Thursday, February 22, 2007

Don't be scared - Boo.com is back, and it might just be good

Why the new Boo a dó may be exactly what web 2.0 should be...

Way back in the hey day of the Celtic Tiger Irish Internet boom, websites and web companies were springing up like shamrocks.

I was lucky enough to start work in 2000 with a "revolutionary website, a one stop shop for all your internet needs, a site and product for everyone that would change the internet in Ireland forever".

There was a huge launch, a huge budget, a huge buzz about it. I remember offices in Citywest with 98 people in different teams, all working on this project. It failed.

Certain people may disagree, but how many people are sending their emails through their TV now?

There's no denying it was a great idea, and a lot of talented people worked on it but ultimately the execution failed. Personally, I had a great passion about it but couldn't do much about the ultimate cause... what was to become the disintegration of the Irish Internet Industry.

Very few .coms/.ie's that began then are still operating. Certainly it's only those with good business models who ran their business well, with the support of good staff have prospered.

However I digress. One of the first international .com bombs was the demise of Boo.com, an online fashion retailer (a one stop shop for everything you need...). I remember hearing about it at the time. The founders had called it 'a totally new concept in online shopping'. Its failure certainly ruffled a few feathers.

Being the geek I am, I was recently given the book Boo Hoo, A Dot Com Story and this documented boo's downfall. Fascinating read. Basically as the Wikipedia article, the recent posts in blogs and the book says, it was a good idea badly executed. Terribly badly. $135million in 18 months badly.

And now, apparently, it's coming back and the domain is registered to an Irish user.

And you know what? It looks like it could have something good...



I've never been one for online fashion buying - even if I could earn PiggyPoints from Curly for buying them from ASOS.com, so it may not affect me too much, but what they've done on their (coming soon) homepage is create a slider which could very well be how this internet 2.0 should be.

Basically it's a slider that changes what I see based on where I feel the slider should be. So if the slider represents me and the content is what changes... well that's interesting. Not necessarily new, but interesting.

"Say what you like, love what you find."

One of the big problems I personally have with most websites is that they don't really care about ME. Gerry McGovern writes about seeing your reader, not a user, and most web 2.0 companies who are successful are trying to personalise their sites to the nth degree. That's why this new boo (boo 2.0?) may be on to something.

Think Bebo, Flickr, Moo Cards, Last.fm, Google's personalised Homepage (and the cooler Netvibes) - all offering a more personal browsing experience. It's what I want on my screen.

Seth Godin has posted about a more personal integrated experience as part of Web4. The new boo could be offering that. If I can truly say (or choose) what I like and so I'll love what I find, I'm sold already.

At the moment I'm far more Overture than Overdrive (with one notable exception) and so the idea that my browsing experience will be based not on what the website thinks I am, but who I really am appeals to me.

Personalisation is huge. Look at the amount of Bebo accounts with photos, movies, backgrounds, out there. Similiarly photos on Flickr, videos on You Tube. People will take the time to get what they want.

Amazon kinda does it well - it suggests books/DVDs that other people have chosen - but I may not be interested. The books that are on special offer though grab my attention.

I'm not sure what this new Boo will be. Fashion? Food? Music?

Their landing page gives no firm clue, but if they offer me the chance to get what I want based on who I'm telling them I am, rather than putting me into one of their categories or suggesting it, well that'll be cool.

And so I add my voice to the others who wait (blog) with bated breath to see what this new boo will be. No matter how huge the budget, how fashionable the clothes, how cool the technology or how nice the site, they have to remember there's a person on the other end of the screen trying to find what they want quickly and easily. Make me love what I find.

4 comments:

  1. Hey Darragh, interesting blog u got there. I had a look at the new boo.com page you were talkin about and its pretty nifty alright. Still no clue about what the new site will represent. Overture or overdrive - I rekon i'm somewhere in the middle!

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  2. Hi Darragh, interesting that you think the new boo might be all about you, you could just be right...

    What if it was about You and the wisdom of people like you? What if You could be in control and have it your way?

    Maybe you usually trust the multitude or prefer to trust friends and family?

    What if boo could be all of this at the same time.....

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  3. Hey insider@boo. I see we sponsored a golden spider award this year, and then won a different golden spider award. Who says we can't buy those things?

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