(NASDAQ:PCLN) shares have been taking a bit of a beating ever since the company reported its first-quarter earnings yesterday evening. Apparently, some of the realities of the online travel segment proved a little disappointing to investors today.

First-quarter results at Priceline flagged because of the costs of its Travelweb and Active Hotels acquisitions. Profit fell 5% to $4.1 million, or $0.10 per share. Excluding the costs related to the acquisitions, net income was $8.4 million, or $0.21 per share. Revenues increased 4.1% to $233.4 million.

Despite investors' sour response, Priceline has one of the best brands in the business. And never fear, William Shatner's still appearing in the company's offbeat ads.

However, it's admittedly a crowded space -- Priceline not only faces companies like Cendant's (NYSE:CD) Orbitz, InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI) Expedia, and SabreHoldings' (NYSE:TSG) Travelocity, but also search-related companies are getting into the fray. One recent news bit reported that Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) America Online will allow users to search for travel deals through its service.

Although earnings clearly shook up investors, it could very well be a blip on the radar screen, and making acquisitions to improve a competitive offering is by no means a surprising move. Meanwhile, it's no secret that this is a space ripe for consolidation. When David Gardner picked Priceline for Motley Fool Stock Advisor, he mentioned that it may one day be an attractive acquisition candidate itself.

We're on the cusp of summer, when vacationers turn to services like Priceline's, so maybe time will tell. Giving up on Priceline today seems premature, although there are a few elements that bear watching.

Time Warner and Priceline are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks, courtesy of David Gardner. To find out what other stocks David likes, try out the service for six months, risk-free.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.