I have a connection to the Bezurk deal through some consulting work that I did for them in early 2007. So it would not be fair to give my thoughts and any commentary around the deal. However I did have a chance to chat with Bezurk CEO
Bezurk will maintain its independent operations from other News online assets. This is important (says Symes) to ensure that Bezurk can continue to work with other media partners and reflects that New has taken a minority stake. Symes and team will work hard to integrate activities with other News online assets (mainly in
The other important factor for continued independence says Symes was that Bezurk needs to continue to think and operate like a start-up. This is both in the sense of cost control and lean operations as well as the need to have the flexibility to innovate.
New Plans - Some more people, some more product and some more markets
The deal has brought some much needed money into Bezurk that Symes intends to use for the following:
- New Markets – about to launch in
off the back of a “portal deal”. Will open a small India office in the next few months; Sydney
- New people – will be announcing soon a new SEM manager and senior marketing appointment; and
- New products – cars and packaging to come very soon. Will also allow them to uncut some of the corners around QA and testing that were required given their pre-deal budget restrictions.
So what does the Kayak/Sidestep deal mean for the meta-search market and for you
Symes (not surprisingly) sees the Kayak buyout of Sidestep and Yahoo! upgrade of Yahoo! Travel through the relaunch of Farechasee as a “fantastic validation of the model as people are prepared to put a lot of money into the sector.” He is sceptical that Kayak can deliver on the integration plans they have as quickly as they want (see my Interview with Kayak’s Kellie Pelletier for more on the integration plan).
Does meta-search need to be local market focused? Why should a consumer care that Bezurk is an “
The last area of questions for Symes was around why he thought customers needed a local meta-search provider and what he thought Bezurk offers that is better than Kayak.
Symes says “Great question. We are still developing exactly what it is that each market needs by figuring out the local practices and booking patterns. I argued during my time at Zuji that you have to be as nimble as possible locally to access local content. Same is true in meta-search. You can get 80% of the way to meeting your customer’s needs by being a generalist but if want to be the player in a market, the authority then you need to do the last 20%. Need to be local.”
Congrats again to Martin, Craig and Ross on this deal.