It was through surfing his site, in May 1998,
that we contacted BURST (the advertising network serving banner ads on Rec.Travel Library)
and were accepted to join their network.
In those days the ads were not so intrusive
and actually paid better than they are doing today - looking back over the revenue chart
makes for depressive viewing.
Like Travel Notes, Rec.Travel Library covered
every country, with unique content and plenty of links, and went through a few slight
design changes over the years. They also tried to stay clear of the flashing ads, which
don't even pay enough to feed the dog.
The other day I went over to look for an
interesting travelogue to read and was pleasantly surprised to see a whole new look Travel-Library.
Gone are the banner ads (in come Google text
Ads) and a whole new design has been implemented. They said it took 9 months to upgrade
and I can quite believe it; just keeping HTML pages covering every country looking fresh,
is a never ending process in itself.
The site looks a lot sharper and is much
easier to move around, mainly because it's all a lot tighter and cleaner.
While the travelogues are still there, the site seems to be moving more towards the
'tourists intending to travel' market rather than the 'traveller has been there and has a
story to tell' hangout; with hotels, holiday information and tips for short breaks.
Perhaps it will be both.
While travellers can still submit travelogues,
visitors are now encouraged to add their opinions on the places they've been to. There's
even the chance to win a Mini
iPod for writing a hotel review.
The site is like the young backpacker who's
been around the world and returns to tell the story, then grows up into a sophisticated
traveller who appreciates the finer things in life; like having a real shower in your own
room instead of sharing a bucket of water with whoever else is around.
We applaud the step up to maturity and hope
the travellers continue to contribute not just their travelogues but more specific travel
tips as well.
If you haven't been over there in a while,
you'll be pleasantly surprised.