Third-party content

October 17, 2018

This article explains how Furkot integrates third-party content and services. It's main purpose is to provide a set of pre-conditions to feature content in Furkot and lay out criteria for partnerships. It may also be of interest to users inquiring about the inner workings of Furkot.

Furkot main goal is to facilitate planning multi-day, multi-destination trips by helping users create itineraries that bring together activities, attractions and services (like restaurants and fuel stations) with reservations for lodging accommodations and means of transportation. In order to provide the wide range of options Furkot partners with content providers to be integrated into the process of building a trip itinerary.

Furkot visualizes most types of the third-party content - activities, attractions, services, lodging accommodations, etc. - on the map and allows adding it to a trip itinerary as stops. Whenever the content is presented, both before and after adding to the itinerary, user can follow a link to its provider website for more information and to make a reservation or a purchase (for content that requires a fee either for access to it, i.e. point of interest description or to the entity it represents, i.e. lodging accommodation, guidebook).

Requirements for content providers

The minimum requirements for the third-party content to be featured in Furkot are as follows:

  1. Each separate item needs name and geographic coordinates. Additionally following properties will be displayed by Furkot if provided (when it make sense for specific content): address, description, phone, rating, opening hours, average price. If content represents bookable entities (lodging accommodations, events, tours, etc), availability information and actual price for specific dates can also be consumed and displayed in Furkot.

  2. The content provider website has to expose deep links to the items. If content represents entities that are purchased or reserved for specific dates, the deep links need to support them as parameters. Optionally number of travelers can be passed on and, specifically for lodging accommodations, number of rooms and persons per room.

  3. The content itself needs to be accessible programmatically. Furkot supports following methods of access to the third-party content:

  • geographical search API; if the content is date-specific, the dates are passed as parameters;

  • downloadable file(s) in CSV, XML, JSON or similar format comprising the entire content; combined with API for querying availability if the content is date-specific

  • direct crawling of the content provider website if no other option is available and content provider permits it in their robots.txt configuration

Furkot will cache the content in order to perform geographical search against its own database to offer users ability to view the content over the trip map, around selected stop or along the trip route.

For content that represents bookable entities, Furkot shows what's available for the dates of users' trips and displays actual prices. Price is an important criterion for making a booking decision and users favor content providers that reveal the price early in the planning process - directly in Furkot - as opposed to seeing it only after clicking on the link.

Compensation

The third-party content is always presented with the link to its provider website and never in totality. The description of a place to visit is only partially revealed in Furkot. Reservations and purchases are performed on the content provider website. This way users interested in the third-party content featured in Furkot are directed to its provider website.

Featuring content enriches the experience of Furkot users and directing visitors to its provider website is beneficial to the provider of content. When Furkot user clicks on a link to a content provider website and makes a reservation or a purchase that may have not been made otherwise, Furkot deserves to be remunerated, typically in the form of an affiliate agreement with commission paid for consumed reservation or completed purchase.

Partnership with a content provider that is equally beneficial both to Furkot and the provider does not require compensation:

  • when the content provider is not charging visitors either directly or indirectly (by featuring advertisement or affiliate relationships) beyond recovering basic costs of running a website,

  • in the early stages of developing the integration of the third-party content,

  • when the number of visitors directed to a content provider website is below an agreed threshold,

  • when we deem the content indispensable to Furkot function,

  • when there is a comparable flow of visitors from the content provider website to Furkot (for instance by linking to Furkot, embedding tripshots, using Furkot buttons, widgets or API).

The compensation from third-party websites that Furkot directs visitors to allows us cover costs while keeping Furkot free to its users. In order to keep it this way Furkot operates within confines of a budget that generally precludes paying for a third-party content unless it is indispensable to Furkot function and directing visitors in not feasible or sufficient to cover costs of supplying it by the content provider. The examples of content that Furkot compensates providers for include base maps, geocoding and routing API.