ryanairplus
945 days ago
 

RyanairPlus – a cheeky attempt to get around the Captcha, but inevitably leading to brand issues

Many rejoice when low cost carrier Ryanair lands another bout of bad publicity or, more recently, others think of ways of getting around its refusal to work with third parties.

The ire was heightened in recent moves by the carrier the use a CAPTCHA tool on its website to prevent metasearch engines and other sites from scraping fares and availability.

It doesn’t like those pesky sites at all.

Step forward RyanairPlus, a quirky little site which has emerged in recent weeks with the promise of being able to search flights on the Ryanair website but avoiding the CAPTCHA.

It’s very simple and rather limited in functionality, but what it does do is return fares and timetables for the carrier in quite a neat format.

While it feels like the site is just having a bit of fun at the expense of Ryanair, there is the germ of an idea in here.

Getting hold of the people behind it (domain registered in Poland) is difficult, but Tnooz got hold of them after one of its representatives commented on the earlier Ryanair CAPTCHA story.

Anyone who knows anything about how Ryanair considers screen scrapers to be on the same low scale as politicians, journalists and estate agents, will chuckle at the apparent naivety of the site’s creators.

When asked what was the point of the site and where it will go next, “Kris” says via email:

“Currently we just display times and fares. Booking will be next step, if Ryanair let us do that (legal issues). Where’s the point? Nowhere :) We just don’t like Ryanair’s website – that’s all.”

Ryanair might have a problem with you incorporating a booking element?

“Well, we don’t see any technical problems to do that. Just don’t want to break the law.”

While the backers at RyanairPlus might be worried about getting on the wrong side of legal fence over somehow building a booking engine for the carrier’s flights, perhaps its bigger and immediate concern should be one of a conflict over brand association, despite the tiny “Ryanair Plus is not affiliated with Ryanair Ltd” at the foot of the site.

Ryanair, inevitably, has not responded to requests for comment.

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  3. Martino Matijevic

    Ryanair are really getting good at this: they are being talked about now (does anyone really care about RyanairPlus, considering they’ll get banned soon) and then they’ll get another round of PR with the story “Ryanair wins copyright and trademark court action against agent”.

     
  4. Mike

    Hi Kevin,

    You say that Ryanair “doesn’t like those pesky sites at all”. I tried a Manchester Dublin +/-10 days; after 1min 30sec I got an error telling me of issues connecting to the database and the second time I tried, simply gave up after 3 mins. Really, can you blame Ryanair for being less than enthusiastic about having their brand associated with this?

    As for the team behind the project, fair play to them for having a go to try to improve something they “just don’t like”. However, when the Ryanir legal machine comes calling, if I was them, I would have to be asking myslef “was it really worth it?”

    Mike

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @mike – not saying I agree with the premse RyanairPlus, just paraphrasing the consistent messaging out of Ryanair over many, many years.

       
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