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EBay’s Where acquisition will change hyper-local deals space

April 21, 2011

Where iPhone app

EBay Inc. is acquiring Where to strengthen its position in local mcommerce and as a multichannel commerce partner for retailers and brands.

Where has a location-aware mobile application from which retailers and brands can target approximately 4 million users via geo-targeted ads, deals and offers. EBay will integrate PayPal into the Where app.

“Where fits really nicely with our strategic goals of being the leader in local and mobile commerce and the multichannel commerce partner of choice for retailers and brands,” said Kathy Chui, a spokeswoman for eBay, San Jose, CA. “And, it builds on our acquisitions of RedLaser and Milo last year.

“The acquisition of Where will help us help retailers reach consumers through hyper-local offers and deals,” she said.

Understanding the acquisition
EBay is not disclosing the price tag associated with this acquisition. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011.

Where is a Boston-based business that was founded in 2004. It is focused on the intersection of local and mobile commerce, which are two trends eBay has clearly been focusing on for some time now.

EBay’s $75 million acquisition of Milo and its buyout of RedLaser for an undisclosed amount in 2010 is proof of this.

Via its location-based advertising network, Where Ads, Where provides personalized, hyper-local advertising, offers and deals to consumers. More than 120,000 retailers, brands and small merchants use Where daily to reach new audiences and deliver foot traffic to their stores.

PayPal integration
The first thing that will come out of the acquisition is that eBay will integrate PayPal into the Where mobile application. This integration will allow users to not only receive targeted and relevant deals, but also act on them right away within the application.

Consumers will be able to buy from retailers within the Where app using their PayPal accounts.

The ability to let consumers find, shop and pay for local deals anytime, anywhere will be an attractive opportunity for brands and retailers. It will ultimately help retailers reach local buyers in real-time.

“The integration between mobile payments and hyper-local deals is a great opportunity for retailers as consumers can act on deals right within the app,” Ms. Chui said.

Last year eBay added local shopping results from Milo to its RedLaser bar code-scanning application for both Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android.

With the integration of Milo, shoppers on RedLaser can immediately find out through a single scan which nearby retailers currently have a product in-stock and who has the best local price.

Shoppers can scan thousands of products across the shelves of approximately 50,000 stores in the United States, saving time and money.

It is possible that eBay will continue to revamp its mobile offerings as a result of the Where acquisition, making them more location-aware. However, Ms. Chui would not give specifics.

“In the future it is possible that we will look into how to integrate Where’s location functionality to make our mobile properties more location-aware,” Ms. Chui said.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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