During eBay's rapid rise, the company nurtured a quaint rumor about its origins, claiming that founder Pierre Omidyar had created the site in 1995 so that his fiancee could trade Pez candy dispensers with other collectors.

Alas, the Pez myth, it was later revealed, had been fabricated by eBay's public-relations director in 1997 to generate buzz about the site.

[The Pez story was so tied to the company's identity that eBay CEO Meg Whitman was often photographed with Pez collections and had more than 100 dispensers displayed in the lobby at eBay headquarters.]

[When internet stocks crashed at the turn of the millennium, Priceline.com went from a market capitalisation worth more than the entire American airline industry to one worth less than two Boeing 747s.]

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