eBay Buys Recommendation Service Hunch To Improve Buying, Selling [Updated]
Hunch, a service that provides a ?taste graph? of personalized recommendations based on users? interests, has just been bought by auction site eBay, the companies have confirmed. The amount hasn?t officially been disclosed, but Michael Arrington (who had the scoop this morning) hears that it?s around $80 million.
[Update: We caught up with Dixon and eBay chief technology officer Mark Carges by phone just now, and got some more details on the deal and what it means for both companies. Our notes below.]
Founded in late 2007 and launched in 2009, the New York company will be used by eBay to help improve buying and selling recommendations for its users. From the release:
Hunch?s technology talent and its deep expertise in areas like machine learning, data mining and predictive modeling are expected to help eBay expand and grow merchandising and relevance capabilities to further improve the shopping and selling experience for eBay customers. For example, eBay buyers are expected to benefit from Hunch?s predictive ability to generate meaningful, yet often non-obvious, recommendations for items available on eBay based on their specific tastes.
Cofounder Chris Dixon (a regular contributor here at TechCrunch) says on his company blog that the relationship with eBay started after Hunch began allowing other companies to use its Taste Graph. As part of eBay, Hunch will continue to operate somewhat independently ? all of its employees are staying on at its New York headquarters, and the Hunch.com site will stay live.
Hunch had raised around $20 million from investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures and Ron Conway.
Dixon and Carges say that the deal will help surface more quality recommendations from eBay?s ?long tail? of unstructured listings. Let?s say a coin collector is on eBay looking to add to their collection. As Dixon explains, Hunch might be able to surface relevant items that aren?t obvious, like microscopes that are especial