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Laos forum

Laos backpacker and writer

Posted by panky on 25/9/2012 at 22:18

Hi guys,

I'm interested in hiring a backpacker who is (or has) backpacked Laos to do some research. I can't pay much (it'll still go along way in SE Asia) - and it'll probably be via paypal, but I'm more interested in someone who has traveled a lot, and is out there having a good time, perhaps even blogged a bit, likes researching online for their next hostel or couchsurfer to crash, and does things on the cheap. Does anyone know a good spot - (or is this a good spot). I doubt it'll be more than 20 hours of work - most of the it can be dragged out from forums such as these, wikitravel, or things like that.

I've been to Laos, but my experiences were quite short, and would love to go back there in the near future.

#1 panky has been a member since 25/9/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by busylizzy on 26/9/2012 at 03:13

So what's the research to be used for, if you don't mind my asking?

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by enigmatic on 28/9/2012 at 09:37

I'd also be interested in knowing what it's for as well

Do we need to actually go there in the near future? Or is it fine if you went there last year, have a pretty good idea of major changes since then and often have a functioning internet connection?

FWIW I've got the requisite experience with budget SE Asia budget travelling and internet dredging, even made non-trivial edits to Wikitravel and wouldn't mind proving that I'm capable of earning money again, but am committed to Indonesia and the Philippines for the rest of the year.

#3 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by panky on 28/9/2012 at 10:26

A few fellow travellers and I are interested in putting together a few e-books on the area as more of a pet-project. It all started when we pooled our research knowledge on a recent trip to Myanmar, literally combing through dozens of websites and books because there simply was nothing that up-to-date - not even the usual guidebooks - and then created our own friendly e-book version, which we used and then shared with other friends travelling. Long story short, they persuaded us to publish the research, and it's done moderately well to the point of being profitable, for an e-book (which was really surprising). So the next step is to see if there is a small market for this - though we have no "business" model - i.e. we're just a bunch of travellers. So right now we're looking at places that are still not top destination stops but rather more backpacker-y places, in the hopes of creating a network of very cheap e-books (like in the $2-$5 range) that you can preload on your kindle or ipad.

On our side, we all know formatting quite well, and can do the editing and the proper source citation (i.e. we're not plagiarists or anything). On the other side, we don't have enough writers. We're hoping to find a writer with a couple days to kill to write down personal experiences and put in research for any number of destinations, and perhaps provide a couple dozen photos - for an up-front fee, and then we can split proceeds if the book does well.

This if for fun - none of us are going to make a living off of this, but it will help you pay the bills if you are just country-hopping from here to there, and we're helping people out as well.

#4 panky has been a member since 25/9/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by busylizzy on 28/9/2012 at 15:32

My reason for asking is because I thought it was poor form to come to a website like Travelfish that offers exactly that type of info - including FREE PDF guides - with a statement like this: "most of the it can be dragged out from forums such as these, wikitravel, or things like that"

But, as long as your providing citations, and references back to TF....

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Posted by somtam2000 on 28/9/2012 at 20:57 admin

Hey panky,

Perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but if you're suggesting you're planning to pull material from Travelfish to stick in an ebook that you're going to sell, citation or no citation, I wouldn't be very happy about that -- at all.

Or perhaps I just miss-understood what you're trying to do.

#6 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
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Posted by panky on 28/9/2012 at 23:48


I can see that it comes across as bad. Which is why I had second doubts about posting. But hear me (read me) out, and which is also why I"m glad I posted to get a general sentiment on what's appropriate, or not:

1) It's not a for-profit model. I can't comment on the profitability of your site (as you do charge advertising), but this project would be mainly to spread word, a blog of blogs for example. My friends and I have posted innumerable stuff on blogs, including contributions to websites such as yours via the forums, or tripadvisor etc. The one experiment we did of our compiled stuff, we charged $0.99, which is a bare minimum for amazon, for example.
2) Let's say I want to go to a place such as (in this case, Laos). I have a couple options: I can purchase a $20+ guide, which sadly enough I have done. Now LP, and other guides, are very pigeon-holed. In other words, you basically end up where everyone else ends up. Same guesthouses. Same stories. LP also tends to have a political agenda (as does TF -> i.e. your refusal to do Myanmar articles, which is what drove us to extensively data mine).
3) So this was our other option: data mine. Extensively. Which I found more rewarding, but really time consuming. With all the blogs out there, all the TF type sites, and guidebooks, pretty soon enough you're overwhelmed. A lot of the forums also eventually start recycling the same old questions. It's just as much work to narrow all this down to what is relevant. To where you can get a bunch of material that allows YOU to create your own trip, not relive someone elses - if that makes sense.
4) Any why e-book? Some of these countries have limited internet access. E-books readers can run for 50+ hours, are easy-to-charge, and are tiny. They are more convenient than trying to find a computer, or printing out a thick package of papers, or bringing a netbook/laptop/ipad. They weigh less than guidebooks. If you are country-hopping, or enjoy reading while waiting at the bus station or on the bus trips, not having to pack extra pounds of books is key.

Which brings me to a suggestion - it would be great if you guys could take your stuff and package it in a .mobi format, or something easily downloadable to an ebook - that I would pay a small sum for. And suggestion number 2, would be of course, to start packing info on Myanmar, and other places. I mean, I love your site and I'm a traveller at heart - but I don't really want to be slapped with someone else's political leanings.

Comments, suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

#7 panky has been a member since 25/9/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/9/2012 at 00:53 admin

My main suggestion would be, don't repackage stuff from Travelfish -- as you do not have my permission to do so.

Regarding your other points:

1) The only contribution to Travelfish that I can see (at a glance) by you is this thread. Just because whatever you're thinking of doing is "not for profit" doesn't give you any kind of rights to use the material of others.

2) We don't cover Burma, Brunei, Philippines nor East Timor in detail. We do have feature stories on Burma and forum sections dedicated to Burma & Philippines. If you find our information spoiled by "political leanings" please feel free to use one of the other dedicated Southeast Asia travel websites available online.

3) Let me make this really clear, you do not have our permission to reproduce material from this site. Take your "mining" elsewhere.

4) Yes I agree ebooks are useful -- that is why we've been producing them for the last six years or so. If you had been a site member for more than three days you would probably have known that.

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Posted by laughable on 29/9/2012 at 02:13


Panky what a fantastic idea- I hadn't thought of doing an e-book before! This must be a new development in the publishing industry. And you're so clever to actually advertise the fact that you're going to steal other people's information, research and hard work on the actual site you plan to steal from. Genius.

#9 laughable has been a member since 29/9/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by enigmatic on 29/9/2012 at 02:44

Travelfish's bake-your-own ebook system is actually very cool, although if I was being very picky I'd point out the accommodation listings miss the detailed price info which is actually one of the site's major strengths (even when it's out of date, they tell you how out of date, unlike LP).

In fairness the pdf download feature isn't obvious even to regular members unless you're one of those people that reads the home page or scans the tiny links at the bottom.
Maybe a link at the bottom of each destination page to invite people to -Register/Click- to download information on -destination- in ebook format would make it clearer without deterring people from browsing the destinations first. Of course I understand there are perfectly sound reasons why you may only want people to grab the free pdfs if they're really looking for them.

Periodically updated Travelfish-branded country guides in the Kindle Store might be worth the effort in attracting new members too.

#10 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

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