eBay bought Half in 2000 for about $350m. It was a big deal at the time but it does look like small change in the rear-view mirror. eBay, seeking growth and development and new ideas beyond auctions, did quite a few deals around that time. The most vital being the purchase of Alando in summer 1999 which became eBay Germany and a huge profit centre.
Half.com was the big new horizon for eBay exploration in the US back at the tun of the millennium. It represented a different business model and a possible future route. Half wasn’t about auctions and offered fixed priced, but discounted, options. It was hugely popular with students and focussed on textbooks and CDs. eBay was feeling its way in ecommerce and it was an interesting business. But now Half will be shut down.
On one level, this is unsurprising. When Chris and I chatted about this over the weekend, we actually both thought it had already been closed. Half never made any splash here in Europe and scarcely made a ripple in the ecommerce pond stateside either after acquisition.
But now it’s official. As the email to Half users says: “We would like to thank you for your support of Half.com – some of you have been with us since we launched in 1999. We have enjoyed being part of your selling journey and wish you ongoing success. For all of your future marketplace needs, visit the eBay Seller Center to learn how to grow your business on eBay.”