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Tech Industry

eBay retains Half.com site

The auction giant is backing off earlier plans to roll the fixed-price marketplace into the auction site and rename it.

At least for now, Half.com will stay whole.

eBay is backing off earlier plans to roll its popular fixed-price marketplace into eBay and rename it eBay Express Buys. While eBay will combine user registration and feedback on both sites over the next few weeks, and plans to move Half.com's back-end systems to eBay, Half.com will remain an independent site.

"After carefully considering ways to offer more options to users of both sites, we have decided to align the two communities more closely together while maintaining the uniqueness of each," eBay said in a note on its site.

The decision to maintain the separate sites came in response to feedback from members, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said.

"One of things that we were hearing was the suggestion that we slow it down a bit," Pursglove said.

eBay bought Half.com in 2000 in a move to diversify its site from auction-based trading to fixed prices. eBay has since expanded the selection on Half.com from its original media products--books, CDs and videos--to computers, sporting goods and other items.

Last fall, eBay announced that it would take over much of Half.com's operations and would eventually do away with the Half.com name. As part of the consolidation, eBay laid off 18 Half.com employees.

Although Half.com will remain an independent site, it will be more closely connected with eBay. Over the next four to six weeks, eBay will convert Half.com feedback from its 5-point scale to eBay's standard feedback format.

Additionally, eBay will combine the registration information of both sites so that members will use the same user ID and password to log onto either one. Later this week, eBay will contact Half.com members to ask them to change their user ID so that it will work on both sites, Pursglove said.