Like any one of you, I like to buy my share of stupid junk on the internet. I've gotten on bidding wars on eBay, having sniped, outbid, overbid, and lost my way through many an auction. But I've always held a special place in my heart for Half.com, which for about ten years now, has been a subsidiary of eBay. These days, Half.com is rather boring and prefunctory, far from it's inarguably more functional and even publicized heyday (it even used to have a town named after it) and far from the chaotic mess it used to be. It wasn't either eBay or Amazon, but perhaps a little bit of both. It was accidentally caught up in the middle of the expanding universe which was the internet. Consider this a list of things of changes, for better or worse, Half.com has endured.
First of all, any level of community or communication Half.com used to have is gone. It wasn't ever to the lengths of Amazon, where there's detailed lists and public wishlists. It never went that far. But, users were able to review products and more importantly, were able to ask questions to the sellers, just like it's sister site, eBay. Each item had several fields of description, which could explain the condition of a certain item to the finest detail, and whatever doubts the user had could be dealt with by asking the seller. Today, the description system has been simplified, and is generally not used descriptively to the extent the other system required. You can't ask any questions to cover up any ambiguities, so you're left with either taking it or leaving it. I recalled the moment this change took place, I ended up not only getting the wrong entry of the series of the book I bought, but it was a softcover version, as opposed to hardcover as described in the listing.
At one point, a few years ago, I began recieving e-Mails asking me to update my wish list. It turns out they added expiration dates, which force the user to keep updating each individual entry, or else face deletion.
In order to ensure your accuracy of your Wish List, please review the products on your wish list and make any modifications you think might be necessary. We have found that users who update their Wish List on a regular basis experience better match rates than those who do not. Additionally, it is important for us at Half.com to ensure our data is up to date and accurate.Isn't it for me to maintain my own list at my own leisure? Even if I don't update something, it doesn't mean that I don't want it anymore. I can't see why a website wont give me the benefit of the doubt. Besides, who does it affect? Worst case scenario, I get prices for things I don't want anymore. Also, it's not like the Wish List's are public, like in Amazon. Not to mention, it warns me months in advance, and even tells me it has deleted entries when it hasn't. So, in a nutshell, it's broken and it's a pain in the ass. This one still stings since the day it became policy.
Coupons are basically useless for the every day user. Not like it's something I expect often or anything, but these days, coupons only exist to serve new members or textbooks over fifty bucks. If you do end up with the high privilege a Half.com coupon, expect to save five bucks.
All Categories, sans everything else.
Here's the part I missed the most, and the most beautifully missed part of the website. With it's multitude of sections, and with it's Everything Else section, Half.com was the grayest friggin' market of a yard sale of the whole internet.You want to buy 1970's Sears Catalogs? Sold! Nintendo Power Gloves? You got it! It was all there. Sometimes, if something you wanted wasn't at the price you wanted it to be in it's regular listing, you could dig deep within "Everything Else" and it might be there, waiting just for you. Either that or they forgot to direct it to the right place. But that was the beauty of it, no?
Though I have no actual proof for this, but the prices are generally higher than they used to be. Call it the collective spoiling of society to eBay savvy, or perhaps it's just the bad economy, but theres stuff I bought then at prices that are unheard of today. For example, I bought a complete boxed copy of the typically elusive video game Earthbound for $37 there. Had the seller looked at eBay, Amazon, or any other website, they would've found prices at least twice that amount, for the same condition. But then, I get the feeling that the general tone was "I'm just getting rid of my son's junk on the world wide web!" That's where Half.com's relative obscurity came into play, being the uncharted Wild West of e-commerce before it decided to build a fence around itself and consider itself tame. Either way, the items on my wishlist aren't getting any cheaper, that's for sure.
If wikipedia and a whole other slew of websites are to be believed, the website was bought by eBay with the intention of being swallowed whole and integrating whatever innovations it had then. But it's surprising amount of sales of textbooks gave eBay a change of heart and allowed the practically terminal Half.com to remain on life support. It's hardly reflective of the internet of today, or yesterday. But it's still an easy way to get positive eBay Feedback.