Boo rises from the ashes
Boo.com began with a splash, ended in tears and has risen again.
The influence of Scorpio, however, won't make things easy.
Fashionmail.com, a U.S. portal, has acquired the name and
relaunched Boo as a means of establishing a European foothold. It
is no longer selling merchandise and aims to provide an entry
point to global fashion retailers, manufacturers, catalogues and
magazines. But will the new Boo fare any better?
The original site horoscope (November 3 1999) shows a status
hungry Scorpio, keen on sophistication and glamour. Mercury, the
planet of trade and networking, is in fiery, jet-setting
Sagittarius, in alignment with dreamy, druggy Neptune, planet of
fashion and hype. This is Boo, full of wild dreams, burning up
advertising cash on champagne bashes for the fashion industry,
boasting a multi-lingual Carnaby Street call centre. The air of
fantasy is all-pervading, coupled with an unrealistic assessment
of internet technology. Its much-delayed, 3D technology was so
sophisticated that it crashed on most home PCs. Boo's Virgo Moon
refused to accept criticism, insisting it catered only to people
with fast connections. After blowing pounds 80 million in six
months, it had to end in tears.
The new Boo, launched with a slogan of 'style never dies',
turns out to be another Scorpio (October 30 2000). Scorpio, the
sign of rebirth, is linked to the phoenix, the mythical bird
rising from the ashes, and although in this incarnation there is
less hype, there are some worrying astrological repetitions. The
technology shouldn't let it down again, but it doesn't look as if
Boo will work second-time around. The fantasy line-up of Mercury
and Neptune has become a tricky square, with Mercury moving
retrograde - bad for communication and bad for trade.
Fashionmail.com have over-estimated the pulling-power of the Boo
name, especially now that the glossy fashion mags are getting
web-wise about multi-platform branding. If it is to succeed, Boo
will need to find a magic ingredient to make its site more
intriguing and content-rich.