UnAnchor Update

by Jason -- August 19, 2010

UnAnchor.com is the startup I founded and launched a few months ago. The goal of the site is to help travelers find detailed “do-it-yourself” itineraries for their next travel destination – what to see, how to get around, information on local customs, etc. All of the itineraries are written by users and available for sale starting at $0.99. In this post, I wanted to give an update on how things are going.

In a word, I would say things are going “okay”. While we were living in Busan, I spent most of my time building Keys To China, as well as writing my own Busan itinerary. Most of my focus on the site the past few months has been getting people to write itineraries.

Solving UnAnchor’s Chicken and Egg Problem

One of the largest challenges I face with making UnAnchor successful is solving the chicken and egg problem. Itinerary writers want users to be on UnAnchor, but users will not go on UnAnchor unless there are itineraries. My initial plan to solve this problem included reaching out to fellow travel bloggers and the Travel Blog Exchange community. I had good luck with finding places to guest post, as well as getting interviewed. Unfortunately, the traffic that resulted from these posts and interviews did not result in itineraries being created. After reflecting, I believe the traffic the blogs brought in was the wrong kind of traffic. These were people interested in travel in general, and reading good travel stories, not writing itineraries to make money. (However, I believe a lot of these people stuck around and now follow our blog instead.)

Trying Something New

I’m a big fan of test and measure. Try lots of things; drop the ones that don’t work, keep the ones that do. So, I’ve stopped trying to actively guest post and instead I’m now focusing my efforts on niche bloggers.

The niche blogger I’m specifically looking for are those who focus on a particular city or country. I realized niche bloggers are great candidates to write itineraries after meeting the author of Chris In South Korea. Chris has an awesome blog on South Korea, is an expert on Seoul, has a stream of visitors looking for information on Seoul, and is always looking for ways to monetize his blog. I’d love to help Chris and other niche bloggers like him monetize their blog traffic, while helping travelers find amazing things to do.

Now my goal is to find people like Chris who blog about a major city or area. So far, my search has been going well. I’ve emailed quite a few bloggers and gotten good overall response from them. Hopefully this will help push UnAnchor forward.

As always, if you know someone (or are someone) who is interested in writing an itinerary for UnAnchor, please let me know or just refer them to the site. For the first 50 itineraries, submitted, I’m going to be giving the writer 90% of what they charge, rather than the normal 75%. If you’re looking for an example itinerary, shoot me an email.

Finding a Co-Founder

I’ve long believed that my best chance of success with UnAnchor was to find someone equally passionate about travel and the idea as myself. I’ve been passively looking for a co-founder. Recently, I posted an ad (free) to CoFounderGoogleDocs.com. Someone contacted me through my post and after having a lengthy conversation with him, we’ve decided to do a trial run working together. After the trial run, I plan on writing a post to discuss how things went and how we approached the trial run.


Lastly, I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions on solving my chicken and egg problem. How would you recommend I find qualified people interested in writing itineraries for UnAnchor? I can’t promise I’ll try out your suggestion immediately, but I do promise I’ll add it to my ongoing list of ideas. Send me an email (Jason.Demant [at] gmail [dot] com) or leave a comment below.

P.S.  Check out the new “I Love Travel Writing” Facebook Group

If you love travel writing or just want to find out more about it, check out my new “I Love Travel Writing” Facebook group. Internet permitting, I try and post something new to discuss about travel writing 5-times a week. Thanks to James for this suggestion!

Be awesome and help us share:

7 Responses to “UnAnchor Update”

  1. Good luck, sounds like an awesome idea!

  2. Thanks Andi!

  3. I don’t want you to think I have forgotten about my promise to write an itinerary for Chiapas. After spending 30 days there over 2 visits, I am sure I can offer some insight to new Chiapanites.

  4. I thought you may have actually :-). Looking forward to reading it!

  5. I too have been meaning to write some itineraries and to you about some thoughts about the site but I’ve been moving blah blah!

  6. No worries. Let me know if you have any questions, and feedback is always appreciated :-).

  7. […] positive feedback about the site and drove in some traffic, but ultimately my primary mission of finding itinerary writers failed. This effort disappointingly resulted in only 1 or 2 […]

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