Half.com officially closed on August 31st, and the URL now redirects visitors to eBay.com. Half.com launched in 1999 and catered to buyers of books, music, movies, and games. eBay acquired the fixed-price media marketplace in 2000 and came close to shutting it in October of 2004.
Why close it now?
Since the breakup of eBay Inc. in 2015, eBay is a much smaller company and is putting all of its limited resources for Marketplaces into Seller Hub and its Structured Data initiative. (Part of Half.com's appeal had been its catalog approach that made it easy for sellers to list and easy for shoppers to find the item they were looking for.)
And in 2000, eBay had been considered an auction site; 17 years later, CEO Devin Wenig is trying to get the message out to shoppers that eBay is a fixed-price marketplace and is running a "Color Your Cart" brand marketing campaign to drive the point home. It no longer needs a separate fixed-price site.
As EcommerceBytes reported in June, eBay notified sellers of the pending closure and urged them to consider growing their business on eBay instead. "We believe we can provide a greater selling opportunity for our selling community, and a better shopping experience for our buyers, by focusing on the core eBay.com platform."
Sellers who sold via Half.com (HDC) liked it because it was free to list, so they didn't have to use any of their free listings on eBay to list books that might take a while to sell. But last December, commission fees spiked
, and some sellers expected that might be the beginning of the end for Half.
An EcommerceBytes reader said
the writing had been on the wall for a while. "When they raised fees to 25% last year it was clear they were trying to scare the remaining users away from the site. No remaining users = no complaints when it gets shut down, I guess."
Some buyers and sellers writing on industry boards on Friday said they had been unaware the site was set to close on August 31st - one buyer wistfully wondered if they would be able to recover their wish list.
Visitors are now presented with an interstitial that includes a link to sign in before being redirected to eBay:
Half.com has closed. We are redirecting you to ebay.com, where you can find great deals on a wide selection of books, movies, music and more.
Click here to access the My Account section of Half.com.
In its letter to sellers in June, eBay explained said returns would continue to be processed until October 31, 2017, and it provided an email for those who had questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.