eBay

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Global net income: $299.3 million for the first nine months of 2003, up 83.7% from the same period a year ago.

U.S. ad budget: $52 million for the first eight months of 2003, up 160%.

No longer a fringe play frequented by quirky collector types, eBay has become a pop culture phenomenon and a sophisticated marketing juggernaut. The most popular online marketplace is a force to be reckoned with, racking up 43 million unique visitors a month and now operating in 28 markets globally.

As it has grown larger and more diverse, eBay has tried to maintain its accessibility. The marketing team is most proud of developing the auction site's first integrated marketing campaign this year around the "Do it eBay" theme. "It captured a lot of enthusiasm-we were making it a mass invitation to eBay," says Gary Briggs, VP-consumer marketing.

Apart from memorable TV commercials and print ads created by Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, eBay extended its reach with marketers this year, forming a strategic partnerships unit. It includes promotional auctions, incentives and rewards, sponsorship and advertising, and channel sales. For example, United Parcel Service teamed with eBay to offer shipping services to eBay users.

In 2004, Mr. Briggs wants to step up efforts to show people how eBay works. "We'll be looking to tap more into the emotional roots of eBay ... in advertising, online, with our community, partners and promotions."

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