Several companies have unsuccessfully challenged eBay's dominance in the online auction market. The uniquely distinguishing aspect of eBay — and, some might argue, the key to eBay's continuing success — is that eBay operates as a community of members, not as a store, franchise, or company.
eBay is a self-policing, self-helping, and, to some extent, self-governing sales universe. The eBay community, which includes eBay members and eBay staff, abides by certain community values, including simple principles such as "We believe people are basically good" and "We encourage you to treat others the way you want to be treated." This sense of community should never be taken lightly by users, because the power of eBay community opinion is substantial. Failing to abide by community rules can get you suspended or banned from eBay. Conversely, the eBay community is also supportive — eBay and its members offer a lot of free advice and help to those getting started, which in turn engenders more loyalty to the site. To get a sense of this support, review some of eBay's rich collection of resources and help, including the following: