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By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2004-08-30 Print this article Print

What about security and phishing?

We ensure that in every piece of our infrastructure and architecture, we have security built in. To date, weve never been hacked. Weve never had customer information retrieved from the eBay systems. Weve never had an intrusion to our systems of which Im aware. However, a customer, through an act of phishing, may have given information away. Phishing is an industry problem that happens outside of our platforms, outside of our control. Nevertheless, we attempt to ensure that we can secure people through education, making sure they have appropriate firewalls and anti-virus software. Weve invested in things like the eBay tool bar to make sure that people stay safe anywhere they go on the Internet. The tool bar is a feature that was introduced in February, called Account Guard. It helps people recognize, reject and report back to us when theyre on a site that purports to be eBay or PayPal but isnt. If youre on a spoof site, it will flash red.

Are you using any specific business intelligence applications?

Until about a year and a half ago, our approach was to dump all our data into our data warehouse and let our very intelligent employees figure out what to do with it. Then we had an epiphany: that not all accessors of the data warehouse were created equally. We started to take more of a marketing approach to figure out what different groups needed. We started giving people the access privileges and education appropriate to their needs. We also have data marts sitting off to the side of the warehouse. With the user class came tools specific to that user class. So deep analytics will have access to SAS [Institute Inc.] databases, for instance. Most folks in the middle tier will have access to a number of tools, from either Informatica [Corp.] or homegrown ROLAP [relational OLAP] tools. And, finally, at the pinnacle of the pyramid are the executive users that get information and knowledge distributed to their desk specific to their business and to their needs.

The next vision for this thing is to give the 450,000 people who make their living in whole or in part on eBay information from the data warehouse to help them understand what products are selling the best and what they should put more of on the site.

Looking ahead, as the year progresses, is there any big project that really stands out for you?

Were in a continual improvement process, where our community tells us in real time whats working and what isnt. Weve got 114 million people working in our behalf, telling us what to do. Were the heart, the brain, the soul. The greatest thing about this place is that we get real-time feedback from everyone. Thats why we have the community boards and our engineers go out and talk to the community.

Is there one example that has been a result of this process?

My eBay 2.0, which started up this past spring, is a great example. But just about everything we build comes from the community.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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