DEN, Boo: R.I.P.
BY SCOTT ROSENBERG (05/19/00)
I was interested to read about the demise of Boo.com (although as I write this the site is still up and running, two days after said demise). I can only really comment that the site failed mostly because it appears to have spent too much money on flashy crap, and not enough on getting its name out to the people who would have been buying from it. I work in the fashion field, am very Internet savvy and I can honestly say that I'd NEVER heard of Boo until today. If the company was advertising, it apparently wasn't being aimed at the right people.
Browsing through the site, I found many items that would interest me and my clients, at prices that I found very reasonable (and site navigation wasn't nearly as hard as you describe, as long as you pick the simple mode).
All things considered, I really have to wonder where the money really went.
-- Chris Bucksath
I own and run a Web design shop that mostly offers animation and motion graphics. I strongly disagree with Scott Rosenberg's philosophy that a text-based Web site is a good, sound business model, while all others are treading near Boo- and DEN-style apocalypse.
These sites are gone because they had poor design and lackluster content. If they were entirely text-based, they would be even poorer and more lackluster. DEN's front page was BROKEN, and Boo's design was ridiculous. A good Flash designer (near 99 percent of all users have this plugin, which is standard in all new browsers) can design a site that features loads of animation and sound, and will be viewable by all people, on all browsers, everywhere, and will download immediately on even the slowest modems.
$120 million can't solve the fact that your creative directors are clueless. The Web doesn't have to look like Yahoo! to succeed. See bullseyeart.com. Yahoo is functional, but it is also bleak, gray and boring. Human beings respond naturally to color, movement, sound. The Web doesn't have the potential to BE TV, it has the potential to far surpass it.
-- Keith Rondinelli