Feeds

Priceline.com CFO quits and staff face axe

Auction site boldly goes where many dotcoms have gone before

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

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

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.