Online auction giant picks up location-based app maker Where.com in its latest move towards local commerce.
Another day, another location-based acquisition involving the daily deals space. eBay has purchased Where.com, which runs an app for listing merchants, restaurants, and bars while serving deals for such establishments based on user location.
Kathy Chui, eBay spokesperson, told ClickZ News that Where's app has four million active users on a monthly basis who are being reached by as many as 120,000 retailers on the platform. She said the app technology will not be folded into other eBay mobile products, stating the Where brand will stand.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Chui said it "is expected to close during the second quarter."
Incorporating eBay's popular digital payment product, PayPal, could help the eBay-Where union compete against an emerging list of location-based daily deals players. Niche leader Groupon purchased location-based service Whrrl on Monday and plans to integrate the newly acquired technology's personalization features into its mobile app. Also, Groupon's chief competitor LivingSocial launched a location-based service called "Instant Deals" last month.
Amanda Pires, a director for brand and experiential marketing at PayPal, said the following in a blog post this morning about her company's purchase of the Boston-based Where:
"As a first step, we plan to integrate PayPal into the WHERE mobile app to make it even easier for PayPal customers to take advantage of the local deals…. eBay Inc. is at the forefront of a new retail landscape, which is more convenient, more accessible, more local and - and more relevant to more consumers than ever before…. Mobile and local are key areas for us…. Since we don't compete with our merchants, we are in a unique position to partner with retailers of all sizes and help people shop and pay anytime, anywhere and in any way they want."
Merchants on eBay.com have automatically had a presence via search and listings on the site's mobile app. Meanwhile, the Where purchase continues eBay's push into local commerce. Last year, it bought local shopping brand Milo and barcode scanning technology company RedLaser and has since incorporated them into the eBay mobile app.
Interestingly, Where.com was granted a patent in 2010 that includes geofencing capabilities. eBay may have designs on delivering offers and ads to people who have chosen to automatically opt into receiving them while nearby participating merchants.
Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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