Last Fandango for Mambo.com
Mambo's flop follows the recent 60 percent staff cuts at clone site Evite.com and the failure this past summer of invitation service TimeDance.com.
A message to users on its home page was abrupt: "Important Announcement: Mambo.com is discontinuing its service on November 20th."
The red-lettered message also warned users that they must notify their friends and family of event venue or travel changes and record any information stored within the site because it will no longer be available.
According to Rick Rogers, vice president of syndicated member services at competitor Event411.com, Mambo simply spent too much money to acquire each member.
"Mambo is very aggressive in the marketplace with advertising [and striking affiliate deals] with the larger portal sites like About.com," Rogers said. "That concept is very expensive."
Mambo, Menlo Park, CA, provided its planning and invitation services to users for free. The company paid affiliate partners $3 for referrals during a promotional period and $2 per referral thereafter. The only revenue stream Mambo had to balance acquisition costs came from a percentage users paid when using Mambo's payment services to settle costs on arrangements they made through the planning services.
"It was not a strong revenue model at all with Mambo," said Karin Hesselvik, spokeswoman for Dynamic Transactions Inc., Mambo.com's parent company.
Now Dynamic Transaction Inc. is looking to break into the business-to-business sector with the technology that fueled Mambo's only revenue stream.
Since April, the company has concentrated its efforts on PayPlace.com, a Web site created to showcase technology that enables users to e-mail money to friends, family or business associates.
"The goal is to provide this service to online portals as part of a suite of their tools. The main strategy is to show the technology off to potential partners," Hesselvik said.
Rogers claims this is what Event411.com has been doing all along.
"We're like Mambo's concept turned inside out," he said. Event411 does not allow consumers to book arrangements through its site. The company licenses its software to e-tailers and portal sites. "Instead of paying for referrals, we get paid for them," Rogers said.