eBay is shutting Half.com

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eBay owned US marketplace half.com will be closing down as of 31st of August 2017. Returns will be processed until the 31st of October.

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.”

5 Responses

  1. Hooray!

    Perhaps I will now stop getting this ridiculous message when the system f***s up and fails to relist my items:

    “This item can’t be accessed because the listing has been deleted, is a Half.com listing, or you aren’t the seller.”

  2. what happens to the millions and millions of listing, are they all simply deleted ??

  3. It was SO SIMPLE and “transparent”, (that 90%+ of the time) I’d log into Half.com to browse and THEN wander into Ebay to look-see. Please tell me if Half’s services are relocating to their own site or another site. I hope! I hope! I hope! Then you both could have a link to click for a quick dash to the other’s site, where you could re-log in (as you travel back and forth). Both independent, yet related in a friendly neighbor way. Seems to me it would help BOTH of y’all with customer traffic and sales! Either way I’d like to know WHERE Half.com is. Thanks.
    Donna in Plano, TX.

  4. It seems like a dumb move on eBay’s part. I have been with eBay and half.com since 1996. In fact I joined half.com as a seller because it was a better deal (no monthly membership dues, you only got charged a fee if you made a sale) than eBay. But then eBay bought half.com in 1999 so you had to start paying the eBay monthly dues of $30.

    Another dumb thing about closing down the half site is that eBay did not offer the option of automatically listing half.com sellers’ inventory in the fixed-price section of eBay. Instead, you apparently have to manually reenter the data. At one time I had 1,000s of entries on half.com so that would have been a big deal to me. I feel sorry for those dealers who might have spent the last 17 years adding tens of thousands of listing to half.com just to have eBay cancell all those entries on August 31. Making a listing was so simple with about 3 steps on half.com. The eBay listing process takes what seems like 200 steps and growing because page developers who are trying to keep their jobs are constantly adding new features which can’t be ignored. The worst for me was having to take pictures of every sales item when with half.com a stock photo of the item was acceptable.

    The best site I have found for sellers of books after half.com is betterworldbooks.com which is a close approximation of the listing simplicty of half.com. Also they have a lot of traffic driven to their site because their in-house store is selling books at the lowest price (75 cents + $3 shipping for paperbacks and $4 shipping for hardback) of any internet book dealer. They are a charity and their in-house book inventory is received through donations from the general public in the Chicago area.


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