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Posted by someguyinasia on 7/9/2007 at 13:33

I don't want you to take this the wrong way.

I like Travelfish, like it a lot, and while I've found your travel guide reviews good reading, I'm wondering if you're really in a position to throw stones?

After all, there's still large parts of the region you don't cover, and I'm sure there's some mistakes in the coverage you do have, so I'm wondering if you're in a position to really start calling errors in the books you read?

I mean that in the nicest possible way of course!

If I've missed the point in what you're trying to do, if you could better explain your position, that would bbe terrific.


A guy in asia, who happens to be a fan.

#1 someguyinasia has been a member since 7/9/2007. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 7/9/2007 at 16:31 admin


We're not stone chuckers!

No, it's a fair comment, and sorry in advance for what turned into a very long reply!

As you say there's places we don't cover... yet, and yes some material is pretty old, and, like you say there's probably the odd mistake (for which we apologise for profusely!) But I'd say the flipside to that is there's lots we do cover, some of the material is brand spanking new and a lot of the information is correct!

But the more important thing is, I don't see the guidebooks and Travelfish as being competitors (ok, I admit to occasionally having my moments), rather they complement each other nicely. As you may know, you can't pick up Travelfish and chuck it at a rat chewing through your pack in Pak Beng, just as you can't send a question to Rough Guides and have it answered same day. Guidebooks and the internet can work well together.

The aim of the reviews is to illustrate that not all guidebooks are equal and just like guesthouses, bad ones get good and good ones go bad. The point is to try to point our readers to the guidebook that we think is the best -- then you can use that one with Travelfish, or whatever website you fancy.

When we started doing the reviews, we looked around online to see some other reviews to get an idea of what people were talking about, and you know what, outside of reader critiques on Amazon, there's very little in the way of guidebook reviews that are not just reproducing PR babble that the guidebooks themselves put out.

Take this recent mention of Lonely Planet's guidebook to Afghanistan on Gadling. Now I'm a HUGE fan of Gadling and it eats up way more of my time than it should allow it to, but you'll see it doesn't actually tell you much about the book at all, other than telling you "Hey there's a guidebook to Afghanistan available", so you really have no idea if it's worth buying or not. Most guidebook mentions I've found online are like this.

So what I've tried to do is look at the guides with a fairly critical eye, to try to give guidence to what I think is good and bad about a particular title. It's rare that a book is uniformally appalling, just as it is rare that it is totally fantasmagorical. Where I've been critical, for example in discussing the maps in Lonely Planet's new Vietnam edition, I back up my criticisms -- likewise with my praise.

And remember, different horses for different courses -- in an upcoming review, I have a rant because the border-crossing coverage is very poor. If you're not planning on crossing any borders, then that's irrelevant, and you can ignore what I have to say and go buy the book, but if you are planning a lot of border-hopping, then you may want to look at another title.

The important thing is, just like a movie review, these reviews are just my opinion, and there's always the link from the review to the messageboard, where you're always welcome to throw your two cents in and disagree with me totally.


#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by someguyinasia on 7/9/2007 at 20:53

ok makes sense thank you.

I'll get back in my box now & you keep it coming.

#3 someguyinasia has been a member since 7/9/2007. Posts: 3

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