EBay shelves plan to axe Half.com unit

EBay has dropped plans to close its Half.com next month and move the online used merchandise store's buyers and sellers onto eBay's site.

Half.com, acquired by eBay in 2000, apparently changed its plans after many of the site's registered online sellers and buyers opposed the move. Half.com was slated to be shut down October 14.

In an announcement yesterday, Half.com said it will remain in operation "indefinitely."

"We have decided not to go forward with this plan (to close) and will keep Half.com open indefinitely," Mike Aufricht, vice president and general manager of Half.com, said in a statement.

While many Half.com sellers have already moved to sell their items on eBay in anticipation of the Half.com closing, "we have not seen a corresponding drop in business on Half.com," Aufricht said. "In fact, loyalty to Half.com has remained strong as we witnessed yet another outstanding back-to-school season on Half.com."

Now the company has decided to take the suggestions of many of its users and keep both sites open. The eBay site allows sellers to auction items to the highest bidder or sell them via instant fixed-price auctions under a sliding fee scale, with brief sales windows of up to 10 days at a time. Half.com allows sellers to list items at fixed prices indefinitely without any listing fees and forgoes the auction approach for a straight sale method.

By keeping both sites in operation, Aufricht said the online auction "marketplace can be more vibrant with both Half.com and eBay. Your input, as well as the data and experience we have gained during the transition efforts, are the basis for our decision to keep Half.com open. There will be no substantive changes to Half.com in the foreseeable future."

Officials at eBay and Half.com could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this year, eBay announced that the closing of Half.com would take place July 13. But that date was extended to Oct. 14 to provide more time for the transition.

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Todd R. Weiss

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