The Occasional Dorset Bus—from the Omnibuses Blog

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Damory & Dorset

Over 40 comments on the post about Damory down registrations on the 347/87 & associated services, plus a couple that have spilled over elsewhere. And, confirmation has now appeared on VOSA. Except Dorset & Damory have agreed to extend the 347/87 to Easter (at no charge to Dorset, to give more time). These changes have certainly exercised people’s minds. Here’s a selection of comments:

“It was mutually beneficial for Go South Coast to run [the 347/87] as commercial for a short while. It stopped Yellow Buses getting established with a base in Dorchester and enabled DCC to claim savings from its fiasco of a super-tender”

That, as they say, is commercial life. Over the past 25 years, many an operator has done exactly this as a defensive mechanism against incursion. It isn’t quite as common as it once was though an operator with the reputation of Yellow Buses would likely provoke such a response. Not that Yellow Buses was necessarily innocent—remember that it did hesitate.

It’s risky, though, as it bleeds resources and it threatens the wrath of the tendering authority—though there’s little a LTA can do about it. We understand that Dorset council is not actually best pleased (in spite of comments on Dorset Bus to the contrary) so I am not sure that the commercialisation could ever be remotely seen as a face-saver for them.

“By the way when are Damory going to get a working website with timetables on?”

This would seem to be a flaw. There were promises of such a site but they’ve never materialised, yet. It would be nice to see everything in a proper online home. I do, however, feel that the portion of the Wilts & Dorset website dedicated to Damory is acceptable. After all, on paper, Damory’s 347/87 has always been in the W&D Poole printed booklet. The Damory web pages have a different feel to those for W&D and it is the no. 1 and no. 2 Google search results for the term “Damory” (with Damory Vets being the third. I’m sure there is a joke there had I enough time to think of it).

“The deregistrations were agreed with DCC before they were submitted”

Let’s be straight about this. A local transport authority need not agree any registerable change unless it is (a) subsidised or (b) commercial but part of an agreement. Otherwise, a LTA holds no sway. It’s the operator who has the whip hand. What the commenter means is that Damory consulted with the council in advance, giving them more notice than the statutory 56 days. This is good practice, particularly in circumstances as this, where there might be future detriment. And, remember, this is a partnership (though in this particular circumstance, possibly an unequal one).

“The best place for the timetables is actually on a single Dorset Bus site”

Absolutely. This would be a useful addition and it would help build revenue for the council. Remember that Damory does not keep the revenue. It passes to Dorset. Revenue maximisation and publicity is Dorset’s responsibility. There is a link from the front page of Dorsetforyou (the Dorset councils’ website) to a timetable page where visitors can download the Dorset timetable booklets. I like the idea of complete books being available but individual timetables would be a good option, too. It also would’ve helped the traveller who commented that they tried to get information ahead of a visit but “In the end I gave up and used my car to travel the delightful back lanes of Shaftesbury”. (And I have to say, whether by bus or by car, this is England at its best).

“As a user, more importantly, are the tickets inter-changeable? There is no information as far as I am aware on the W&D website”

This is unfortunate but then again, Damory is at the behest of the LTA. It’s also difficult to get this information and drivers don’t always know the full facts. Remember, though, that the Damory service is somewhat geographically disparate and doesn’t function as a unified network in quite the way that W&D’s two halves do. And, from Easter, unless Damory wins stuff back, it will be even more fragmented.

“The Dorset book gives www.damorycoaches.co.uk, which has since disappeared”

This is also unfortunate. At the least, it should be possible for the damorycoaches.co.uk domain to point to the Damory part of the W&D website. The domain name registration runs out in February 2013. Wouldn’t that solve any problems? The trouble is that damorycoaches is something of a misnomer these days. Damory is far less a coach proprietor than an operator of local bus services and schools.

It’s interesting that the domain damory.com is actually registered through a registrant with the name Go Daddy (presumably *not* part of the Go Ahead Group, though you never know).

“Perhaps Poole-Dorchester is going to be a bit like Southampton-Ringwood”

We’ll have to see but it certainly has the potential to be. It’s also possible that Dorset will tender it (almost) as is… and that Damory might win it back. Stranger things have happened. In reality, though, my guess is that Dorset will necessarily have to chop the service a bit to fit it within the boundaries of its budget. Let’s see if I’m right.

