eBay Closing Half.com as of August 31, 2017

Image: Half.com | Front Page
Image: Half.com | Front Page

eBay notified sellers on Friday that it would be closing Half.com effective August 31, 2017. The company stated in the email returns would continue to be processed until October 31.

Sellers are directed to the eBay Seller Center to learn how to use the eBay platform to grow their business.

The email is short and sweet and really doesn’t say explain why eBay is shutting down the service. eBay did not send out a press release or other general announcement on this closing.

FOUNDED IN 1999, HALF.COM WAS ONCE A RISING STAR

The company was established in 1999 by Josh Kopelman and Sunny Balijepalli. Just one year into its existence, eBay snapped it up for $350 million as a bid to compete with Amazon.com’s book, CD, movie and textbook business.

It was always thought that Half.com would eventually be integrated into eBay, but the used textbook and CD market kept the Half.com site running.

In November 2016, eBay dramatically increased final value fees, some from 15% to 25% on lower priced items. These rate increases were seen by many sellers as the first hint that eBay wanted to shed the marketplace and integrate its operation into eBay.com.

Even the front page looks like it was stuck in time, so the closing of Half.com should not be a surprise to anyone. It was time.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I really don’t care if half.com looked dated. It worked. I happily bought books, music, and movies from them for years. You say “it’s time”? Well, not for me. Latest, greatest sometimes isn’t either.

    Have you ever heard, “If something isn’t broken, don’t mess with it.”

    I am angry and disappointed and don’t like buying from ebay. I will be going to Amazon and whomever else sells used books reasonably.

    • Hey Chris,

      I’m sorry to hear that you were still a fond user of half.com. Sadly when websites do cease trading there will be some core users that will be affected.

      I’m sure as a business decision from the eBay perspective it made sense to them but I know it offers no consolation for those who still used it.

      Totally agree that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” however also from the eBay position they need to ask, if it isn’t making money long term is it worth keeping it operating, which I suspect for them the answer was no.

      I wish you the best in your pursuit of a new source for your shopping needs.

      • I have to agree with Chris. Half.com worked fine…a simple, yet sophisticated search, save (wish list), and purchase setup. EBay itself doesn’t offer that kind of mechanism to find and purchase Half.com product types. Not everything nowadays has to be overly complicated, flashy and ultra-modern looking.

        We don’t know if eBay was making decent profit from the site, or not, as they’ve been less than forthcoming with info. And, please don’t tell me they wouldn’t shut it down if it were profitable. Companies cut off their noses to spite their faces on a regular basis. (See JC Penny, Target, the NFL, etc.) This could very well have been a decision by the Big Man to prove to the Little Guy that Mr Big can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

        Going forward…yes, I’ll still peruse eBay for music and books….but I’ve already started doing downloads from Amazon.com. Half.com’s abrupt shuttering of its doors list my Wish List with approximately 7t
        Oh and…if there’s anything we can do without, it would be the meddlers such as Richard Meldner offering their unwanted and less than valuable opinions. I seriously doubt he ever took advantage of the benefits offered by Half.com

        • Hey Sam,

          Thanks for taking the time to comment. I totally get where you are coming from, half.com was a specialist site which did what it did very well. eBay was and continues to be the generalist which covers all bases. Being based in the UK means I personally never used half.com and only knew of it from the eBay family.

          To me I didn’t see the need of it when I could just use eBay, the separate site didn’t make sense to me but i’m sure it would have if i’d have ever used it.

          Whilst we don’t know I think it is fair to make the guess that it must have no longer made commercial sense for eBay to keep half.com open. If it was turning over reasonable profit that is all they are interested in. When they announced the fee hikes last December that was a good indication that half.com wasn’t generating them the revenue they expected.

          I understand that you are unhappy about half.com’s closure however Richards role here is to report the news as he sees it which of course involves his opinion. As an eCommerce expert with over 10 years experience of selling online he has much more experience than most and his opinions whilst may not be ones you agree with certainly offer value.

          Just like with MySpace, all things come to an end and get replaced by the new flashy shiny versions.

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