Online Markets

A marketplace is where buyers and sellers meet and transact. Online marketplaces are often called online markets. eBay, and are all online markets.

Online Product Markets: eBay and the Rest

eBay is an online auction site that provides services to retailers. You can set up your own eBay store here.

RadicalBuy is seeking to challenge eBay by tapping into the large number of Facebook users to sell goods.

Job Markets

Dating Sites


Travel Sites


Note that travel sites can operate a mix of retail and online market business models. When they buy flights or hotel rooms in bulk and re-sell they are retailing. When they simply provide a place for airlines and hotels to post prices they are acting as a marketplace.

Even Money (Lending) Markets

Zopa brings lenders and borrowers together (UK-based business)

Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites are marketplaces for news about friends, family and acquaintances. They link providers of news to consumers of news.

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Online Business-to-Business (B2B) Markets

Online business to business marketplaces were big news in the dotcom boom, but still exist today in different forms. Covisint was set up by major auto manufacturers to faciliate online purchasing. Ariba acquired, a company that specialized in setting up online auctions for businesses so they can lower their procurement costs. The British government offers a guide to online marketplaces. is an online marketplace for electronic components.

A business buying on an online marketplace needs to answer some questions:

  • How do I know the supplier can deliver at the price, quantity, quality and timing they promise?
  • Will competitors be able to see my purchasing information?

Revenue Models

Online markets can generate revenue from commissions (eBay), charging for access (dating site subscriptions) and advertising (Facebook, Twitter).

Ellison and Ellison (2005)1 survey the impact of the internet on markets.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License