“The company running the service doesn’t give two hoots about any new passengers because they don't retain the revenue (it returns to DCC) so if they carry one person a month or fifty a day it’s no skin off their nose. Hence the lack of service info both on the web and on the roadside”

And

“All Damory has to do is run the bus; the fewer passengers it stops to pick up, the less fuel it uses, and the more profit Damory makes”

I’ve previously tackled this type of situation. A number of urban LTAs already tender on the basis that revenue accrues to them and not the operator. There is no problem with this but an LTA will need to maximise its publicity to make the best of revenue. With Damory, it’s the council taking the risk. And they will have to make sure the operator declares the total revenue correctly—and runs all its journeys.

I personally don’t subscribe to the view that an operator who passes revenue to a LTA couldn’t care less about a service. If, through poor performance, passenger numbers decline, then it isn’t the operator’s *immediate* problem… till retender, when the LTA may be forced to cut the service and therefore cut the operator’s resources required. Or, remove the operator from the tender list altogether. It therefore isn’t in anyone’s long-term interest to adopt a careless attitude and, personally speaking, I see no evidence of Damory doing this.

38 comments:

Countrybus said...

It’s also possible that Dorset will tender it (almost) as is… and that Damory might win it back.

Well it wouldn't be the first time that a deregistration has been rewarded with the grant of a tender (and probably won't be the last either)!

RC169 said...

'“By the way when are Damory going to get a working website with timetables on?”

This would seem to be a flaw.'

If the timetables appear on a website with 'Damory' at the top, and show up at the top of the relevant search results pages, I cannot really see that this is a 'flaw'. You go on to say that the current setup, as part of the W&D site, is 'acceptable' - and I would agree with that. Whether the website is part of a larger site or freestanding is not really relevant - the important thing is that the information is available and accessible, which it is - now!

Mel Durrant said...

'Whether the website is part of a larger site or freestanding is not really relevant - the important thing is that the information is available and accessible, which it is - now!"

Available, accessible but inaccurate; a cursory glance reveals the 14, 316, 317, 320, 688 timetables, which are no longer operated by Damory, still on the website (the 316 at least has timetable and route changes), and the 101 apparently still has a Sunday service operated by Damory. There's probably other inaccuracies; most links bring up pages from the July DCC timetable rather than the updated October one. So best to ignore this and go to DCC or Traveline. But will travellers realise this?

I'm sure that the firm is not acting illegally or immorally in operating its business and in the way it has gone about procuring all the extra work. But the saga leaves a slightly unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Anonymous said...

Hi RC169. I posted on the other post about this, but didn't bother to reply to your reply. You'd got several people all mixed up and were accusing me of saying something that actually wasn't me, so I couldn't be bothered.

Anyway - with the hugest amount of respect ever:
The bus comes, in Damory livery. With Damory fleet names. And with a Damory driver. It's seperate to W&D.

Why is OK to have Damory timetables on the Wilts & Dorset site, as a long term measure?

It's not. There should be a separate Damory url that is publicised and passengers should go to.

When the actual operation is all Damory and no Wilts, then website should be too. The online presence should match the reality on the ground.

I don't have to search "Wardle Transport" on Google and then click through to the Arriva website. I can go straight to www.wardletransport.co.uk/

Damory should be the same.

RC169 said...

Anonymous said...

"Hi RC169. I posted on the other post about this, but didn't bother to reply to your reply. You'd got several people all mixed up and were accusing me of saying something that actually wasn't me, so I couldn't be bothered."

'Anonymous' is the same as 'Anonymous' - no confusion at all!

"There should be a separate Damory url .."

Why?

Anonymous said...

""There should be a separate Damory url .."

Why?"

I already said why...

"The bus comes, in Damory livery. With Damory fleet names. And with a Damory driver. It's seperate to W&D. When the actual operation is all Damory and no Wilts, then website should be too. The online presence should match the reality on the ground."

Anonymous said...

"I don't have to search "Wardle Transport" on Google and then click through to the Arriva website. I can go straight to www.wardletransport.co.uk/"

But how do you know to go to wardletransport.co.uk if you haven't made a search? Guesswork?

On that basis, you should guess at wiltsanddorset.co.uk. See where that takes you.

Anonymous said...

"The bus comes, in Damory livery. With Damory fleet names. And with a Damory driver. It's seperate to W&D. When the actual operation is all Damory and no Wilts, then website should be too. The online presence should match the reality on the ground."

