LOS ANGELES, (April 20, 2006) - Internet Brands, Inc, a leading operator of media and e-commerce sites for "large ticket" consumer purchases, today announced the acquisition of Wikitravel (www.wikitravel.org) and World66 (www.world66.com), two leading community travel guides of up-to-date, traveler-focused content. The sites are growing exponentially, collectively attracting more than 2 million visits per month, more than triple a year ago.
Both websites utilize wiki-based collaborative editing technology, and are built on the principle that travelers often get their best information from other travelers. The Wikitravel website offers more than 12,700 travel guides in 10 languages, with contributors working together to continually enhance the site's content. World66 delivers nearly 80,000 articles on more than 19,000 destinations all over the world. The sites have extraordinary community participation, currently receiving as many as 10,000 editorial contributions per week-meaning that on average a new addition to the travel guides arrives every 60 seconds, 24 hours per day. This rate of participation is also rapidly increasing.
Internet Brands will be investing in technology and other resources to help the sites continue to rapidly scale.
"Thanks to our active community, Wikitravel has had tremendous success and this partnership is the best way to make the investments needed to take the site to the next level," said Evan Prodromou, Wikitravel co-founder. "Internet Brands has extensive experience with content-rich sites and is attuned to the unique needs of a community-driven site."
"We're delighted to join forces with the Wikitravel and World66 communities," said Bob Brisco, CEO, Internet Brands. "The sites are blessed with a large group of talented, passionate community leaders and we look forward to helping by providing the needed infrastructure and support so the sites can grow even more rapidly."
"We believe that this arrangement will make the projects stronger," said Richard Osinga, co-founder and CEO, World66. "World66 and Wikitravel have complimentary strengths, and Internet Brands brings the vision and resources to move ahead much more quickly."
Wikitravel founders Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins will continue to lead the Wikitravel site and community and will guide the integration of the World66 community. The founders of World66 will also stay closely involved with the project.
Both Wikitravel and World66 will continue to evolve under the collective guidance of the user community. "We look forward to working with the communities to develop new features, applications and content," said Prodromou. Both sites are open content travel guides available under a Creative Commons license.
Internet Brands recognizes that even the prospect of commercialization of some community driven sites, such as Wikipedia.org, has produced controversy among community members. Internet Brands believes the goals of the community can be facilitated and enhanced by thoughtful monetization strategies. For example, numerous wiki sites currently carry non-obtrusive, cost-per-click advertising in order to fund operating costs and future development.
The current Wikitravel site has no advertising, while World66.com has two types of monetization: Google adwords and link revenues from a hotel-booking partner. Over time and with community input, Internet Brands will consider context-relevant commercial links that would be consistent with the project's goals and that would enhance the overall utility of the site to users.
"The executives at Internet Brands have extensive publishing experience in protecting editorial integrity in online and offline environments," said Brisco. "The best of the traditional media, such as the leading newspapers, have successfully balanced protecting editorial integrity and accepting advertising for decades. With these two travel communities, we will look to Evan and Michele to continue to supervise the development of community editorial policies," said Brisco.
Wikitravel is creating a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable worldwide travel guide written by its online community. The site was inspired by Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia that is quickly becoming one of the Web's most popular resources. Wikitravel is designed to meet the needs of travelers for timely and detailed information that is difficult to deliver in print.
Wikitravel uses wiki technology that allows any Internet user to create, update, edit, and illustrate any article on the website. Community members share pieces of knowledge, edit them, distill them, and assemble them into a compelling and cohesive whole. The more people that share their knowledge, the better Wikitravel becomes. The site is published under a Creative Commons license.
World66 is one of the most complete travel resources on the Internet, thanks to nearly 80,000 articles on more than 19,000 destinations all over the world. The company was founded by Douwe and Richard Osinga in 2000 and joined the open content community in 2004, publishing its articles under the Creative Commons License.
About Internet Brands
Los Angeles-based Internet Brands (www.internetbrands.com) is a leading operator of media and e-commerce sites for "large ticket" consumer purchases, such as cars, real estate, mortgages and travel. The company empowers consumers to make better product choices and save money. Internet Brands' sites deliver superior content and consumer insights and have received dozens of "best-in-class" awards.
Internet Brands' automotive division includes CarsDirect.com, Autos.com and Autodata Solutions. The company's real estate and finance division includes RealEstateABC.com, LoanStore.com, LoanApp.com and BestRate.com. The company's travel division includes two leading website properties in the vacation rentals segment: VacationHomes.com and Vamoose.com. Internet Brands was founded in 1998 as CarsDirect.com and added the new parent company name of Internet Brands in June 2005.
Erin Peacock for Internet Brands, Inc.