Boo.com – a notorious dotcom bubble startup – is planning to relaunch. The confirmation has been made in Swedish media magazine “Komet” by Jonas Arnberg, who works for Handelns Utredningsinstitut (HUI), a respected retail research institute in Sweden. Arnberg told Komet that given that the internet shopping market had developed so much over the past couple of years, it was a sign of the times that “boo.com will be relaunched in 2007”.
In an email interview, Arnberg said “According to their website they are supposed to open during this year, since they still haven’t opened I’m not sure if its not going to happen or if it’s just delayed.”
“However, what’s interesting and which I talked about in the article was that Swedish e-commerce now is starting to matter, and also be an important player in some industries (in home electronics the share of total sales is about 10-15 percent). In this second e-boom the concepts are a lot more mature and successful, and even clothes are selling well on the internet, mainly driven by the former mail order firms but also by new companies” he added.
In 1999 Boo.com, a fashion retail site, burnt through $120 million in six months, in part because it’s call centre was situated in London’s fashionable Carnaby Street, as opposed to a cheaper location. The web site was also built by three different development teams spread across the globe, while it’s home page was notorious for its slow load time and use of – then less common – Flash.
Founded by Ernst Malmsten, Kajsa Leander and Patrik Hedelin, Boo.com’s largest backer was Omnia, a fund backed by members of Lebanon’s wealthy Hariri family, which put nearly $40 million into the company. Over 400 staff and contractors were made redundant when Boo went into receivership in May 2000.
Fashionmall.com is believed to be the last known owner of the Boo name and the Miss Boo character, while the ecommerce software UK IT firm Bright Station.
Despite it’s terrible name in the industry, among the general public there is probably enough name recognition to make this – and I say this hesitantly – almost a savvy move on Boo’s behalf. Just the amount of pure PR it would get from the mainstream press – usually happy to damn the latest wave of innovation as another “bubble” for the sake of a good story – might justify a new launch.