I completely agree. Except that often the bus has been in W&D or some other livery (often unconnected with Go South Coast!). Many of Damory's fleet seem to still be carrying Solent Blue Line legals.

I'm really surprised Go Ahead senior management haven't done more to sort out an operation that is causing the Group reputational damage in many people's eyes. If Stagecoach or First had behaved like this, the internet would be red hot with folk complaining. Why are Go Ahead treated any different?

RC169 said...

Anonymous said...

'""There should be a separate Damory url .."

Why?"

I already said why...'

Well, none of those factors are reasons why the website should have a particular URL; and as Anon at 19:53 says, you could try a URL that you might think should be correct, and find that it doesn't take you to the site you expected - or perhaps doesn't take you anywhere.

Should Damory have its own URL because the operator has no connection with W&D? But in reality it does have a connection to W&D!

Somehow, I don't think you understand the concept, but you might wish to consider how Google became a multi-million dollar business - it was because large numbers of people use search engines to browse the internet. If you don't use them, you are probably missing out on a lot of information that is available on the internet!

Anonymous said...

Just about every bus operator now has a web presence and promote their url in literature, some even include the url in their fleet livery - so many are ignoring RC169 logic of why bother when we have google.

Damory score a 1/10 for marketing, a web presence consisting of one page linking to their (out of date) timetables hosted on a sister company website, no maps, no fares info, no contact info... no phone lines if you believe the press!

And before people bleat about tendered services why bother, a sizeable chunk of Damorys Dorchester network (and it IS a network for Dorchester locals) was declared commercial so in the operators interest to promote with good quality publicity. Many small operators rely on LA bus contracts but still manage a good quality web presence combined with their own printed publicity.

Anonymous said...

"But how do you know to go to wardletransport.co.uk if you haven't made a search? Guesswork?

On that basis, you should guess at wiltsanddorset.co.uk. See where that takes you."

"Well, none of those factors are reasons why the website should have a particular URL; and as Anon at 19:53 says, you could try a URL that you might think should be correct, and find that it doesn't take you to the site you expected - or perhaps doesn't take you anywhere"

So, do operators up and down the land not publicise their URLs then? Do all the best operators just leave it down to the passengers to use Google to find their timetables?

Do bus operators all over the country not have their website address printed on their tickets? Countryliner and Arriva certainly do where I live, on every single ticket. Do bus interiors not have notices with contact details, showing the company's URL? Can't say I've ever seen a bus ticket with "use Google to find our timetables" on it before.

Do Arriva not have a special graphic they apply to the rear of their buses across the country, to show people their URL? Or do they? http://www.flickr.com/photos/27204054@N07/6126587949/

Do First not have First URLs on their buses? http://www.flickr.com/photos/57422671@N06/5964358311/

What about Stagecoach? Oh no, they do as well: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wakefieldpinball/4626553594/

And Go-Ahead? Brighton & Hove? http://www.flickr.com/photos/markh737/6407317445/ Konectbus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ipswichbuspage/5998413241/
Bluestar even have their URL on the scrolling LEDs sometimes.

Don't forget Lotian Buses.

Even if we look at small operator, they don't hinder contact information. Western Greyhound: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benbeaver95/6353781603/

Countryliner: http://www.flickr.com/photos/barberbus/5554020525/

It's all very well accusing me of not understanding the concept of search engines. Of course I do, I use Google several times a day.

However, I want to know why you think if a bus turns up like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk70088/6211567819/ , with zero reference to W&D anywhere, why a passenger should expect to have to go to Google and find timetables on the W&D site?

Yes, we know Damory and W&D are linked, and unfortunately buses in the wrong livery are used, but does the average, new, bewildered passenger who only just started using buses again recently know...?


It's all very well saying that Google will suffice. Yes, it's fine. But it's not the customer's job to do it.

Bus companies should be striving to help their, and any potential new, customers. In this modern day in age, having a proper URL and publicising it does not seem like too big an ask to me.

Why make it more difficult for the passenger? - for no reason at all.

RC169 said...

Anonymous said...

"So, do operators up and down the land not publicise their URLs then?"

You're twisting the argument now - of course bus operators publicise their URLs, and it's perfectly reasonable and sensible to do so. Of course, if it is long or complicated, I wonder how many people will remember what they have seen on the back of a bus when they get home and switch their computer on - or will they have to resort to a search engine?

