If so, what do they do? ...I know these are really basic questions, :blush: but I just can't figure out why ebay or google would need like 11,000 employees. If the site is already developed, and successful it seems like most of the work is done- especially when they aren't selling a product or a service. What am I missing?

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Bronze Contributor
Aug 13, 2007
For a company like ebay:

a) technical people
b) accounting people
c) in house council
d) customer service

and the list goes on.

Depends how big your business is. Most of the time you hire employees in any business so that it relieves the strain of day to day operations. You hire people when a) your spending too much time doing a typical task .. and that time could be better spent somewhere else. b) when you feel your business has grown to a level where you cant handle everything by yourself..

It all depends on the scenario, and the business type itself.

Just look at and check their jobs. Then you can see what types of employees an e-business has.

Hope this helps you!


Legendary Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 24, 2007
Having managed many of those eBay employees, here's my take on how the 17,000 break down at eBay:

- The largest % of employees (many thousand) are focused on customer support. Answering phones for the top tier buyers and sellers, and responding to (and escalating) emails for all the company's customers. For reference, eBay manages multiple call centers (in various cities/countries);

- Then there are several thousand folks whose job it is to define, create, test, and deploy the technology that the company uses. This includes the Product Management folks (who define the strategy/products), the engineers (who write the code), the QA people (who test the changes), and the deployment folks (who actually update the code on the servers in a way that ensures the millions of customers don't get their user experience interrupted). This also includes a large group of people whose sole job is planning and managing schedules for all this work. eBay owns several other companies (PayPal, Skype, StumbleUpon, Stubhub, etc), so it's not just auction technology that's being created. But a large portion of it is. When you have hundreds of millions of lines of code that define your website, making wholesale changes involves a lot of people and work;

- For all the technology, there needs to be coherent and consistent user interfaces, so there is a large User Experience team devoted to creating UI guidelines and then creating actual user interfaces for the products the company is building. This often involves focus groups and surveys to determine what customers want, expect, need, and can be quite time consuming and resource intensive;

- There are lot of folks focused on "trust and safety." These are the people who make the site policy (like not being allowed to sell live animals or handguns, as well as the more esoteric issues that come up often), and are the ones who are responsible for ensuring those policies are adhered to, oftentimes through technology. While it may seem like there is a lot of fraud on eBay, you have absolutely no idea how much is caught and dealt with before it hurts any customers. This involves a lot of people, but is the reason eBay has been able to accomplish what it has without completely destroying its reputation;

- Then there are the marketing people. Both online and offline marketing. The traditional marketing role is probably pretty obvious (ensuring print and TV ads are out there), but the online marketing role is pretty complex. When you get billions of page views, the difference after a hundredth of a percent click-through can mean the difference of millions of dollars, so optimizing online marketing technology and dollar-spend is a high priority. And eBay has some of the best in the world working on it;

- Then there are the standard corporate functions: HR, Legal, Finance, PR, Training, Events, etc. When you have 17,000 employees, these types of jobs add up fast (you'd be surprised);

- Add on top of that things like Research & Development (large teams creating new technologies and bringing the existing technologies together in new ways), Developer Program (thousands of eBay sellers use APIs and not the eBay UI to sell their millions of products), and various Partner Programs, and that adds many, many more.

Hope that helps...


Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jul 26, 2007
Thanks for the responses! I suppose a lot of these large companies are so well run, that to someone with no grasp of what they are seeing their site is a lot like a duck on a lake...smooth sailing, but really they're paddling like crazy!

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