Next week, the "beta" label will come off of the Wikimedia Foundation's bold new project Wikivoyage, a travel-centric spin on its user-generated formula. It's been up since September, but as a project-in-development, Skift reports, and like Wikipedia, the site will be free and carry no ads. It aims to be useful for travelers both online and off, and even wants to enable them to print out mini-guidebooks customized to their itineraries. It also wants to be fit for inclusion in published travel books.
But over at Wired, Sarah Mitroff wonders if Wikimedia can compete in a crowded field of established, well-funded travel offerings. "Wikivoyage will need to rally a Wikipedia-sized mob," to make its entries competitive with those of TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Yelp, et al, she writes. Plus, "if you think spammy entries are bad on Wikipedia, Wikivoyage will be a magnet for every restaurant and hotel looking for a plug." (The site's goal list specifically says it aims not to be an "advertising brochure" or "Yellow Pages.") It's a daunting task—but then, that's what encyclopedia publishers thought "until they were mowed down by Wales and his Wikipedia army."