It looks like we may have a little logical conundrum with potential listing (or not) of this sort of accommodation. The problem is that most of the ways which people find out about the availability of such short-term apartment rentals is through various websites which collect listings from individual owners and from each other. The websites usually charge a fee either to the owner or to the renter, and it's usually pretty steep.
Another fact to note about these sites is that they are fiercely competative with one another, and engage in some questionable business practices, like copying the apt. listings from one another. If we were to accept listings of these services we would likely wind up being turned into a constant battle ground in their competition for google rankings. We have enough server load and bandwidth problems already without letting that happen.
Generally we wouldn't want to link to such sites anyhow, because of the "other guides" rule. However it does seem to be OK with everybody to list pre-web brick-and-mortar operations which do the same thing for a particular destination (like the bike shop in Amsterdam or the two non-profits in Paris). Maybe this is OK just because they aren't going to use us to fight each other on google.
The real rub here is that we probably don't want to list individual apartments either, as there would just be way too many of them. Attempting to do that would turn Wikitravel into more of a free apartment directory than a travel guide, and that is a non-goal if I've ever seen one. Ideally maybe somebody will start a travel apartement wiki, since it seems this would be a good medium for such ads, just not on Wikitravel. Until that happens though I guess we need to think about this problem a bit. Right now this seems to be the consensus:
Vacation apartment websites are not to be listed, as they are "other guides".
Individual apartment listings are not welcome, as there would be too many of them if everybody did it.
Pre-web brick-and-mortar apartment rental services can be listed.
Sources of apartment ads can be mentioned so long as they appear only on paper, and do not have a website. (Sometimes links to websites belonging to paper sources are OK too, maybe.)
Am I right that this is the consensus? As with concert listings I think it's kindof funny to be able to tell travelers about printed materials and not the web, but maybe that's just me. -- Mark 05:21, 13 Nov 2004 (EST)
Mf. I happen to also disagree with the concert listings policy, nightlife guides can be invaluable to some cities and the info in them is so short-lived that Wikitravel can't hope to keep up.
That said, I'm not sure about what to do about apt listings either, I think an artificial division into paper and non-paper makes little sense. Perhaps it'd be best to allow one section per country (or region of suitable size) with a vetted list of major operators, and direct cities and specific destinations to that section. This would at least minimize the bloat. Jpatokal 08:06, 13 Nov 2004 (EST)
I think that vacation rental services are far enough out of our sphere that they fall outside the "other guide" rule.
We have a very simple and reasonable rule we have for every other kind of external link: that is, we only use primary links. If we're talking about the Hotel St. Paul in Montreal, we don't link to a review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the hotel -- we link to http://www.hotelstpaul.com/ . Note that a link's domain name doesn't determine whether it's a primary or secondary link; in our guide to Cleveland, it may make a lot of sense to add a link to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Similarly, if there is a place where we're talking about general, world wide vacation rental services, of course we will provide links to those services -- as many as we can write about and as is reasonable. I think it would make a lot of sense to make a Vacation rental services page, which lists and describes services, just like Hospitality exchange.
If there are rental services local to a city or region, it may even be reasonable to list some of them in the Sleep section of a destination.
What's not reasonable is to throw links to general services into each destination guide they cover. "Example.com has restaurant reviews for this city!" "Example.net has hotel listings for this city!"