However, your earlier criticism was that Damory does not have a specific URL, and that is not reasonable. They could have www.xyzpqr.com if they wanted, and publicise it - that might be easier to remember than some combination of 'Damory', 'Buses' or 'coaches', with or without hyphens - take your pick. The actual text of the URL doesn't matter - and it's not exactly irrelevant if it refers to a parent or associated company. The simple fact is that a significant proportion of new visitors to a website arrive from a search engine.

Incidentally, the Western Greyhound vehicle appears to show a space between 'Western' and 'Greyhound.com'. Try puting that in the URL bar and see what happens!!! Ooops! It takes you straight to Google!!!

Anonymous said...

"You're twisting the argument now - of course bus operators publicise their URLs, and it's perfectly reasonable and sensible to do so."

But the magical mystery Damory shouldn't bother with this reasonable and sensible thing to do then, in your mind?

You still haven't answered my question, anyway.

Stephen said...

In response to the post at 2043 there is a very good chance that the new user will know the connection between Wilts and Damory . There is a good chance that the ticket will be printed on Wilts ticket paper and possibly confuse you even more by mentioning Bluestar.
It does depend a bit on which bus you get. Today and last Saturday it was blank paper in the morning and Wilts paper on Sat afternoon.
I think it will be Wilts paper on Friday morning when I catch it

Anonymous said...

Anon 2237 - my personal favourite was being issued a Southern Vectis ticket on Oxford Bus Company roll!

However, just because GSC are being confusing in other areas doesn't make it OK to have a confusing online presence, too.

Anonymous said...

...and would they actually know about the full connection, or just be totally baffled by the whole thing?!!

Countrybus said...

It’s interesting that the domain damory.com is actually registered through a registrant with the name Go Daddy (presumably *not* part of the Go Ahead Group, though you never know).

Go Daddy part of Go Ahead - that might be fun? Alas no, Go Daddy is a web hosting company used by many businesses and organisations.

Anonymous said...

"Try puting that in the URL bar and see what happens!!! Ooops! It takes you straight to Google!!! "

Actually that depends on how your web browser is configured, mine defaults to bing but that is another story...

Having defaulted to bing I've just searched "Damory" in bing, the results are:
1st place - Damory Coaches on Wikipedia (that great source of truth and accuracy, not...)
2nd place - Damory Vets
3rd place - show bus operator details for Damory coaches on carlberry.co.uk (don't know how accurate that is as it appears unofficial)
4th place - Damory timetables on the W+D website

So not only is it in lowly fourth place and almost at the bottom of my screen on my laptop it somewhat destroys the idea that all one has to do is search for the operator in a search engine and its 1st place (on google maybe but not on bing).

On Yahoo the official Damory page is in even worse 5th place position!

RC169 said...

The variations in the results from the different search engines probably go some way to explain why Google is the most widely used.

Our friend who is so concerned about the URL (anon @ 20:43) cites an example from Brighton & Hove as good practice, insofar as the URL is displayed on the bus. However, in that case the URL is www.buses.co.uk. No mention of the operator name, the parent group, or the locality! If I recall correctly, B&H was fairly quick to develop its own website, hence the rather generalised URL. The fact that B&H has retained this URL, and has not seen the need to change it to a more specific one, suggests that the actual content of the URL is not a barrier to people finding the website.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that B&H has retained this URL, and has not seen the need to change it to a more specific one, suggests that the actual content of the URL is not a barrier to people finding the website."

Yes... but... they do actually have a URL. What letters it is made up of was not the point at all.

Whereas Damory do not even have a URL at all - rather a different story then really, so your point, well, isn't one.


Please, please, please, explain to us all why you don't think that Damory should have its own URL and site to give valuable information to passengers?? As I keep saying, why is it OK for them to make things more difficult for the passenger?

Are there any good reasons for not having a website, or at least a URL linking to their pages that can at least be promoted? No. So why don't they?

It would be appreciated if you actually explained why you think Damory not bothering with a basic online functions is OK, rather than continually avoiding the question. This is the third time of asking, I hope it'll be third time lucky.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"If I recall correctly, B&H was fairly quick to develop its own website, hence the rather generalised URL"

Well - that says it all really. B&H are recognised as being a very good bus company and the fact that they were very quick to realise the importance of a decent website for the benefit of customers speaks volumes about Damory's lack of anything.

Anonymous said...

