FareChase fans, your travel site is leaving without you.

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) is closing down the comparison travel-shopping website it acquired five years ago. Visitors this morning were greeted with a "last call" of sorts:

"NOTICE: FareChase will no longer be available after March 25th. You can continue to find great deals on flights, hotels, and cars on Yahoo! Travel."

Yahoo! and search-engine superstar Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have both been axing niche sites lately. Google is doing it to gain focus. Yahoo! is doing it, most likely, to gain courage. If a site doesn't mesh with a dot-com giant's long-term goals or near-term demands for profitability, an exec somewhere is rising up to put it out of its misery.

The rub is that FareChase could've been a contender. Who doesn't love to find great travel deals? The best-performing travel-related site is "Name Your Own Price" specialist priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN). Deals publisher Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO) is struggling on the bottom line lately, but its weekly Top 20 list of vacation bargains seems more relevant now than ever before.

Besides, wasn't the big rumor last week that Google was going to gobble up Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE)? But that was a stupid rumor: Why would Google buy one portal when it stands to benefit as an unbiased gateway for all travel advertisers?

Maybe Yahoo! is looking at things the same way. Instead of trying to drop potential travelers on a specific provider's doorstep, maybe Yahoo! finds it more lucrative to be a free agent. And even if FareChase has promise as a potential lead generator, there has to be more to life than being a poor man's Kayak.com.

Yes, the travel industry is in a funk right now, but one shouldn't understate the power of a big-ticket sector like this. Analysts may be weary of profitless players such as Travelzoo and Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) that are are struggling to find a foothold during the downturn, but Expedia -- and especially Priceline -- are holding up well in this turbulent market.

Portals that are scaling back will only surrender more market share to the travel-industry leaders. So have a nice trip, Yahoo!. Send me a postcard when you find the courage to stand still and be counted.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been booking travel online since the 1990s, but he owns no shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.