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Ebay buys e-commerce recommendations service Hunch

Hunch gathers information on individual tastes from social networks and other sites

Ebay has acquired Hunch, an online platform for customized purchase recommendations, for an undisclosed price, it said Monday.

Buyers on eBay are expected to benefit from Hunch's predictive ability to generate recommendations for items available on eBay, based on their specific tastes, the company said in a statement.

Hunch uses inputs from across the Web including from social networks, answers to Hunch's own questions, and public review data from retail and review sites to build "Taste Graph" maps that connect people on the web with their affinity for products.

The Hunch API (application programming interface) provides access to this information to third-party websites and applications through result recommendations as well as predictions about users.

Hunch will enable eBay to move beyond standard item-to-item recommendations and use a broader variety of members' online tastes and interests to suggest new and interesting items for them to browse and buy on eBay, the online auctioneer said. Hunch's ability to tailor data to meet customer needs can also be used in other areas at eBay including search and advertising, it added.

Hunch in New York started operations in June, 2009. All Hunch employees are staying with the company, and will continue to be based in New York, Chris Dixon, co-founder and CEO of Hunch said in a blog post on the Hunch website.

Dixon said the Hunch website will continue to operate as a stand-alone site. "It remains a thriving place to discover and share recommendations, and it's an active source of new learning that continues to enhance the Taste Graph's predictive ability," he added.


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