meg whitman: EBay operates one of the most technologically sophisticated Web sites in the world. On an average day, we support approximately 300 million page views and process about 1.5 gigabits of data per second during peak usage [Editor's Note: eBay's Web site traffic ranks it as the world's eighth most popular, according to Jupiter Media Metrix]. We've assembled an outstanding IT team within eBay, and our vendor list is a roll call of the world's leading technology companies. We continually invest in technology, not only to deliver new features and functions, but to make the site faster, more dependable, and capable of handling increasing levels of traffic.

We're now aggressively moving ahead with the development of our next generation system, which we call V3. This will allow eBay to [split its database into chunks and distribute the data across many servers]. V3 will provide us with additional flexibility that we need to continue to stay ahead of our growth.

american way: Most customer support departments suffer from poor service and high turnover. How do you improve on that?
We run an efficient online-based customer support organization. Many of the customer support members we hire are already eBay users, so many of them have an in-depth knowledge and passion for eBay before coming to work for us. Also, we provide extensive training to teach them all the ins and outs of using our site. We set goals for a high level of consistency and responsiveness and ask our users to evaluate their performance.

american way: In addition to online and phone in-put from customers, you fly some of them to headquarters to talk face-to-face. With all the comments you already get, is that really necessary?