What it is: Think Foders meets iFilm. This travel site carries a collection of short films about cities and neighborhoods around the country. Right now it's heavily concentrated on San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, but you can still find features on cities such as Athens, Ga., or Albuquerque, N.M., and even a few international destinations. Films attempt to capture not just basics about a city but the feel of a neighborhood -- think Wrigleyville on a game day or indie music bars in Boston.
Why we like it: If for no other reason, it's worth checking out TurnHere.com to admire the kind of work independent filmmakers can do when given a platform to talk about a place they love. As The Oregonian noted in a review recently in its travel section, "you'll feel like you're on a personal tour with hip, sometimes quirky and often insightful, locals." And tools such as maps and links make it practical as well. Videos are also downloadable and can be embedded in a personal Web site.
Who's behind it: The founder and CEO is Brad Inman, a business journalist-turned-entrepreneur who prior to TurnHere launched a pair of real estate information upstarts. He enlists both TV videographers and independent filmmakers to create the short movies, which are available on virtually every distribution platform -- iTunes, several Google sites (Earth, Video, Local), Yahoo, MSN and soon AOL.
The ad plan: If local merchants like what they see they can have TurnHere custom make a sponsored video (Fairway Market in New York, for example, has one). Prices run under $1,000 for local merchants. Regional and national advertisers can also enlist TurnHere to create content; right now Mr. Inman said his company is doing lots of work for Intercontinental Hotels. Advertisers can then use the videos on their websites, in promotional e-mails and in search results.
Why you should care: Because it's independent filmmakers such as the ones on TurnHere who have the ability to vastly expand the amount of interesting, worthwhile video on the web. And because the number of Americans who turn to the web for travel advice and information continues to grow -- 78% of wired Americans now do, up 13% from 2004.
What's next: Expect TurnHere to continue to expand its breadth of coverage and distribution through syndication arrangements with third parties such as About.com and newspaper websites eager to ad video to their travel sections. Alameda Newspaper Group, part of MediaNews Group, for example, features its video on six California newspapers' sites.