RealTime IT News

eBay Speeds Integration of Half.com

Online auction giant eBay, which acquired person-to-person, fixed price marketplace Half.com last year, is moving to pull the Pennsylvania operation into the fold and will cut about 13 percent of the workforce.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay said last May that Half.com would be moved onto the eBay platform. Eighteen employees at Half.com will be let go, and 27 others will be given a chance to transfer to eBay's customer service center in Salt Lake City or to eBay's headquarters, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove confirmed today.

"We are accelerating our plans to integrate Half.com into the eBay marketplace," Pursglove told InternetNews.com. "This is due in large part to the increasing success of Half's fixed price format and eBay's Buy It Now feature."

"In short, Josh Kopelman continues to run the Half.com business in Philadelphia and will play a leading role in driving eBay's overall fixed-price strategy," Pursglove said in an e-mail exchange. "Approximately 70 Half.com employees will remain in Philadelphia and Austin, Texas."

Clearly the move is a step toward becoming more competitive with e-tail giant Amazon.com, especially in its core book, music and video segment.

Software engineers are working on ways to combine Half's and eBay's feedback systems (in which buyers rate the reliability of sellers) and let users sign on to both sites at once.

Half.com (the original idea was half off the price of new), which claims to offer more than 50 million items both new and used for sale in hundreds of product categories, was founded in 1999 and offers an eBay-like platform but featuring fixed prices.