Youth portal youngtravellers.com launched in the UK at the beginning of September as a virtual community for student travellers around the world. Focusing primarily on the London scene, it hopes to offer travel, accommodation, and entertainment information to people visiting the capital, as well as UK residents.
The first technical hitch that the site has come across is discovering that a rival site has purchased the domain name youngtraveller.com. It takes good eyesight to spot the difference, but a single 's' is causing huge problems for the new dotcom. "We registered 16 different variations of our name, but unfortunately our credit ran out a year ago, and two days later someone else had bought the other name!" explains Paul Berman, joint managing director of the site. Berman is currently negotiating to purchase the 's', and is hopeful that a compromise will be reached shortly.
The site intends to target the 18-26 age group in particular, and will be largely dependent on talk-back from its community. Despite its obvious kiwi following, youngtravellers.com hopes to shake off the stigma of being a chat room for South African and Australian travellers. It is also in discussions with established rivals roughguide.com and lonelyplanet.com to syndicate a content agreement for the site.
Berman has revealed a lot of good ideas that youngtravellers.com has up its sleeve, including a ticketing engine for finding last minute flights and holidays on the Web. The problem is that the company is unsure about how to present all of these enticing services in a coherent format. "The site is a bit busy," admits Berman; and indeed, at the moment it would probably be easier to find your way around the back streets of Soho without a map than navigate your way around the site. ZDNet is however reassured that it's due for a redesign in a month's time, which will enable it to customise information for registered users.
A pat on the back for its missing-persons helpline though, which will hopefully manage to track down young travellers that have gone walkabout.
The service: youngtravellers.com
What it does: a virtual community for student travellers to trade a gain information -- hopefully not just Kiwis and Ozzies
Who it's for: the name's a bit of a give-away!
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