Wikitravel:20 April 2006
Important news about Wikitravel
We're pretty excited to share some big news with the Wikitravel community.
Wikitravel has had immense growth in the last 12 months – both in its size and in the maturity of our guides and our community. Wiki is so strange that way: the more contributors, the better the content we make; and the better the content, the more contributors we attract. But there's still so much left to do to reach our goal: to make a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. We're taking big steps today to get closer to that goal.
As many of you know, a similar project to Wikitravel exists on the Web: World66. Like us, they've been working hard to create a travel guide of global scope. Like us, they use wiki to make the guides reliable and up-to-date. And like us, they use a Creative Commons license to keep their content Free.
Starting today, our two projects will be working together to achieve our common goal. We think the melding of these two sites is going to make a project that's greater that the sum of its parts. It's not going to be easy: we have technical hurdles and potential culture clashes to deal with. But this is the Next Big Step for Wikitravel and World66.
We plan to keep both domains "live", but gradually reduce the overlap between World66 and Wikitravel, and emphasize their different strengths. We're going to be concentrating more of the objective, consensus guide content on Wikitravel, and expanding the role of personal experience, reviews, opinions and ratings on World66.
This is going to be a commercial venture. The two sites are now owned by an American company called Internet Brands, Inc. (IB) which operates a number of consumer information sites. They've provided the leadership and resources to bring our two projects together, and although we were initially wary, we've been won over by their management team's understanding of what Wikitravel and World66 are trying to do.
There's no hidden agenda; the business model will be extremely transparent. The current plan is to have unobtrusive, targeted, well-identified ads on the pages of Wikitravel. Not today, not tomorrow, but not far off, either. Ads will support new hardware and the two of us (Evan and Maj) so we can concentrate full-time on development and sysadmin effort, as well as other developers, designers, and staff. IB is committed to working with the community on an advertising policy that is fair and productive, and makes sure that the integrity of the guides is never compromised.
But that's the future. For today, tomorrow, next week, next month, Wikitravel is going to remain the same site you're used to. We're going to stay on the excellent MediaWiki platform that has served us so well. We're going to continue to support multiple languages, and we're going to keep using the great license that Creative Commons worked so hard to make for us. And of course, the community will continue to make its own decisions and policies.
The two of us are so proud – so honored -- that you've let us act as stewards for your project this last 3 years. We don't take you for granted; we know we will have to continue to earn your trust. The people at IB, and Richard, Douwe, Hans-Peter and Giorgio of World66 know that too.
There are some people who are going to hear commercial or advertising and head right for the door. We hope that the rest of you give us the benefit of the doubt. We don't think "community" and "commercial" have to be opposite terms. What this community has done with Wikitravel is important, and we're committed to being good custodians for the impressive guide you're making.
There's a lot to talk about, and the two of us will be here on the site, on IRC, and on the mailing list to answer questions when we can. Thanks for taking the time to read this; thanks again for letting us help you with your project. -- Evan 09:02, 20 April 2006 (EDT)