eCommerceBytes reports that one of the better sites for buying media online has shut down.
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.)
The thing about half.com was that all the listings were organized by first ISBN/UPC and then by quality. That made it really easy to find the textbook I wanted at the quality I wanted.
That site was a lot easier to use than any other marketplace for books (even Amazon), which is why I bought all my textbooks there when I was a college student.
And now it's gone because Ebay didn't like the competition from it subsidiary. They're now directing visitors to shop at Ebay instead:
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.
That's not going to happen - not for me, anyway.
The problem with buying books on Ebay is that the site lists offers by sale rather than UPC/ISBN. There's no easy way to compare all the offers for, say, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and pick the seller with the optimum trade off between cost and quality.
That's why I never bought books of any kind from Ebay but instead stuck to sites where I can comparison shop, and I can't be the only buyer to have made that decision.
Do you suppose that Ebay management really can't see that they just pushed media sales to Amazon, or do they not care?
image by Mike Knell