eBay buys data analytics startup

E-commerce giant acquires recommendation engine developer, Hunch, for an undisclosed fee to further personalize users' shopping experiences on its site.

Online commerce and payments service provider eBay has made Hunch, a data analysis company that customizes recommendations to users based on their individual tastes, the latest acquisition to the stable of companies it has added this year.

In a press release issued on Monday, eBay stated that Hunch's employees will remain with the company, including co-founders Chris Dixon, Tom Pinckney and Matt Gattis, after the acquisition, but did not disclose the price it paid.

It revealed that Hunch's patented prediction technology, also known as a "taste graph", uses signals from around the Web to match its members to their predicted affinity for products, services, people, Web sites and recommended topics. As such, the startup's knowledge in data mining and predictive modeling will augment the e-commerce giant's existing technologies, it stated.

For example, eBay buyers are expected to benefit from Hunch's predictive ability to provide meaningful, yet non-obvious, recommendations for items available on the e-commerce site based on their specific preferences, the company elaborated.

"We are engaging consumers in innovative ways and attracting top technologists to shape the future of commerce," said Mark Carges, CTO and senior vice president of global products for eBay's marketplaces division, in a press statement.

"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 product with the right customers."

The e-commerce service provider has been busy on the acquisitions front this year. It had splashed out US$2.4 billion to buy e-commerce marketing service provider GSI Commerce in March, and a month later, bought Where--a company that builds location-based mobile apps--among other purchases.