Half.com Comes to eBay: What does this mean for Sellers?

Richard Brewer-Hay

Recently, as reported here on Ink, eBay committed to giving sellers 60 days notice of changes that may impact their business – and that this would happen only twice a year. Consistent with that commitment, today eBay made an AB post that announced that in early May, Half.com inventory will be available on eBay.com. For Half.com sellers this means that beginning in early May, your inventory will become discoverable on eBay.com for no additional fee. According to my sources, we are making this change for two critical reasons that will ultimately have bearing on all sellers.

eBay Reports Second Quarter 2008 Results

1) We are testing a product-based experience in the media (books, music, movies, and video games) categories. For buyers, a product-based experience will make it faster and easier for them to find what they are looking for. For our sellers, a product-based experience will save them time and make it easier to list an item. Given these benefits, Our hope is to move this experience across the site for categories with a significant number of listings utilizing product details. Before doing so, we have to understand how our buyers will interact with this type of experience. To properly test this experience, we need to ensure significant SKU breadth and depth. A positive reaction to this test from our buyers would be a big step towards eliminating insertion fees in certain categories.

2) Great values in Media are a tremendous traffic driver for the entire site. Increasing our selection with the great values available on Half.com benefits all sellers regardless of category.

Importantly, while Half.com inventory will be discoverable, individual listings will not be searchable. In contrast, existing eBay.com media sellers will find that their individual listings remain searchable. For all media sellers on Half.com and eBay.com this presents a choice: sell your items through eBay.com, pay a $.05 insertion fee and receive exposure in both the product-based experience and through searchable individual listings; or sell through Half.com, pay no insertion fee and receive more limited visibility behind our product-based experience.