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eBay acts on Hunch to get recommendation engine

The online auction site says the acquisition will let it use Hunch's technology to make the shopping and selling experience a bit better for its customers.

eBay has bought recommendation engine Hunch for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced today.

New York-based Hunch launched in 2009 as a place to find personalized recommendations on a range of topics, including video games, movies, and technology, based on a user's personal preferences. In order to make recommendations, Hunch asks a series of multiple-choice questions. Upon choosing an answer, the service learns a bit more about the user, and offers up some topics or products they might like based on that.

Although Hunch and eBay don't look like a perfect match at first glance, it appears that the online auction site has no desire to use Hunch in its current form. Instead, eBay said today, it will use Hunch's technology to improve its own recommendations across its site.

"With Hunch, we're adding new capabilities to personalizing the shopping experience on eBay to the individual relevant tastes and interests of our customers," Mark Carges, eBay's chief technology officer and senior vice president of Global Products, Marketplaces, said in a statement. "We expect Hunch's technologies to benefit eBay shoppers as they browse and buy, and to bring sellers on eBay new ways to connect the right products with the right customers."

Terms of the Hunch deal were not disclosed. However, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington reported on his personal blog today--prior to the acquisition announcement--that eBay would be acquiring Hunch for $80 million.

According to eBay, Hunch's co-founders, Chris Dixon, Tom Pinckney, and Matt Gattis, along with the rest of the company's employees, will stay on in their current roles.