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Touting Time: Simon Seeks

Where I've Been firmly believes in the concept of travel endorsed by familiar faces, which is the new foundation of our site. Guidebooks can be helpful, but there's something about attaching a name and picture to a chunk of advice rather than a brand name. And it looks like that's what the beta launch of Simon Seeks has in mind, too.

With a mantra of "Travel guides for you, by you," Simon Seeks gives anyone the platform to create and publish their own personalized travel guides however they see fit--and get paid for their work.

It sounds almost too good to be true, right? For one, since there are fewer barriers to entry than a typical travel guidebook, you might expect the quality of writing to be inferior. But just a quick browse through the content dashes this notion--take this guide on Chicago neighborhoods by Emma Sturgess, for example. It's simple but thorough, friendly but erudite--almost like a new resident learning the ins and outs of the area from a friendly neighbor. And frankly, that's the way it should be. Simon Seeks allows anyone to contribute to the site, but they also pledge a review process to ensure each guide is accurate and helpful.

Since we dig Emma's tone and style, we're interested in seeing what other hot spots she recommends. Thankfully, there's a handy snippet of her most recent works on the sidebar of the same article, as well as some relevant links if we want to learn more about Chicago neighborhoods. The site's interface is clean and inviting, allowing users to rate and add commentary to each guide. If we're finished checking out Emma's guides, the "Writers" tab on the top has a list of the travel experts, ranked by rating, and nearly all provide informed advice.

So what if you think you can outdo these experts? Then hop on board, pilgrim. For those unsure of their writing chops, they offer some helpful tips on getting your thoughts across clearly and concisely. And yes, you can get paid--Simon Seeks offers a commission-based program where income is accumulated from advertising click-throughs on your guide's page. If you're interested in the ins and outs and what-have-yous of the payout process, check out their Terms of Service.

Simon Seeks is new to the travelsphere, but it's hard not to like their mission: Advice for the people, by the people. Where I've Been commends them for a helpful site that is simple to use.

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Touting Time: Simon Seeks + travel blog