Irish firm buys failed dotcom domain Boo.com
Boo.com is back! The Irish owners of the prominent HostelWorld.com accommodation-booking site, Web Reservations International, have acquired the notorious Boo.com domain, infamous as one of the landmark European dotbomb failures of 2000.
The Boo.com collapse of 2000 was one of the more spectacular and dramatic failures of that time. It began as a fashion portal selling apparel and was noted for its use of an avatar called Miss Boo. However, the technology was pre-broadband and too advanced for most internet users based on 56Kbps modems
Excessive spending that involved five-star hotels and trans-Atlantic Concorde flights by its young founders and expensive advertising campaigns failed to match earnings on the site and it collapsed in May 2000 after spending US$120m. In 2005, CNET named Boo.com the sixth greatest dotcom flop.
After the collapse the domain was bought by Fashionmall.com for a reported £250,000. In the past year, cryptic messages stating that "Boo.com is back" and a new site will be launched began appearing, culminating in today's new travel site owned by Web Reservations International.
The company did not disclose how much it paid for the Boo.com domain.
The new Boo.com portal is expected to combine intelligent search, pricing, reviews and a social network to create a unique online experience.
Web Reservations International, headed by chief executive Ray Nolan, is one of Ireland's e-business success stories, processing 70,000 bed nights per day, handling €300m in bookings annually and the company itself generated EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of €19m.
"Travel is about great experiences and that should start with the planning and selection process," explained Nolan. "We've taken the key components required to make the perfect choice and put them together in one site.
"The traveller is our primary concern. If they're not satisfied, neither are we. With boo.com, we've really tried to tie the best the web has to offer with a memorable and fun brand. There's no site like it."
Nolan said that unlike the previous Boo.com, Web Reservations International has been in the business of creating profitable websites since 1999, including Hostelworld.com and Trav.com.
The new domain will feature over 50,000 hotel properties and will launch with more than one million user reviews collected from existing Web Reservations International sites.
As well as this all hotels listed on Boo.com will be done so for free and instead Boo.com will get a low commission or earn pay-per-click revenue from click-outs to hotels' own websites.
The site, which definitely follows the social networking model in layout and appearance and opens with the question "where do you want to go?" has been launched in English with other languages to follow.
By John Kennedy