Sorry RC169 I normally respect what you post but this is just plain daft:

"The variations in the results from the different search engines probably go some way to explain why Google is the most widely used."

It probably means W+D have paid Google to have their site at the top when a user searches certain words rather than the random luck of where the site may appear on another search engine. After all why should the Damory coaches come higher in a search engine ranking than Damory Vets and as the url isn't specific for Damory makes it hard for the search engines to determine why it should rank a www.wdbus.co.uk address any higher than a www.wikipedia.org or www.carlberry.co.uk address.

James C said...

I think we have missed the point here. Why should Damory develop their own website or have a huge online presence? It would cost them to develop and run, yet not generate extra revenue in increased passengers as revenue is passed to DCC. All the examples quoted as promoting their website are the big operators who are running large commercial networks, where an increase in customer numbers leads to increased revenue, thus justifying the cost of the website.

I appreciate we want to see Damory, and all operators, providing good quality information but if DCC have decided to take the revenue risk I don't see why Damory should spend loads in marketing.

Anonymous said...

RC169 - But regardless of what it is, B&H do have a URL. Damory, on the other hand, do not have one at all, so it's different.

James C -

As much as it would be good if the passengers had an understanding of all this, the passengers that are looking for information don't know that Damory aren't taking the revenue risk.

They don't think "oh I know that this bus service is on a tender where Dorset County Council are taking the revenue risk, therefore I know that Damory can't be bothered with a website, so I best check on the Dorset CC website".

They'll look for information from the company that runs the bus.

Don't forget also that - of course!!! - some of the routes Damory were actually operating commercially...

It's not all big operators either. Look at Velvet - they're perfect and they're only small.


At the end of the day, what I can't get my head around is:
1) Why a million pound company does not want to have a decent online presence (even if it's just a URL - that can be reflected on bus tickets, on buses, in printed bus publicity, in contact details etc - that redirects to a sub section of the W&D site).

It's not as though it would be difficult or even that expensive.

and 2) why people think that resting on their laurels and relying on Google is OK. Damory must be the only operator in the country that have a site (or section of a site) but don't actually tell their passengers how to get to it!

It's just baffling that they don't seem to want to do something so simple, that all but the smallest of independents do. i.e. have a decent web presence in this modern day in age.

James C said...

Anon 00:04 - like you, I would like to see Damory have a web presence, all I am saying is that from Damory's point of view there appears to be no financial incentive to do so. It is a cost they will incur which will not generate revenue for them. I do accept your point that amongst all this, in theory they are running some of it commercially, in which case there is an incentive to market and they should be doing so!

Ultimately I think the answer comes back to Dorset CC wanting to save money. If Damory had to promote services more, they would have put in higher bids to cover marketing costs and risk, meaning Dorset CC would not have saved so much money. As they say, you get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

James there is no theory about it, Damory are running commercial routes and doing nothing to promote them. The fact that Damory are now deregistering most of those commercial routes leaves an even more bitter taste in the mouth.

Damory are deregistering much of their commercial routes just six months after declaring some of them commercial having made no attempt to actively promote them and no doubt leaving the tax payer with a bill to fund replacement routes.

You say a web presence costs money, yes it does but the cost of registering a domain and hosting a simple site costs a lot less than registering the bus service in the first place. If Damory are going to run buses then do it properly including telling people what your doing!

RC169 said...

Anonymous said...

"RC169 - But regardless of what it is, B&H do have a URL. Damory, on the other hand, do not have one at all.."

Damory does have one - it's:-

http://www.wdbus.co.uk/bus-times/damory/

Even includes the word 'damory'!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"It probably means W+D have paid Google to have their site at the top..."

The paid for advertisements in Google are marked as such - slightly different colour background, and the word 'Ad' in the top right corner. It's not particularly prominent, but it would appear if that were the situation - and in the case of the Damory timetable page, there is no such marking. We have to take Google's word that this marking always appears when it should - failure to disclose which results were the result of paid-for advertising would be very damaging to any search engine's reputation.

The algorithms (programming logic) that the various search engines use differ, and they are changed regularly. I read recently that Google made 400 changes to their algorithm in the space of one year. These algorithms are closely guarded secrets, due (in part) to the sensitivity of the ordering of the results, as this discussion highlights.

The search engines have developed their systems to read the text content of the websites, so that they can be sure that they are delivering relevant results to their users. They do not simply rely on the URL, or on any summary information provided by the website owner themselves (the meta information). This may have been the case 10 years ago, but the search engines are much more sophisticated today.

