nile
5 years ago
 

NileGuide acquires Localyte and thousands of destination experts

nileNileGuide beefed up its content and destination expertise with the acquisition of Localyte, including its technology platform and community of experts, for an undisclosed sum.

NileGuide CEO Josh Steinitz declines to disclose the terms of the deal, but says Localyte management “obviously have a stake in our success.” He says it will be determined after a 90-day transition whether the Localyte team will stay on with NileGuide.

The assets acquired include the Localyte website, the community of Localytes contributors, the technology behind the destination recommendations and Localytes rewards, as well as the Localyte iPhone app, Pocket Sherpa.

Founded in August 2007, Localyte is funded by Tandem Entrepreneurs.

Steinitz says NileGuide had been approached by “lots of companies” looking to be bought or seeking partnerships, but NileGuide “finally pulled the trigger” and bought Localyte because it is a strategic acquisition.

The value proposition of Localyte is in its user-generated content with thousands of Localytes — local experts who might be tour guides, business people, restaurant owners — who connect with travelers and answer their questions for free.

Steinitz says while NileGuide has local experts in major destinations, the Localytes have expertise in “third and fourth-tier travel destinations” where it is “harder to build compelling content from existing data.”

Localytes answer travelers questions such as, “Where is the best volcano walk in Guatemala?” Steinitz says. They aren’t supposed to promote their businesses in their answers, but can tout them in their profiles.

Currently, Localyte users can rate Localytes on their answers and eventually NileGuide will launch a program where Localytes can take the points they earned from their ratings and redeem them for performance-based advertising on NileGuide, Steinitz says.

Steinitz says NileGuide plans to invest in the Localyte expert program, which counts “tens of thousands” of experts, and plans to bring that contingent of experts “north of 100,000.”

The Localyte expert program complements the NileGuide Local Experts program, Steinitz says, and the best Localytes will be able to “graduate” into the NileGuide program, where they would get paid a flat fee and receive performance-based incentives.

NileGuide clearly was more interested in aggregating Localyte’s content than its existing traffic, which amounted to less than 11,000 unique monthly visitors in March 2010, according to Compete.

The mashup of NileGuide and Localyte pairs two PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit participants.

NileGuide took part in the event, which features travel startups, in 2008, while Localyte presented at the summit in 2009.

Steinitz says the two brands will remain independent for now, although Localyte content will be “cross-pollinated” into NileGuide.

 
 
Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.

 

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  5. Stuart

    Congrats to Localyte. As per some of the previous comments I’d imagine it could be tricky having local experts who are mostly in the trade, but I assume they’re well aware of that.

    A quick glance at both the top helpers and Q&A for Phuket, Thailand has the majority of the top contributors being either travel agents or at least involved in the tourist trade in a pretty substantial manner. So while yes there is a bounty of knowledge within those contributors, it comes with some pretty hefty strings. Still guess the solution is working for Localyte readers.

     
  6. Pete Meyers

    @kevin – Agree with Sam that Compete isn’t the best indicator and, while Google Site Trends is a bit better, I imagine it too underestimates the volume of Localyte’s traffic.

    There’s always Alexa rankings to consider as a relative comparison, which likewise brings its own batch of issues. Maybe this is a good topic for a future Tnooz post?

     
  7. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Josh and Sam: I’m reaching out to Compete Inc. for further insights on their Localyte numbers, fyi.

     
  8. Sam Daams

    @Ian C interesting, I never would have considered something like that after running a travel community for 9 years :)

    @Kevin, I’m not surprised by Compete being off by a factor 5-10. They are off by more than that for TP… One thing that has a huge influence on their rankings is that they are US only. For some of us the world is bigger than that; not sure why it isn’t for Compete. Google Site Trends, which at least in free form is way more accurate than Compete, shows localyte at between 3 and 6 K daily uniques: http://trends.google.com/websites?q=localyte.com

     
  9. Ian C

    Congrats on the deal – looks like a good strategic investment on nileguide’s part.

    @Sam – one way of identifying and rewarding local experts in an online community is via a reputation system. We’re working on one that will help to identify (or ‘badge’) experts in particular domains and topics. In essence – you can let the community decide who’s good (and who’s bad).

     
  10. Josh Steinitz

    Thanks for the coverage Dennis, and thanks for the comments as well. One clarification is that the Localyte website actually has roughly 100,000 visitors/month, so while it’s not huge, it does has some meaningful traffic in its own right.

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      Dennis tells me he’s using Compete data http://bit.ly/czAHF1 which shows Localyte’s unique visitors in March were fewer than 11,000. Your take on those numbers?

       
  11. Sam Daams

    Nice move by NileGuide! I’m really impressed by some of the deals the folks over there are pulling off; they certainly aren’t sitting still. It also looks like we are going to have more and more overlapping features the way things are shaping up; good to keep things interesting!

    One thing we’ve always found to be hard is to make sure the local experts you have (our Travel Help feature dates back to 2002 on TP, but originated in 1999 as the ‘Database of Travel Helpers’) aren’t just in it to promote their own business/website. If their main goal is to get the number north of 100 000, I’d be very curious how they plan to maintain quality control at the same time.

     
  12. Pete Meyers

    Very interesting move by NileGuide and congrats to the squad at Localyte.com.

    It seems a lot of the value for NileGuide is about content acquisition, SEO upside, and tapping into a larger network of experts, while also providing an incentive to Localytes for greater earning based on performance.

    However, the notion of what sounds like a two-tiered expert hierarchy seems a little clunky and starts getting into the “what defines an expert?” debate.

     
 
 

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