Feeds

Priceline.com CFO quits and staff face axe

Auction site boldly goes where many dotcoms have gone before

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Flawed and loss-making auction site Priceline.com is looking even more precarious with the announcement that its chief finance officer Heidi Miller has packed her bags and 16 per cent of the staff are to be fired. The news came complete with some poor Q3 results.

Miller had been in the job less than a year and had come from Citigroup where she was one of the top female execs. Her move to Priceline was sold as the Internet revolution taking shape. Another high-profile figure for the company, William Shatner - who did the site's ads - was also exposed as having never used Priceline.

Sales of airline tickets through Priceline have been far lower than expected. At least that's what it blamed a $2 million loss on (from a $341 million revenue). This is an improvement from the $12 million it lost in the same quarter last year, but even so, the company's continued loss has led to cost-cutting. That means a P45 for 87 of its employees. Other bad news? A TV show based an entire programme on Priceline's high incidence of customer complaints. One of its affiliates went under last month, raising large questions about the business model used.

There's more. Lawsuits have been filed against three Priceline directors, accusing them of profiting by selling company shares before its dreadful results were announced last quarter. We're talking $247 million apparently. What else? Share price peaked at $104.25 in March. It's now at $6.85. Oh dear, oh dear.

However while we were checking out this story news ed supremo Rob Blink Blincoe remembered that Priceline was supposed to be launching in Europe very soon. We hadn't heard anything about it. No wonder. We called up the company and were informed that it was launched this Monday but very very quietly. "Discreet" was the word used.

Now, we could be nasty and say this is a reflection of the company's terrible state, but then Priceline's spokesman presented a good case: "It's a discreet launch and only has the airline product to start with. The reason why we did it was because of the high-profile failures of for example online banks like Egg. There'll be a gentle ramp-up of products and then a big £10 million marketing campaign in January for when everyone is so depressed after Christmas that we want to get on a plane and have a holiday."

The european site can be found at www.priceline.co.uk. ®

Related Stories

Priceline buries two cash cows
Wall Street savages Priceline.com

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.