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FAQ

The idea

What is guidemate?

guidemate is a platform for audio guides for everyone to participate.
You know something about your city, your quarter or your region that is worth telling? Then do it! No matter if it's about architecture, sights, nature, culture, gastronomy or hiking – publishing your own audio guides is easy! We at guidemate want to encourage everyone to create guides in their individual ways.

How did you come up with the idea of guidemate?

We found it bad that the approach of getting to know a new city is often bound to sightseeing tours with large tourist groups or in busses. We rather like to discover new places more individually – concerning both time and subject.
Apart from the conventional guided tour, we believe there are plenty of other ways to discover one's surroundigs via (audio) guides. After all, there are so many people everywhere who know their city and can tell a lot of interesting things about it – whether they do it professionally or not. All these people could come up with guides that are much more personal and diverse than the usual ones. If only there would be an easy way to create, publish and share them. That's the idea of guidemate.

How does a guide here differ from a usual guided tour?

One aspect is independence: With guidemate, you can pause and continue your tour and take them at any time of day. And instead of being tied to a large group, you can just go on your own.
Another thing is diversity: Guides here can be more focussed on special interests and niches than guided tours that often try to appeal to a broader audience.

What could be my benefit from publishing guides here?

Maybe you just like to share your knowledge and your stories with others. You can get rewarded with positive comments and ratings.
If you connect your account with Flattr, you can easily get a refund for your free guides from your listeners. Learn more at flattr.com.
On request, everyone can also publish paid guides. These are presented like free guides, except that the stations are only playable after payment. E-mail us, if you would like to publish paid guides at guidemate.

How does guidemate finance itself?

The platform is financed via:
- Commissions for paid guides
- Fees for publishing free audio guides by commercial or institutional providers
- Creation of customized versions of the guidemate apps for professional audio guide providers
We don't place ads on the website nor in the apps.

Is everything for free here?

Being a member of guidemate, the website and the apps are and will be free. Many guides are free, while some are paid content. This depends on the guide's publisher. The paid guides can only be listened to in full length after you pay for them.

Why should I pay for guides, if there are so many free ones I could take?

Maybe it's just the one that you looked for. And it has good ratings, too. Paid guides are usually by professional and well-known publishers. From those, you can expect high quality – in both sound quality and content. Before you buy it, you are able to have a close look at the guide in question. Normally, you can also listen to shorter samples of the tracks, so you can judge if the guide would be worth buying.
We believe the mix of free and paid content is a foundation for a diverse choice. See for yourself and find the guides you love!

How do you ensure high quality, if anyone can publish here?

For example with your help! Rate guides and give feedback. The best rated guides are normally presented first.
In rare cases, it is possible that we remove a guide after close review, if it contains content that has negative ratings by many users. However, we cannot give you a guarantee that there will never be a bad or inappropriate guide.
In any case, there are paid guides which you can expect to be of high quality.

What about guides in other languages?

We are based in Hamburg, Germany, so it is no wonder that so far, we have concentrated on the German language and places near us.
However, there are several English guides already, some in Russian, Chinese and Czech. We are looking for guides in every language.
The general texts in the apps and on the website are available in German and English.

Is guidemate for cities only?

guidemate is not restricted to cities. Of course you can show us your favourite hiking trail or a bicycle tour – anywhere on this planet.

Listening to guides

How can I listen to guides on my smartphone or MP3 player?

For iPhone and Android phones, there are already guidemate apps. You can listen to guides and see the stations on the map. You can also download complete guides for offline usage.
With other smart phones, you can use the mobile version of our website.
Furthermore, you can just download the MP3 tracks of a guide and copy them to your MP3 player. The details of each station, along with a segment of the map, can be printed out. This can be particularly useful if you have problems with your mobile internet connection on location.

Can I just dowload a guide?

You can download the audio tracks to your computer, your phone or MP3 player. Just click on "Download audio files" in the details view of a guide (not available on mobile devices).

To download the guide in the iPhone App or Android app, you click "Download" in the guide details. Here, all audio tracks and images that belong to the guide are saved to your phone. You can also download map data if you want, so that you can use the guide completely offline.

Is DRM ("Digital Rights Management") involved anywhere?

No. All audio tracks are normal MP3 files – the paid ones too. You can play them as long and as many times as you like.

Creating your own guides

How do I create my own guide?

This is easy. After registration, you can get started at "My Guides". Our guide to guide can help you with problems that may occur. There you also find help about what you should keep in mind when creating a guide.

Can I display my audio guide on my own website?

Yes, you can embed an audio guide as a widget on your web site! Just go to the Widget page, select the audioguide you want to embed and copy the HTML code. You can only embed audio guides that are already published.

Can I create an audio guide from my guided tour?

If you already offer guides tours as a tourist guide, you can create audio guides based on your tours with little effort. We described why you should do this and the needed steps on its own page (only in German, though).

Can my grandma join too?

Sure! We'd like guidemate to be as diverse as possible. And this will only work with creators who have diverse backgrounds, stories and experiences. We don't want to restrict the circle of people who should participate – as long as everyone sticks to basic rules.

Sure, I'd like to create my own guide, but don't I need special audio equipment and software for this?

Not really. In the simplest case, you just use your computer's internal microphone or a head set. You can create audio recordings directly on this website – no additional software is needed.
Of course, quality audio equipment is a big plus. Even more important, however, is content: your stories and your way of telling them. You can find a detailled tutorial and tips about how to create a good guide in our guide to guide.

Can I publish guides without audio tracks, too?

Yes, guides may contain texts and images only. Stations are displayed differently on the map, depending on content type. In the future it will be possible to filter guides and stations by content type.

There are problems with Internet Explorer. What can I do?

There are known problems concerning file upload in some versions of Internet Explorer 9.
We are working on it to fix this. Until then, we suggest you to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, if you want to create guides.

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