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A refreshing change: when big brands rebrand


A refreshing change: when big brands rebrand

eBay is one of the most-recognisable online brands in the world. So why, after 17 years in business, did it decide to change its logo? TB&I finds out.

eBay has come a long way since 1995. It started small, the preserve of early adopters and collectors, then grew rapidly, increasing its offerings and capability alongside its revenue to become, perhaps alongside amazon.com (which also went live in 1995), the grand old man of the online world. Today, eBay turns over more than $11 billion per year, and that figure continues to grow. In 2010, an estimated 26 percent of Internet users visited one of the company’s 38 country websites.

Why then, would such a recognisable brand choose to change its logo, especially since online, the old logo will continue to float around forever? The history of brands is littered with examples of rebranding that backfired for one reason or another. Consumers form attachments to brands that can be surprisingly deep, and with change there is always the risk of alienating people. Indeed, it could almost be argued that a new logo can only ever upset people in the aggregate, because no one’s likely to complain about something staying the same.

Alex Von Schirmeister, vice president of marketing at eBay Marketplaces Europe, explains the thinking behind the change, which came into effect on October 10: “Over the past 17 years, eBay’s global marketplace has evolved dramatically and we wanted to reflect this. Today eBay delivers a seamless shopping experience to buyers and sellers any time, anywhere and via any device. We updated our logo to reflect a more modern and streamlined eBay while maintaining a strong connection to our iconic logo. The evolved eBay design signals our clarity of purpose, but remains firmly rooted in our heritage.”

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