eBay buys Hunch

I picked up on Hunch in August last year when working on eBay Inc’s Shopping.com so it’s great to see my former employer has bought Hunch today. Apparently former-Flickr founder Caterina Fake left last summer to start a new company, but remains an advisor. Also worth reading are the some of the comments on the ‘Uncrunched’ report. Specifically (..& from my limited experience, which I passed on through an ‘EVP’ session..) I agree eBay may need to consider how to hang on to entrepreneurial talent but I’m sure they have it in hand.

Indeed on a general point about nurturing creativity within the enterprise take a look at the recent research on how creativity can be nurtured using a combination of training and financial incentives.

Barcamp London 5Photo by Rain Rabbit

EBay is buying recommendations engine Hunch for $80 million, Michael Arrington at Uncrunched reports.

Hunch is led by Chris Dixon, the prominent New York angel investor.

Hunch had raised $20 million in funding. About a year ago Hunch turned down an offer from Google for $60 million.

EBay will use the technology for its own e-commerce recommendations, says Arrington. He also reports Dixon will lead a recommendations team of 50 people for eBay in New York. That team will grow to 200 over time.

Hunch strategy pays off

Even though its traffic is down, Hunch says new user registrations have risen dramatically recently. And as more users register, Hunch says its recommendation engine keeps getting smarter.

Barely more than two months ago, Hunch began requiring visitors to register/login to use the site. In doing so, all Hunch visitors were required to answer the site’s “Teach Hunch About You” (THAY) questions — the information that Hunch relies on to make more accurate recommendations. To date, Hunch says its users have answered more than 50 million THAY questions. At the time of that June announcement, Hunch said that users with profiles typically get 20% to 40% better results.

In today’s blog post, Hunch shares some of the results of that change:

Since we changed Hunch to login only, our overall site traffic has dropped but the number of users registering daily has tripled to about 3,000 per day, growing aggregate accounts by about 15% every month. The accuracy of recommendations has gotten a lot better since Hunch is much smarter when users have an account.

Hunch also says it will soon announce “a number of partnership deals” that will involve Hunch being used to personalize other web sites.

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