eBay's Changing Identity

Best known for online auctions, the PayPal parent is building a diversified portfolio of Internet businesses. So why aren't investors happier?

In its television ads, eBay describes itself as the place to get "it," whatever it may be. The company deliberately leaves "it" undefined to emphasize the immense variety of goods available for auction on its site. "It" is anything a consumer can imagine. But as eBay expands into myriad new businesses—from telecommunications to social networking—some investors are puzzling over what it (eBay) is becoming.

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