Welcome to the "I'm launching something really, really big next week" edition of Three for Thursday. I found a couple of really cool ideas and tools for your reading pleasure. So check'em out and be sure to let me know what you think of them in the comments section. Here we go....
As usual the folks over at Springwise have found a bunch of cool stuff, like this interesting travel agent service. As we all know, the web and specifically sites like Priceline, Expedia, etc., have placed a lot of downward pressure on pricing in the travel industry. Airlines and hotels have transferred that downward pressure to their agent community and consumers have forever altered their behavior. Now, rather than contact a travel agent, many consumers simply hit the web. But let's face it. Unless you're a real travel junkie, you really don't know what you don't know and that may result in your missing out on a few great experiences.
Enter OfferMeaTrip -- where you as a consumer (sorry UK only right now) describe the trip you'd like to take. You may say for instance,
I want to visit New Orleans, LA and I want to make sure I take in the culture, art, music and great food. I'm not interested in packaged tours but I would like to visit a plantation.
You'd then submit that description to the site (or more if you like) along with dates for travel and a budget you'd like to stay under. Then competing travel agents put together your dream New Orleans trip, package it up in a custom online trip brochure for you and submit for your approval to book. You as the consumer get multiple trip options to choose from depending on what each travel agent puts together and best of all - you get one fixed package price. A pretty cool service I'd say. It would be even cooler if you could do group travel like this... say you were putting together a "We're turning 40 trip" for a group of friends. You could outsource the planning/execution of the trip via a site like this. Very interesting model and it will be interesting to see if it jumps the pond. Guess the more important question - what other industries lend themselves to an approach like this? Thoughts?
I'm totally stoked about this next find -- again from Springwise. Leanpub is a new eBook creation platform that purports to let you quickly and easily convert your blog posts into eBooks. It also allows you to update the eBook and push that updated file to everyone that has already bought a copy. But is goes farther by also allowing you to sell those eBooks and keep 75% of the price for yourself. Yes, that is not a typo... they want to let you keep 75% of the price of the book as income for you. Remember when I mentioned that Amazon wants to publish your next book -- well these guys want to get into that picture too.
Currently all eBooks produced are PDFs sized at 5.98 x 8.98, so they may not render perfectly on an eReader like the Kindle but I emailed Peter (co-founder of the site) to see if/when they might be able to produce Kindle friendly eBooks and this is what he sent back.
We're currently working on MOBI and EPUB support, so that we can
properly support Kindle, iPad and the other e-book readers...We're probably 2-4 weeks away from releasing it, however.
So their eBooks will be Kindle/iPad friendly. That alone is a great reason to check this service out and why I'll be using it to produce my first eBook this summer.
photo by goXunuReviews
Simple Survey Tool
By now you've been on my site for more than 10 seconds and as such, a little survey box has hopefully appeared in the lower right hand corner of your browser. It's a free little piece of java code from a group called KISSinsights that I found while checking out Leanpub's site.
It's an incredibly simple little survey tool that let's you insert (and suggest) quick one question surveys that you can place on your website, blog, etc. Best of all, you can place a different survey on each page of your site to capture different kinds of feedback. So for instance, I could put a "Got any cool things for me to cover here" survey on all of my Three For Thursday posts and then use a more general survey on other pages. While most folks probably won't go through the trouble of adding things via the comments section, it might be interesting to see if they'd add ideas via this tool. I might test that application of the tool next. There is also a paid version that gives you more control, which based on how many of my readers complete the free survey, I may upgrade to in the future.
So that is it for this week's "I'm getting ready to do something big next week" edition... let me know what you thought of the stuff I covered and be sure to point me to cool things you've found so I can cover it here.