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Business - Written by on Monday, March 9, 2009 8:56 - 0 Comments

Denis Hancock
Is Sears making a move into ‘social commerce’?

Back in early 2007 Don wrote about eBay’s foray into social commerce – the key idea being that the company was trying to integrate the emerging relationship and trust measurement tools of social networking sites directly into the transactional relationships and trust metrics currently employed by eBay to facilitate commerce. Or in the words of Mancini himself (The Senior Director of Platform and Innovation):

Our feedback system is based on transactions, as opposed to determining whether I can trust this person through some other relationship other than a transaction. We need to stay on top of this trend.

I haven’t heard as much about “social commerce” since then as I once expected (and a Google News search for “eBay social commerce” still has stories from 2007 at the top), but I was reminded of it today when I read the rather surprising TechCrunch story that Sears was acquiring Delver – A site in alpha mode that goes under the tag line “Your friends know you best. Search your world and find stuff that matters to you!

It seems like a rather weird acquisition for Sears (I probably wouldn’t have blinked it it was eBay/ Google / Facebook/ Twitter) – with the fact that TechCrunch felt placing “(Really)” at the end of the title for the story as a great indicator of that. And if you do a Google News Search for “Sears Delver”, you only get a couple of hits, and the overall message right now seems to be that Delver was about to go belly up (couldn’t get another $6 M in financing), and Sears decided to jump in… for some unknown reason.

Of note, I can’t get the actual Delver site to work for me, and the company hasn’t updated its blog since 2008, so there’s not a ton of recent stuff to go on here – but there were quite a few interesting stories about the company back in mid 2008 (like these two), and the concept seems pretty cool – particularly the objective of integrating into existing social network structures rather than trying to create a new one.

So I guess there are a few questions here – is Delver a good idea (I say yes), can Delver pull off their idea (I have no clue), and whether having Sears acquire them can work or not (I guess it’s better than bankruptcy, but…). Any thoughts?

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