eBay buys Swedish machine learning startup Expertmaker

Expertmaker has been a partner of eBay's since 2010 as part of the company's structured data initiative.

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eBay said Thursday it is buying Swedish machine-learning startup Expertmaker. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ed Bott

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Expertmaker has been a partner of eBay's since 2010 as part of the company's structured data initiative.

In a nutshell, the structured data initiative is eBay's attempt to clean up its product catalog and make it easier for people to find what they want amongst the more than 900 million listings hosted on the site.

"One component of eBay's strategy to drive the most relevance is its shift to be more product-based," eBay wrote in a news release. "With this initiative, which eBay calls structured data, the company is organizing its vast inventory in order to better aggregate insights into supply and demand. This structured data foundation will allow eBay to build better user experiences and improve discoverability."

The effort comes as eBay struggles to turnaround its marketplace, which has seen revenue drop over the past year on ever-growing competition from Amazon. In its earnings report last week, eBay posted a tepid 4 percent growth rate overall.

Moving forward, Expertmaker's employees will join eBay's structured-data team, with Expertmaker founder and CEO Lars Hard slated for the role of director of data science. eBay said Expertmaker will contribute to primarily to data processing, specifically with respect to product attribute normalization.