I've just discovered a really cool music emagazine site call idiomag. Basically it's a music e-zine with a difference... you can personalise it to deliver you a daily email of content, music, video about just the bands/music you're into. You can also see what your mates are listening to as well. There's an interesting interview with one of the co-founders Andrew Davies on journalism.co.uk too. A key point he makes is that the web is driving the value out of paid-for content. No point paying for content when you can find something similar elsewhere on-line for free. He suggests that the way to combat this - to add value and ultimately I assume make revenue? - is personalisation. I'm inclined to agree with him too.They've created a really clever widget
too - which you can embed in social media sites like Facebook and MySpace or stick on a blog. Very smart... way ahead of the game.
If you can do this for music, why not for travel too? Provide a few details about your favourite places, types of trips etc and get stuff to read and watch that you're actually interested in rather than wading through pages of stuff you don't want to read. In fact there's a service out there that does it now... Offbeat guides. I blogged about it a while back. It's not quite the same - the idea is you create your own guidebook. I was sceptical about it then... and I remain so. I got given a trial log-in (you can't use the beta site without one unfortunately) and tried it. You type in your location and the destination you want to create guide for. The site then culls content from various sources (it doesn't say where exactly) and creates a bespoke guide. You can choose which chapters you want too. The guide is delivered as a PDF file for $9.95 or a printed bound version for $24.95. When I was experimenting, the quality of the content varied wildly. The guidebook it created for me on Amsterdam was fairly useful... but Seville (which I know well having written a guidebook to the city) was awful. In fact it included a section on a museum in Mexico City!
So... personalisation is important, but quality of content still matters a great deal too.