Ebay brings AI to its listings with Expertmaker acquisition

Steven Loeb · May 5, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4540

Expertmaker joins eBay's structured data initiative, making it easier to find listings on the site

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Given how long eBay has been our go-to place for buying used products on the Web, it's a little surprising how cluttered it can still feel, and how difficult it can be to navigate. There are a whopping 900 million listings on the site and, honestly, I've often found it to be a difficult place to find things to buy unless I already know pretty much what I'm looking for.

This is not news to eBay, which has been trying to clean up its listings under the umbrella of its "structured data initiative." Now the company adding some intelligence to that project by acquiring Swedish intelligent automation and optimization platform ExpertMaker. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.  

Expertmaker's employees will join eBay’s structured data product and technology team. Lars Hard, the Founder and CEO of Expertmaker, will join as Director, Data Science reporting into Amit Menipaz’s organization. He will continue to lead his team as a part of eBay and serve as a visiting lecturer at Lund University in Sweden.

Founded in 2006, Expertmaker says it "offers intelligent solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Big Data analytics for forward thinking companies." Its platform enables rapid deployment of customized solutions, including prediction, optimization, and personalization.

The two companies have been working together for years, as Expertmaker has been a partner of eBay’s since 2010, most recently helping with the initiative it is now joining. 

The structured data initiative has three components: collecting data; processing and enrich the data, and creating product experiences. That means requiring sellers to provide product data, enhancing content with images and descriptions, and, finally, making it easier for buyers by simplifying  the inventory, improving search, and better targeting.

Expertmaker's technology can be to make help with that last part, by making it easier for user to search and discover listings on the site.

“As a part of eBay, Expertmaker's technology, expertise and talented engineers will play an important role in helping advance eBay’s structured data initiative,” Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay, said in a statement.

“eBay’s structured data effort is a multi-year journey, and we believe the innovation and significant expertise that Expertmaker brings to eBay will help us build a best-in-class product catalog and in turn better serve our customers.”

This is eBay's second acquisition of 2016. In April it bought Cargigi, a provider of online advertising and marketing services for the auto industry, to help onboard auto dealers’ inventory onto the site. 

(Image source: ebayinc.com)

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