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Wikitravel is a Web-based project "to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable worldwide travel guide." Launched in July 2003 by Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins, the Web site is based upon the wiki model, using the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. In 2006, Internet Brands bought the trademark and servers and later introduced advertising to the website. Wikitravel received a Webby Award for Best Travel Website in 2007. That same year, Wikitravel's founders began Wikitravel Press, which publishes printed travel guides based on the Web site's content. The first print guides were released on February 1, 2008.

Description

Using a wiki model, Wikitravel is built through collaboration of Wikitravellers from around the globe. Articles can cover any level of geographic specificity, from continents to districts of a city. These are logically connected in a hierarchy, by specifying that the location covered in one article "is in" the larger location described by another. The project also includes articles on travel-related topics, phrasebooks for travelers, and suggested itineraries. Wikitravel is a multilingual project available in 18 languages, with each language-specific project developed independently. While the project uses the MediaWiki software, which is also used by Wikipedia, Wikitravel is not a Wikimediamarker project; it was begun and is operated independently.

History

Wikitravel was started in July 2003 by Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins, inspired in part by Wikipedia. Unlike Wikipedia, it uses the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license rather than the GNU Free Documentation License. Among other things, this more easily allows individuals, tourism agencies, etc., to make free reprints of individual pages. Although both Wikipedia and Wikitravel are free-content resources, because of the incompatible licenses, content cannot be freely copied between them. Wikitravel's different objectives have also resulted in different policies and content guidelines. For example, Wikitravel eschews a neutral-point-of-view requirement, as it is written from the point of view of a traveler and, instead, encourages editors to "be fair."

On April 20, 2006, Wikitravel announced that it and World66 — another open-content travel guide — had been acquired by Internet Brands, a publicly traded corporation. The new owner hired Prodromou and Jenkins to continue managing Wikitravel as a consensus-based project. They explained that Internet Brands' long-term plan was for Wikitravel to continue to focus on collaborative, objective guides, while World66 would focus more on personal experiences and reviews. As a result, many authors of the German language community decided to fork the German Wikitravel, which was released on December 10, 2006, as Wikivoyage. The German language Wikitravel remains active. On April 1, 2008, Internet Brands added Google advertising to Wikitravel, with an opt-out procedure for registered users.

On May 1, 2007, Wikitravel received the Webby Award for Best Travel Website. On June 16, 2008, Wikitravel was named one of the "50 Best Websites of 2008" by Time Magazine.

On August 3, 2007, Prodromou, Jenkins, and long-time contributor Jani Patokallio started Wikitravel Press, a company that produces and sells print guidebooks based on material contributed to Wikitravel. The first Wikitravel Press guides, Chicago and Singapore, were officially launched on February 1, 2008. Content in these guidebooks is available under the same Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license that Wikitravel material is licensed under.

Milestones

  • December 23, 2005 — 10,000 articles across all versions.
  • June 11, 2006 — 10,000 articles on the English version.
  • September 29, 2006 — 20,000 articles across all versions.
  • May 1, 2007 — Wikitravel wins Webby Award for Best Travel Website.
  • February 1, 2008 — publication of first printed Wikitravel Press guides.
  • June 16, 2008 - Time Magazine names Wikitravel one of the "50 Best Websites of 2008."
  • November 22, 2008 — 20,000 articles on the English version.
  • August 21, 2009 — 50,000 articles and 50,000 users across all versions.


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