What: eBay has announced it is acquiring Where, a provider of location-based mobile ads.
Why: The deal is meant to help it connect retailers and shoppers, it said.
What does it do? Where's apps show listings for business and events. It also suggests places and deals based on location and past behavior. Also, Where acquired a daily deals site Local Ginger, now called WhereBuys. Another feature, TechCrunch points out, is its location-based ad network, which shows mobile ads only to people near an advertiser’s store.
How they will mesh: Where will operate under the Paypal division, but as an independent unit. However they will be synching their respective technologies, with Paypal powering Where’s mobile app as a payment mechanism, Tech Crunch says.
What else does Where bring to the table? The company was awarded a patent last year for technology that serves up local coupons via geo-fencing, GigaOm says. "Where CEO Walter Doyle called it the "mother of all geo-fencing patents," at the time, in part because it can conceivably cover any type of local alerts and tailored information based on a person’s movements."
The bottom line: eBay is, like so many other retailers, very interested in location-based ads. "By giving people hyper-local, relevant retailer information and deals on their mobile phones, we see a huge opportunity for local merchants to reach more buyers, and for consumers to get more choice and value when they shop," according to eBay's blog post.