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eBay buys recommendation engine Hunch for a reported $80 million

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Shopping on eBay is about to get more personal: the online auction and retail giant announced today that it has purchased Hunch, a “recommendation engine,” which delivers customized results based on a series of questions it asks of the user.  According to Michael Arrington, who broke the story early this morning, eBay paid around $80 million for Hunch, which first launched in 2009.

According to eBay’s press release, the company will use Hunch’s “Taste Graph” to help deliver “meaningful, yet often non-obvious, recommendations for items available on eBay based on [customers’] specific tastes.” The integration of Hunch’s technology will be used in a variety of ways, including advertising, search and marketing initiatives, says eBay.

“We are engaging consumers in innovative ways and attracting top technologists to shape the future of commerce,” said Mark Carges, eBay’s chief technology officer and senior vice president of global products and marketplaces, in a prepared statement. “With Hunch, we’re adding new capabilities to personalizing the shopping experience on eBay to the individual relevant tastes and interests of our customers. 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.”

In light of the announcement, Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon said on the company blog Hunch.com will continue to operate as a stand-alone site, and the company will keep its base of operations in New York City. In addition, “all Hunch employees” will remain with the company, writes Dixon.

If you already have a Hunch account, but are disturbed by the eBay buyout, and want to delete it, follow these instructions.