It is therefore not surprising that different search engines generate differing results; and that users will make a choice about which search engine they use, based on their satisfaction with the relevance of the results. 'Relevance' is of course a difficult concept to analyse and measure - and the same set of results may well be more relevant to one user than to another. This perhaps helps to explain the complexity and variety of the algorithms and the associated results.

It is reasonable to assume that there are more people searching for 'Damory' who are looking for the bus operator than the vets (unless the vet has a very large clientele and catchment area!); and I think it is also reasonable to assume more people want the Damory bus timetable page than want the Wikipedia page, which is presumably principally of interest to enthusiasts. Hence my comment about Google - its results almost certainly more closely reflect the requirements of the majority of users than the other search engines' results that have been mentioned.

RC169 - Blogger is behaving strangely today!

RC169 said...

Anonymous said...

"After all why should the Damory coaches come higher in a search engine ranking..."

The workings of the search engine algorithms, in particular with regard to the ordering of the results, are closely guarded secrets; they are also changed regularly. This is done to ensure that the results delivered are relevant, and reflect the actual content of the websites - not the URL or summary information provided by the website owner (the meta information). This should explain the variety of results, and hopefully why I suggest that one search engine is providing results which are more relevant to the majority of users - and is therefore more widely used.

Unfortunately, my attempts to provide a more exhaustive explanation are deleted as soon as I post them - perhaps that indicates the sensitivity of the information, although I am not disclosing any secrets because I don't know any (in respect of this issue!)

Busing said...

RC169 was trying to post the following and has asked via email that I try on his behalf. Busing

FROM RC169

Anonymous said...

"It probably means W+D have paid Google to have their site at the top..."

The paid for advertisements in Google are marked as such - slightly different colour background, and the word 'Ad' in the top right corner. It's not particularly prominent, but it would appear if that were the situation - and in the case of the Damory timetable page, there is no such marking. We have to take Google's word that this marking always appears when it should - failure to disclose which results were the result of paid-for advertising would be very damaging to any search engine's reputation.

The algorithms (programming logic) that the various search engines use differ, and they are changed regularly. I read recently that Google made 400 changes to their algorithm in the space of one year. These algorithms are closely guarded secrets, due (in part) to the sensitivity of the ordering of the results, as this discussion highlights.

The search engines have developed their systems to read the text content of the websites, so that they can be sure that they are delivering relevant results to their users. They do not simply rely on the URL, or on any summary information provided by the website owner themselves (the meta information). This may have been the case 10 years ago, but the search engines are much more sophisticated today.

It is therefore not surprising that different search engines generate differing results; and that users will make a choice about which search engine they use, based on their satisfaction with the relevance of the results. 'Relevance' is of course a difficult concept to analyse and measure - and the same set of results may well be more relevant to one user than to another. This perhaps helps to explain the complexity and variety of the algorithms and the associated results.

It is reasonable to assume that there are more people searching for 'Damory' who are looking for the bus operator than the vets (unless the vet has a very large clientele and catchment area!); and I think it is also reasonable to assume more people want the Damory bus timetable page than want the Wikipedia page, which is presumably principally of interest to enthusiasts. Hence my comment about Google - its results almost certainly more closely reflect the requirements of the majority of users than the other search engines' results that have been mentioned.

RC169 said...

Anonymous said...
"It probably means W+D have paid G.... to have their site at the top when a user searches certain words..."


We can reasonably confidently eliminate this possibility for three reasons:-

1. Paid-for advertising in search engine results pages certainly does exist, but it is annotated in some way, such that the user can identify advertising. The annotation is not always particularly prominent; but if a search engine 'hid' paid for adverts as normal results, their reputation would soon suffer if that happened often. The Damory entry at the top of the first page for certain search engines shows no evidence of being an advertisement.

2. Paid-for search engine advertising can be expensive and is generally only worthwhile when an advertiser can gain an advantage over competing suppliers. In the case of Damory, there are hardly any comparable competitors insofar as bus services in Dorset are concerned, so there would be little benefit from such advertising. Wikipedia, Carlberry, and Damory Vets are not competing with Damory the bus operator!

