Wikia, a for-profit offshoot of Wikipedia, will announce the launch of a free, editable “worldwide guide of places to go and things to do” on Monday, called World Wikia. The content is very light for now, although for an example of how this might look down the road see their deep content on Roman churches. They will also announce a number of partnerships with commercial publishers to open-source their content and get it up on Wikia. Smartertravel.com and hostelsclub.com are two of the initial partners being announced. Another partner, Vacapedia, will provide access to their vacation rental database.
Travel is a big category – if Wikia can pull off a large number of page views they’ll make good money on high CPC contextual ads, their primary revenue source. I also like that they are getting into vacation rentals. Allowing users to post and find properties, leave reviews, etc., all for free, is a good competitive disruption.
I imagine demand will quickly develop for a downloadable version of individual cities (or the whole travel section) for mobile devices – something that’s been available for wikipedia for some time.