04 May 2007

Boo.com re-appears as travel site


As anyone who read the book (boo hoo) knows, boo.com was the definitive dotcom crash. However, not daunted by the legacy, somebody has bought the domain name and is this week re-launching it as a travel website.

That 'somebody' is Web Reservations International (WRI), a Dublin-based online reservations company that includes
hostelworld.com, hostels.com and trav.com among its brands and provides 'white-label' booking engine services to other websites.


I'm sure Ray Nolan, CEO of boo.com, has read the book and knows the history. WRI probably think (quite rightly) that people are unlikely to make directly negative associations between the new site and the original site. Indeed they probably figure that the familiarity of the name will have a positive benefit...

But my instinct is the opposite.

By re-using a well-known brand name with a previous history - good or bad - you are only highlighting the fact that it is 'second-hand', 'used', which somehow makes it feel cheap - like a cyber-squatter.

And by re-using a well-known brand name with a spectacular previous history - good or bad - you are setting a high standard to live up to. A site that is any less spectacular is just going to look second rate - a pale imitation.

I wish them well (not least because I like the site) and hope I'm wrong.... but I don't think I am.

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