July 01, 2007

Siteseeing - 8

Arzoo

After he and Jack Smith sold Hotmail to Microsoft for 400 mill, Sabeer Bhatia started a new company, Arzoo, which aimed to play matchmaker between tech experts and companies that wanted their services. Perhaps the plan wasn’t unique enough; certainly the timing was unfortunate. Arzoo dotbombed in 2001. Last year, Bhatia made it over into a travel portal but didn’t make too much of a noise about it. Recently, the site’s new avataar completed a year of operations, and badly written press releases flowered in journo inboxes, announcing a new and improved look. Not having seen the old design, one assumes, going by this underwhelming version, that it was horrible. (Get a decent designer, folks. And lose that awful logo!) Anyway, what’s on offer? There’s a bunch of decent holiday packages, national and international, service apartments, and an airline search-and-book section. A quick trial of this last service threw up a large array of options, each claiming an “Arzoo Rate.” But, I found, when I went directly to an airline’s site, I wound up with cheaper flights with the same parameters. So, nice to compare rates, but I’d have bought direct. Overall, not exactly one’s heart’s desire, but with some work on the details, it could be a useful site to bookmark.

Published in Outlook Traveller, July 2007.

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