An explanation

“Another Website?”

That was the astonished reaction I got a short while ago when I announced to my staff that I was thinking of launching yet another new website into the company’s constantly growing family of websites.

They know me quite well, however, and so followed up their surprised question with another one: “What’s this one about?”

They know, for example, that the sites which we already have fall into categories:

and

  • Sites about Kyrgyzstan:

It seems to me that there is a gap here … something’s missing … what about the other people … the visitors to Kyrgyzstan.  Where do they have their say?

To be fair, many visitors to Kyrgyzstan do already “have their say” … they post videos on sites like Youtube, The Lonely Planet Thorn Tree or TripAdviser, or they have their own blogs.

Perhaps, I suggested, it would be a good idea to bring those together in a single resource.  To make available to people who are interested in traveling to Kyrgyzstan the wealth of experience and advice of others who have already trodden this path …

That led to quite a discussion with a lot of fruitful ideas – some of which we are working on for future developments.

… but there is more!

We know that there is a rich vein of knowledge available on the internet, but sometimes it can be difficult to locate it.  Over the years I have seen a vast number of web pages about Kyrgyzstan … and although many have been filed away in my “Favourites” tab … an awful lot have been lost.  Some of the sites have actually disappeared, just as ianbek.com once disappeared.  Other, individual pages, have been archived and withdrawn by the publishers and so are no longer available.  On the other hand – a huge number are still “out there … somewhere”, waiting to be discovered by the surfer.

Search engines can help us find them – but they can come up with huge listings … Search for Ian Claytor and Googol gives 47800 results, search for “Ian Claytor” and it narrows down to 570.  Search for Celestial Mountains and it finds about 176,000 results, whilst “Celestial Mountains” gives just 20,000 (yet surprisingly “The Celestial Mountains Tour Company” yields about 21,500!).

Try searching for Kyrgyzstan … and you get something like 282,000,000 links! – yes, 282 million links!

Not all of the links are useful … and by the time you get past the tenth page, (if you haven’t already given up), you might just come across a “gem” of an article … .

What’s more, we can’t hope hope to put all these links into the database, so we are obviously going to have to be selective.  We’ll limit ourselves to those associated with travel to Kyrgyzstan and some links that give background information that might be useful, or helpful, to someone interested in traveling to Kyrgyzstan.  We won’t include pages that are news based or address political, economic and social problems or those aimed at selling things – like tours or hotel accommodation.

Now, it’s true, unfortunately, that not all of the things that you find on blogs and review sites are positive.     There may be things on the internet that we would prefer weren’t there … but they are … and they do represent the authors’ opinions, their experiences and their impressions.  As they are already in the public domain we can’t ignore them.  As a result, some of the links will be to pages that some people may feel are negative – but they need to be seen for what they are: part of an overall picture.

So, we decided to try and make it easier for people to navigate the mass of information out there, so that the surfer can find the sort of pages that will help them get a feel for Kyrgyzstan.

We are not selling anything … not trying to give a news service with the latest up to date information about what’s happening in the country or social commentary … just a directory of pages with information, reviews and impressions of the country … a  targeted resource.

So, that was the concept.

We decided to give it a go.

However, life is not simple.  I know from my days of teaching Information Technology that there are a whole host of questions about structuring websites, and the information that they contain …  and so it proved to be in this case.

So, we set up a small test version and tried it out.

We searched through our Favourites folders, blog sites, we googled and searched on several different search engines …  finally we decided to try it live.

It’s not a finished product … it’s a “testbed” … we are trying the concept out.  It seemed like a good idea, but how will it work in practice?,  What problems will we encounter?, How do we organize the links?, how will it be most useful to the surfer?

If we decide to continue the project, then the final version may well look totally different from this “testbed”.  This is just a trial version to see what it looks like, what the problems are and see how we can improve it.

Why not have a look?  Give us your feedback … suggest sites and individual pages, categories and so on. Help us to help the surfer!

Help us to help you!