shorebreak, I am firmly with Quadrille here!
The eBay brand was built before 2000 - just as the Yahoo and Amazon brand was.
Read the history of eBay, small beginnings and crazy profitable growth from a home server.
The point is, by the year 2000 eBay had "people" and at that time they had people that did paid search search - because by now it was a powerhouse that needed to maintain exponential growth.
The fact that eBay was a giant by the year 2000 is the whole point - just because they then employed a load of people to then continue that growth and accelerate that in line with new Internet user growth is irrelevant to the discussion of what built the brand.
You are basing this purely on how much you know they spent on PPC from the year 2000. This was just a shift in spend to a more maturing type of advertising - just because they spent loads on realnames and you were part of that does not discount how big they were before that.
For example, by June 2000 eBay had purchased 5 companies for a combined total of more than $500 million and had been a public company from 1998 - it bought Paypal in 2002 (helps build brand awareness)
If they weren't a brand in the year 2000 at that level in that context on the Internet (in those dot com boom times), then what were they?
Finally, look at the combined PPC spend of all the shopping arbitragers - shopping.com, bizrate/shopzilla etc. that have been plastered over every search engine for the past 10 years (I am sure they spend more combined than eBay) - have any of those built a brand with PPC? Nope, ask any 100 people in the street whether they have heard of eBay or them and they will say EBAY!
So, fine - eBay make profit from PPC using fancy tools and bulk buying of keywords. So do arbitragers - maybe eBay do it better, although I don't believe it was that good as you don't pull your adwords advertising as an "experiment" if you are making a direct ROI do you?
They just didn't build their brand with PPC.