3. Paid-for advertising is used to make people (potential customers) aware that the company supplies the product they are looking for. Thus Marks and Spencer might pay to advertise when somebody searches for 'ladies knitwear', in case that person does not know that M&S sell ladies knitwear. However, there is absolutely no point in M&S paying to advertise when somebody searches for 'Marks & Spencer' - that person obviously already knows that M&S exists, and (presumably) believes that it has the product he or she is looking for. Likewise there would be no sense or logic in Damory (buses) paying for a search engine advert when somebody searches for 'Damory'. It might make sense for a search for 'dorset bus services' (but there are so few competitors that is probably not worthwhile), or perhaps for 'coach hire blandford' - but clearly not for searches for the business's own name!

Anonymous said...

Not withstanding whether the Damory url comes 1st or 5th in search engine rankings the Damory attempts to promote itself and its services, whether commercial or tendered, is appallingly bad considering it is a subsidiary of a major plc.

Yes a few people have said why bother if the operator doesn't keep the revenue but as others have said some services were declared commercial but now are being deregistered, presumably on the basis that they don't pay their way, after Damory have made no attempt whatsoever to promote the bus routes to attract users to cover the costs and avoid deregistration.

I am told Dorset CC issued a pre-qualification questionnaire on retendering, including a section on how operators would market the bus services they were bidding for, clearly Damory either scored badly on this section when they replied with the bare minimum or have failed to keep to their promises.

Anonymous said...

Having looked at other Dorset (and adjacent area) based operators - First, South West Coaches websites - W&D cover the largest area - certainly the Damory list is a bit awry - The 88 (Wimborne Town service, Monday to Saturday) is only listed under the Saturday extension to Bournemouth's Castlepoint! The Dorchester Town services have never been listed. As has been said earlier in an earlier post the services that are now with DCT/ECT are still shown as Damory. What else?

Although it is difficult to compare them one to another - the recent Damory developments have given me cause for concern. DCC should be more open, with what is happening on their website.

I have also looked at the bus companies facebook pages via their websites - that is interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

This sort of mess is all to typical of the bus industry with constant changes and almost zero information about the changes and as for fares thats just a black art and the customers are left in the dark

Unfortunatly bus companies have no concept at all of customer service.

Anonymous said...

"This sort of mess is all to typical of the bus industry with constant changes and almost zero information about the changes and as for fares thats just a black art and the customers are left in the dark

Unfortunatly bus companies have no concept at all of customer service."

Bit of an unfair generalisation isn't it? Some companies are very good at it, some are terrible. But to say they're ALL bad at it is just plain insulting.

Anonymous said...

I used to visit this site regularly and enjoy the generally sensible (if sometimes heated) debates.

Unfortunately this totally meaningless squabble about domain names demonstrates why I hardly ever bother nowadays.

Sorry...

RC169 said...

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately this totally meaningless squabble about domain names demonstrates why I hardly ever bother nowadays."

Any debate can go off at a tangent, but with comments on an internet blog it's not so easy for a 'chairman' to redirect the debate back 'on track'! It's a characteristic of the particular type of debating forum, I'm afraid!

Anonymous said...

I think its best said why Damory haven't got there own website, To W&D Damory is nothing more then a name, the tickets issused say W&D Bluestar, they dont bother putting flags or timetables up at stops and the drivers have only just been issued with uniforms (it was drivers own clothes before) but apart from the ties no part of the uniform say Damory. the pay is different with Damory drivers on a lot less then there W&D collegues You ask any driver from W&D/ BLUESTAR ETC and to them they hate Damory, which is strange as they are all under the same umberella. The white buses where brought in as a quick fix to the fact they won the DCC contracts otherwise they would have been W&D castoffs as always. To higher manament Damory is nothing more then a 2nd rate bus company and why should they spend money on it.

Anonymous said...

I am very unhappy with the damory service, the 368 to yeovil and 368 to blandford, i look my foster sister (age 13)and my baby (age 8weeks) to yeovil, my foster sister was rudly talked to by the bus driver because she was not sure what to ask for, then and the way back from yeovil i had placed by pushchair folded up into the disabled part, due to there being NO PLACE FOR PUSHCHAIRS. the puschair became loose and rolled back and forth up he bus, i could not do anything due to having my baby in my arms and my foster sister keeping control of the shopping from fling every where, i was give abuse from the public on bored and the pushchair was also kicked by an elderly lady. I think that all buses should have a place for pushchairs, i was very upset by this as i could not do anything, Also the man driving was reckless after trying to over take a tractor on a corner.