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Collaborative Travel Info
Alex Steffen, 19 Jan 04

Howard posts about collaborative travel guides: "Wikitravel, igougo, and World66 are all user-generated travel sites. You go somewhere, you like (or dislike) a restaurant (or hotel, or museum...), you post. As Wifi and mobile Internet make it easier to post from the spot, and as GPS services make it possible to tag locations, perhaps these services will grow into truly useful and widespread smartmob travel services."

Interesting on two counts - first, as people who spend a fair time travelling, we're always interested in getting better information about the places we're going; but it's also a foreshadowing of larger changes that seem to be unfolding in a variety of commercial publishing arenas. We tend to hear about these from the point of view of the companies involved - does this or does it not threaten the Zagat brand? But if, in fact, collaborative publishing continues to become a major force, the real impact is elsewhere: in this case, on the restaurants, hotels and attractions reviewed. There is a real potential here for consumers to push for not only better service but for more transcommercial values, to note when a hotel seems to abuse its service employees or a restaurant serves threatened seafood, and for future customers to much more quickly incorporate that information into their own purchasing decisions.

Collaborative information systems have the potential to change not only how we decide to buy, but what we buy.

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