Emerging large-scale digital content businesses from Demand Media, AOL’s Seed and Associated Content win a lot of attention in the media, in part because people who write for a living are scared of getting algorithmically calculated out of a relatively high-paying job. But the method of creating content with users in mind definitely has value. One place where it seems particularly relevant is travel.
We all want advice about where to eat and what to see when we go on trips, and despite useful sites like TripAdvisor there’s still a lot of relevant advice and information to be surfaced. (Not to mention, people just love to write about their travels — it’s not so hard to find contributors!)
In that vein, NileGuide is a travel recommendations and planning site that’s hoping to build up a rich living archive of information. In addition to providing web-based tools, the company contracts with about 60 local freelancers to write and engage on social media about key travel destinations, paying a flat rate as well as traffic bonuses (It’s looking to bump that contributor number to 300.) But the company, which has raised $9.5 million in funding, still only gets about 500,000 visitors per month and covers a limited geography.
So today San Francisco-based NileGuide is announcing the acquisition of the angel-backed and San Mateo, Calif.-based Localyte, a participatory travel advice site that has had early success in engaging participation. Localyte has 50,000 contributors around the world and 100,000 visitors per month. It invites travelers to ask questions and gets local business owners to answer them and build reputations within its system.
NileGuide CEO Josh Steinitz said Localyte would be integrated as a Q&A widget on NileGuide, complimenting the site’s paid content for larger destinations. The idea is to use this sort of advertorial-type user-generated content to scale up to broader coverage. Steinitz didn’t disclose terms of the deal and said he was unsure if the Localyte team would be employed by NileGuide long-term.