Proposal for Travel Writers' Co-Op:
If you would like to post information for travelers and have no desire to create revenue from it, you can do so here for *free*. Scroll (or link) down to the heading "So, how do we do this?"
If you'd like to create income/revenue for yourself, read on....
This is what I see. How about you? Would you agree that:
- Mainstream travel publishing today (books, magazines, newsletters, etc.) cannot easily keep the information current when compared to the abilities to do so over the Internet.
- The Internet will be the first place people will research many types of information in the future, especially travel information.
- Advertisers value a medium that pinpoints their message directly to their target market, usually through specific "demographics." Whether on purpose or accident, web sites on specific interests do just this.
- Web sites are also a medium that can measure exposure much more accurately than traditional media. Web sites are able to measure how many visitors (specific IP address) and how many visits to each page of a site. Other interesting information is possible to obtain as well. This medium is more accurate than magazines, newspapers, radio, and television. This too is of extreme value to advertisers.
Okay Einstein, tell me what's going on here!
Travel sites on the Internet are often referred to as either "commercial" or "non-commercial." Why can't you have a "commercial" web site that gets respect? It's possible, but the respect must be earned.
"Non-commercial" web sites offer unbiased travel suggestions and are of great value to travelers. "Commercial" sites generally offer pretty pictures, and mostly hype of one kind or another. You know, you visit a website, it's got a couple of recommendations, but of course, somehow, if you think about it, they're probably getting a kickback, or are getting paid to post the information to begin with. Biased information. Straight from or for the company/operation itself. Hyping itself. Information, yes. Insight, no. If you rely on that information alone, you'll just have to risk it and find out if it's the right thing to do or not when you get there. More information really is necessary, and unbiased would be preferable.
If they're not pushing a recommendation for a kickback, they're offering a complete list of all the hotels/motels/restaurants/etc. Okay, that's great, but I, the traveler, have never been there, don't know one place from another, and now I'm confused. Where should I stay? Somebody, help!
A guidebook! Great, let's drive to the store, and spend upwards of $15-30U.S. (or order one online and wait for it to be delivered). Isn't there a better way?
There is, it's here, and it's on the Internet. Get rid of the hype, the confusion, and the price tag to the consumer. Lets give visitors the local information from the actual "local" people. Especially when there's a marketer who wants to reach that person, and is possibly willing to pay for the privilege to do so. Let's work together and make decisions that benefit the group of writers as a whole.
So, how do we do this?
(and let us know if you think we should change any provision here!)
- Have specific information/recommendations (mostly, where to stay, eat, and what to do) for travelers (including, but not limited to, those on a budget) to an area (that we approve, based on and defined by the population) you either live in or visit on a regular basis. You're expected to keep information reasonably current.
- Have the means to create and post your own pages (using style/logo/format the co-op agrees upon). We currently use Microsoft FrontPage98 as a web site management tool and page editor, and thusly suggest it's use, but it is in no way required. There's more information below about things we'll do to help you out in this regard (if you want).
- Are allowed to post your information for *free* if you are not creating revenue from your work through advertising, bookstore, or other means. Otherwise, you agree to the current monthly fee of $11.95U.S., due in advance and paid quarterly. Honesty is expected. Anyone found not abiding by this provision will immediately, and without recourse (legal or otherwise), lose their privilege to post future information on escapist.com.
- Keep all (100%) of the revenue you produce for your area.
- Agree not to place advertising, or pander to: food establishments, lodging facilities, or any other types of establishments or services agreed upon by the co-op to be unacceptable. This site, however, may not be completely pure and adult themes could be acceptable, if appropriate, and in good taste.
- Agree that if you're a travel agent, you're providing a service to others with your information, and not just pandering to your own self-serving ways to build business for yourself.
- Get first right of refusal to sell your own advertising for the same geographic area on our "sister" site, Qpon.Network (http://Qpon.Net). Qpon currently focuses on discount offers from food establishments and lodging facilities, but coupons of all types are presently acceptable. Qpon's fee is an additional $28.95U.S. per month ($68.95 for non-escapist.com co-op writers). Same payment terms as escapist.com.
- Agree to abide by the mutual decisions made in the future by the co-op and escapist.com. If necessary, any decisions made by escapist.com alone will be considered final and binding.
- Agree that published information becomes the copyright of both the author and escapist.com.
- Agree not to use the escapist.com site or the server of our service provider as a means for you to conduct other businesses (unless approved in advance by escapist.com) or for any illicit activity. You agree to handle yourself responsibly by having access to the system and not partake in any destructive or invasive activity or activities. Anyone not abiding by the items in this provision will immediately lose, without recourse (legal or otherwise), access to post information on escapist.com or Qpon.Network, and may possibly incur legal action against them.
- Agree that escapist.com and it's service provider(s) will not be held responsible for any loss, financial or otherwise, interruption in service, or other inconvenience incurred.
- Agree to be bound by any future guidelines, as they are established.
- Provide you the ability to post information for your area on our service's server. We maintain the final decision as to which service is used.
- Make appropriate changes to the contents pages to include your pages/area(s).
- Review html markup and image software currently available and make recommendations for commercial brands, shareware, and freeware. We currently use Microsoft FrontPage98, and our server supports the extensions of this program.
- Offer tax help for U.S. citizens (but not to be taken as legal advice... please consult an accountant).
- Produce and make available paperwork that members find of value. Contracts, etc. Reports about visitors to your pages will also be made available for your use/information.
- Maintain a mailing list (majordomo) for the writer's co-op as a means of exchanging ideas and asking questions among the members.
- Make every effort to make decisions based upon mutual benefits and fairness for everyone involved. escapist.com will not waste time with abusive partners/writers/members. Please be considerate, or we will choose not to be in business with you.
- Help in setting up bookstores, message boards, chat rooms, and/or mailing lists for your area, if so desired. Message boards can be Microsoft FrontPage98 or WWWBOARD 2.0. Chat is Java chat through XOOM. Mailing list is a Majordomo system. Currently, amazon.com is our associate for any bookstore on the site.
If you're ready to start, send in a request for the area you're considering, including which type of arrangement you'd like (free, or paying... you can change it at any time), we'll go over it, then reply back to you. If we're in agreement, then arrangements will be made so that you can begin posting information on escapist.com!
Address questions and replies to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently, these areas are in the works, or posted already:
(Last updated: July 03, 2003)
(AZ): Phoenix, Tucson
(CA): San Diego, Orange County
Baja California, Baja California Sur
� Copyright 1996-2002 Q87 International, San Diego, CA. All rights reserved. User Agreement.
Last revised: June 21, 2002