John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

The Old Boo.com Mascot Appears Only if There Are Insufficient Funds to Complete the Purchase

boomascot.gifBoo.com is apparently back from its well-deserved dirt nap. The online apparel store, which during the dot-com boom of the late ’90s burned through an astonishing $120 million in six months before collapsing*, has reinvented itself. As a travel site.

Ironic, isn’t it, that amid all this chatter about a second boom, the exemplar of the first boom’s grotesque excesses has popped back up like the dead guy in “Weekend at Bernie’s”?
Admittedly, the site is an entirely different animal this time around. Founded by Ray Nolan, creator of Web Reservations International, the new Boo.com will be a social-networking and travel-booking site.

“Given the history of the old Boo, we wanted to get it out there that things work well,” Feargal Mooney, Boo’s chief operating officer, told ZDnet. “We didn’t want to have to pull (the site) down five minutes after launching it. The techie space will remember, but the general public will not remember that much … [Boo is the] anti-Boo.” For his sake, he better hope so.

*The New York Times once tallied up Boo.com’s expenditures, which included $150,000 annual salaries for the founders, plus $100,000 apiece to rent apartments in London and another $100,000 to redecorate them; $654,100 on promotional giveaways like disposable cameras and snow globes; and $5,000 per day to a crew of fashion consultants and hairstylists hired to perfect the look of Miss Boo, the site’s computer-animated mascot, about which a usability expert once said, “She is prettier than Microsoft’s Bob but just as annoying.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work