Mauricio posted here, pretty much stating his disappointment at the current level of functionality of TradeMe’s travel offering, TravelBug.

His comment got me thinking about the whole Web 2.0 beta fixation. It has been discussed before that pretty much every Web 2.0 service seems to be in a semi-permanent state of beta release, as new features are rolled out, tested and refined.

The way I see it there are two ways you can go down the beta route;

  1. Release some cool functionality, not quite tested sufficiently and hope your users will understand
  2. Release limited functionality, but with good testing and hope your users will understand

One is high risk, high return. The other is the opposite.

TradeMe’s decision to take the cautious route – to release a pretty well tested but somewhat bland offering does smell a little of corporate hyper-caution. Would TradeMe in the pre Fairfax days have damned the torpedos and released a kick arse product and sort the bugs out while it was live?

TradeMe is in an enviable position, they own NZ’s internet traffic so can do pretty much as they please. However if it was anyone else releasing a travel site in beta form, TravelBug would not have gained any sort of momentum.

Incumbency is such a nice thing to have….

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Hello there… I agree with almost everything you wrote – and something you didn’t… You didn’t expliclty say Travelbug is a web 2.0 service, but I certainly don’t see it as one. It does not use any new technology, there’s no social interaction (hey at least they could bring the best voted results up to the top) or sharing capabilities…

    What about a RSS feed with new accomodations per area, or specials?

  • TravelBug is a disaster. There’s no web 2.0 involved in the site. Like you say, it’s bland, there’s no deals, and if you have a question there’s no way other then e-mail (which takes forever for someone to come back to you) to get an answer.

    I’ll keep using oz site wotif .com and nz site to book accommodation. They have exceptional customer service and cover the country. Customers want customer service, and if need be, someone to talk to. Trademe should stick to auctions.

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