eBay, the company that has dramatically advanced the science of online, auction-based, sales technology, is now committed to applying the predictive analytics behind consumer decision-making or when people make decisions to buy what you are selling.
eBay has acquired Seattle-based Decide.com, a startup that uses price-forecasting, predictive analytics to advise buyers on the best time to acquire consumer electronics among other products — whether they should make their purchase now or wait for the price to drop. Co-founder and CTO Oren Etzioni, a distinguished UW computer science professor, had previously brought predictive pricing technology to airfares, starting Hamlet which later become Farecast, since acquired by Microsoft.
Decide.com’s employees will be joining eBay’s new Bellevue, Wash., offices minus the professor. Etzioni was recently named the head of a new artificial-intelligence institute backed by Paul Allen.
While Decide’s focus has been on providing pricing information to consumers, its engineers will now be tasked with building tools for sellers on eBay’s marketplace. Some tools will aim to help sellers price their items more competitively, and others may help them decide whether an auction is the best sale format for a given product, or whether they need to upgrade a product’s picture quality based on past selling patterns, said eBay CTO Mark Carges.
“eBay’s evidently hoping that Decide’s predictive analytics will “help over 25 million eBay sellers make smarter decisions and be more successful,” opined engadget. As these things tend to go, Decide’s services, website and mobile apps will no longer be available after September 30th, which is pretty awful news for those of you who lied it. For those curious, paying members will be reimbursed for their subscriptions.
Decide.com CEO Mike Fridgen will continue to lead his same staff at eBay. In an earlier blog post, Fridgen commented, “Over the past year, we began experimenting with eBay and discovered an exciting opportunity to apply our team’s strength in data and predictive analytics to help over 25 million eBay sellers make smarter decisions and be more successful. This is an exciting new chapter.”
Decide.com had raised $16.5 million from Madrona, Vulcan Capital and Maveron, most recently receiving an $8 million Series C round in March.
The acquisition price was not disclosed, and eBay execs said it is not large enough to require disclosure in a SEC filing. [24×7]