INTERNET BRANDS ACQUIRES WIKITRAVEL AND WORLD66 ONLINE TRAVEL GUIDES

 
Company Will Fund Growth of Two of the World's Fastest Growing Travel Sites 

      Los Angeles, April 20, 2006 Internet Brands, Inc, a leading operator of media and e-commerce sites for "large ticket" consumer purchases, today announced the acquisition of Wikitravel (www.wikitravel.org) and World66 (www.world66.com), two leading community travel guides of up-to-date, traveler-focused content.  The sites are growing exponentially, collectively attracting more than 2 million visits per month, more than triple a year ago. 

      Both websites utilize wiki-based collaborative editing technology, and are built on the principle that travelers often get their best information from other travelers.  The Wikitravel website offers thousands of travel guides in six languages, with contributors working together to continually enhance the site's content.  World66 delivers more than 50,000 articles on more than 20,000 destinations all over the world.  The sites have extraordinary community participation, currently receiving as many as 10,000 editorial contributions per week - meaning that on average a new addition to the travel guides arrives every 60 seconds, 24 hours per day.  This rate of participation is also rapidly increasing. 

      Internet Brands will be investing in technology and other resources to help the sites continue to rapidly scale. 

      Thanks to our active community, Wikitravel has had tremendous success and this partnership is the best way to make the investments needed to take the site to the next level, said Evan Prodromou, Wikitravel co-founder.  Internet Brands has extensive experience with content-rich sites and is attuned to the unique needs of a community-driven site."

      "We're delighted to join forces with the Wikitravel and World66 communities," said Bob Brisco,  CEO, Internet Brands.  The sites are blessed with a large group of talented, passionate community leaders and we look forward to helping by providing the needed infrastructure and support so the sites can grow even more rapidly.  

      "We believe that this arrangement will make the projects stronger," said Richard Osinga, co-founder and CEO, World66.  "World66 and Wikitravel have complimentary strengths, and Internet Brands brings the vision and resources to move ahead much more quickly."

      Wikitravel founders Evan Prodromou and Michele Jenkins will continue to lead the Wikitravel site and community and will lead integration of the World66 community.  The founders of World66 will also stay closely involved with the project.

      Both Wikitravel and World66 will continue to evolve under the collective guidance of the user community.  "We look forward to working with the communities to develop new features, applications, and content." said Prodromou.   

Business Model 

      Internet Brands recognizes that even the prospect of commercialization of some community driven sites, such as Wikipedia.org, has produced controversy amongst community members.  Internet Brands believes the goals of the community can be facilitated and enhanced by thoughtful monetization strategies. For example, numerous wiki sites currently carry non-obtrusive cost-per-click advertising in order to fund operating costs and future development.   

      The current Wikitravel site has no advertising, while World66.com has two types of monetization:  Google adwords and link revenues from a hotel-booking partner.  Over time Internet Brands will consider, with community input, context relevant commercial links that would be consistent with the project's goals and that could enhance the overall utility of the site to users.

      "The executives at Internet Brands have extensive publishing experience in protecting editorial integrity in online and offline environments", said Brisco.  "The best of the traditional media, such as the leading newspapers, have successfully balanced  protecting editorial integrity and accepting advertising for decades.  With these two travel communities we will look to Evan and Michele to continue to supervise the development of community editorial policies," said Brisco. 

CONTACT:

Wendy Barbour

Internet Brands

310-280-4494

wendy.barbour@internetbrands.com 

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