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Microsoft’s “Bing” Travel Mistake

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One of my favorite travel websites is Farecast.com. The website makes predictions about the price of airfare for major airlines, and it advises whether consumers should purchase their tickets or wait to purchase them, based on a proprietary algorithm (which is based on historic trends and other factors).

From a branding perspective, Farecast is a great brand. Fare from “airfare” is combined with “cast” from forecast, creating a “farecast,” which is a forecast of airfare. The brand is short, unique, and memorable, a powerful branding combination.

A few months ago, I noticed that when I typed in Farecast.com, I was redirected to Farecast.Live.com. The site was still branded as Farecast, but it was redirected to a Microsoft URL. Based on this, I assumed Microsoft had purchased the company, but nothing had really changed so I didn’t think much of it.

Yesterday I received an email from a sender called “bing travel,” and the email notified me that, “Live Search Farecast has joined forces with MSN Travel to become Bing Travel.” I visited Farecast.com, and noticed that the header said “Bing” and there doesn’t seem to be any mention of Farecast. In my opinion, this is a HUGE branding mistake.

Not only has Microsoft killed a great unique brand in Farecast, but it rebranded as a still little-known brand, “Bing.” I understand what they are tying to do – get people familiar with the Bing brand, but it just seems too risky. IMO, “Bing Travel” sounds like a small family travel agency rather than a powerful airfare comparison tool. I think this is a “bing” mistake.

The other (smaller) mistake Microsoft is making is that BingTravel.com doesn’t resolve. They were smart enough to buy it back in July of 2007, but it currently goes to a dead page, despite being on MSFT nameservers.

Only time will tell if this was a smart move, but at least in the short term, I don’t think it wasn’t. This is especially true because I would find it strange to recommend Bing Travel to friends, especially because BingTravel.com doesn’t work!


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (7)

    Mike

    Looks like someone also got hold of wwwbing.com typo without the “.”

    I would think Microsoft would have beat them to typos:

    http://whois.domaintools.com/wwwbing.com

    June 3rd, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Jason

    Farecast was a great name, too bad they’re killing it. What is a Bing or Bing Travel? Can’t they wait for more success of Bing (maybe never) before folding in Farecast? Desperate branding moves… The only “bing” that comes to my mind is a certain holiday crooner, but I’m dating myself…

    June 3rd, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Dennis Schaal

    Chris: I too wonder about the branding issue with Farecast and that fact that Bing Travel’s URL, http://www.bing.com/travel/, is kind of convoluted. I am very familiar with Farecast and now Bing Travel, but have trouble remembering the URL for Bing Travel.

    Incidentally, I was led to believe that the Farecast brand would still be used within Bing Travel when the fare or room rate predictions are displayed. But, I just conducted a few air and hotel searches on Bing Travel, but found (or didn’t find) that the Farecast brand had gone missing.

    June 3rd, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Rob Sequin

    It’s just another step in Microsoft’s “going out of business slowly” strategy.

    They executing well across many tech sectors.

    June 4th, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Rob Abdul

    Hi Chris,

    I don’t think that Bing will be successful until Microsoft sort out their indexing issues.

    For example, sites that have almost all their pages indexed in Google have barely 20% indexed in Bing.

    Therefore Bing is not seeing most of the web.

    I wish Microsoft would sort this out – they have millions at their disposal and the brightest people working for them.

    June 26th, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Ivy

    I agree. Farecast is a brand we all know well.

    July 30th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    johanna

    I just used Bing for the first time. When I input my request for flights, I checked “check nearby airports” for the return only, not for the departure city. However, the results included MANY flights from about 20 airports in the departure city area, making very difficult to sort out flights that were really suitable. Evidently, if one checks check nearby airports for either departure or return, the results include nearby airports for both. What’s the point of having two places to check if the site make no distinction between the two?

    For that reason alone, I will remain with the other travel sites that have the ability to follow simple, but important, requests.

    November 16th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

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