Ebay has acquired product recomendation and personalization service Hunch for a reported $80 million.
Hunch, introduced in 2009, delivers customized suggestions to users based on the information they share on social networks and their activity on other websites. eBay will use HUnch's "taste graph" technology to suggest "non-obvious" but relevant products for shoppers through its use of predictive merchandising.
“We are engaging consumers in innovative ways and attracting top technologists to shape the future of commerce,” said Mark Carges, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Global Products, Marketplaces. “With Hunch, we’re adding new capabilities to personalizing the shopping experience on eBay to the individual relevant tastes and interests of our customers. We expect Hunch’s technologies to benefit eBay shoppers as they browse and buy, and to bring sellers on eBay new ways to connect the right products with the right customers.”
The quality of product recommendations on retailer websites has been declining which may be one reason eBay acquired Hunch. According to one recent survey, 59% of shoppers said they received poor quality product recommendations from retailer websites in 2009 - a substantial 31% increase from the 45% of shoppers who reported poor quality product recommendations in 2008.
eBay could ultimately use the Hunch acquisition for a variety of efforts, namely by further building out the x.Commerce platform, but there are a few other possibilities. For example, a new feature of eBay's iPad app shows shoppers relevant merchandise based upon what they are watching on TV.