Half.com, Quarter.com, Gone.com

Auction giant eBay, moving as expected to completely integrate its Half.com operation, is planning to phase out the brand by the middle of next year and said the CEO of the fixed-price business is departing.

The integration has been proceeding quietly since eBay bought Half.com in 2000. The site features books, music, and computer games for sale in a fixed price format — similar to eBay’s “Buy It Now” feature.

In an announcement on the Half.com site, eBay says: “We began this integration process two years ago by first combining the customer service functions of both sites into one, and then with the integration of registration, User IDs and feedback. You can now use the same User ID on both Half.com and eBay.”

“We intend for this transition to be seamless and easy for sellers and buyers on both sites. Many of the details of how the transition will take place are not yet available.”

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay, which laid off 13 percent of the Half.com workforce in October 2001, had said in May of 2001 that Philadelphia-based Half.com’s operations would be moved onto the eBay platform.

eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said at the time that “we are accelerating our plans to integrate Half.com into the eBay marketplace … This is due in large part to the increasing success of Half’s fixed-price format and eBay’s Buy It Now feature.”

Now, Josh Kopelman, the head of Half.com, will leave the company April 15, after heading the operation since it was acquired, Pursglove said. Kopelman will be succeeded by Mike Aufricht, previously head of marketing at mobile software maker AvantGo, and will have the same title as Kopelman, vice president of eBay Media.

The 65 workers in Philadelphia will be offered jobs at other eBay locations.

Half.com (the original idea was to let individuals and other sellers market used goods at half off the price of new) was founded in 1999 in part to compete with Amazon.com and offers an eBay-like platform but featuring fixed prices for things like books, music, videos, computer games, etc. In fact, one of the original ideas for the name was Ebazon.com.

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