Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It takes a special kind of guts to relaunch Boo.com

Back in the good ol' days, Boo.com was best known for being a prime example of How Not To Run An Internet Company.

The online fashion retailer famously spent heaps of its venture capital on not very much - $120 million, according to Wikipedia - and the site was dogged with what can reasonably be called "a crap design".

The company went into receivership in May 2000. The fall-out was huge. Lessons across e-commerce was learned very quickly.

CNet.com even named the Boo project in sixth poition in its Biggest Dot-com Flops of all time.

Here's how it looked at one point:

Fast-forward seven years and Boo.com is back - AS AN ONLINE TRAVEL BRAND!

The site has been re-launched by Web Reservations International as a rather intriguing hotel meta search/portal effort, with some excellent functions such as reviews, destination information, weather, Ajax-driven search functionality, tons of images, destination clouds, user blogs and maps.

It looks the business, too.


The new Boo reckons it has 50,000 hotel properties worldwide and more one million reviews, collected from other WRI sites such as Worldres, Trav.com, Hostels.com.

The question many will be thinking: Is a fancy new site, concentrating on a different sector, enough to eradicate what for many was a name associated with failure?

Seven years is actually quite a long time on the web. The target demographic, we suspect, was probably more concerned with teenage matters than the fate of a flashy fashion start-up.

The site's backers, probably anticipating a surge of interest in Boo.com, have already found someone to update the Wikipedia page today. Got to get rid of that old image...

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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5 comments:

jebworks said...

I've seen an early preview of the site back in January at Hostelworld and was quite impressed by the features. Very much travel 2.0 oriented and the final product, while I haven't checked it out in detail, looks attractive and well planned.

As for the name, I doubt it will have a negative impact. Who among the general audience is even aware of the original flame out? It was very much an insider story known to the dotcom world.

Sam I Am said...

I agree with the previous commenter that the name is not going to do them much harm. In fact, if they didn't go into it on the new boo site I would never have known there used to be a site at that location, let alone one that went bust so nicely :) As someone who spends pretty much every working hour online and has done for the past 5 years (with plenty of internet usage before that as well) I can only imagine how little the target market (assuming that's in the 20-30 year old segment) will be aware of this....

What I'd be more interested in is to see how this develops. Those guys at web res know how to run a business or two, however convincing users you are not about plugging your own booking systems but are about the community aspect can be tough (especially when you own the booking system that powers the bookings)....

The site is very slick though! Almost wish TP was that slick... ;)

Darren said...

Click here to view the old boo.com site back to the 1999s til its demise.

Travolution Blogger said...

Jebworks, Sam I Am: i don't think for a second that Boo.com will be saddled with legacy issues. But it does take some guts to do it, bearing in mind how the majority of news stories written about the launch have focussed on the old boo, rather than the new boo. nice site though...

Travolution Blogger said...

Darren: ta....