Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

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Jun
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#1 Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby Jun » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:53 pm

loke wrote:Well we had maps that used to be up to date on a few websites a few years ago , but not anymore.

I tried using maps of the Chiang Mai bars from some magazine several years ago, on my first & so far only visit to the city.
Whilst the maps were helpful, they were not to scale, not to shape & missed out entire streets, so in some cases it took about half an hour to find a bar. That's better than no map, so I remain grateful.

I think where WE can help is by updating google maps, with correct bar locations and some tag, such as Gay Bar. Then the user can then get an accurate location.
This may not matter for bars which are together on Soi Twilight, but if they start getting spread out, or are all over the place, as was the case in Chiang Mai, then accurate mapping helps.

I do some google map updates, however if we all chip in with a few, then there is a better resource for everyone.

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#2 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby gerefan » Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:32 am

Good idea.
I have yet to see a decent map in Thailand.
Thai just don't seem capable of producing any sort of accurate map.

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#3 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby fountainhall » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:57 am

I think the main problem discovered by every magazine, website, whoever is not so much the creation of a map but its requirement for constant maintenance and updating. A map today will almost certainly be out of date within a few months.

For several years I posted on gaythailand.com. It took me quite a few of those years before I realised there were huge chunks of information about Thailand's main areas of interest to gay guys on another part of that site (there still is) - and most of it was out of date. I offered to start the ball rolling by rewriting the articles about each city and assembling as complete a list of the Silom/Suriwong/Sathorn area as I could of bars, massage spas, discos and popular gay friendly cafes/restaurants, particularly those that other members had written about. A special sub-section of the forum was opened to allow a few of us to make our contributions.

I cannot now recall if this was at the end of Michael's ownership or the start of Scooby's. The only point I wish to make is that the lists which eventually were updated have for the most part become out of date again. The Bangkok Gay Massage list still includes Adonis, Aqua, Albury, Fan Club and Homme Club - all of which closed years ago. The restaurant list still includes Coffee Society, Coyote, Sphinx and DIck's. To be fair, when you click the links you will learn after reading the posts that some have gone out of business - but less than half of those I have listed.

Please let me stress, I mean this as absolutely no criticism. There is still some useful information to be found there. But if information and maps are to be of value, then someone or some group has to be responsible for constantly updating them. I don't think anyone has yet solved that particular problem.

Individuals sending in info is a great idea. Even better is having one person with time on his hands, assembling the info and then checking on a regular basis - say, every three months. I still believe Christianpfc is the ideal person for this given his already extensive knowledge and free time. However, we know that he only ekes out a living in Thailand with no work. I suggest it would only be fair that he receive some remuneration. Would enough posters here be prepared to contribute to a list and maintenance fund?

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#4 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby Jun » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:48 am

fountainhall wrote:Would enough posters here be prepared to contribute to a list and maintenance fund?

Interesting question.

1 No one has managed to sustain a website or magazine with maps funded by advertising.

2 So the other alternatives are a we collectively update maps, or chip in to pay someone to do it.
(i) The only information I would pay for is for the more obscure & isolated venues. If there is one gay host bar in (say) Chiang Rai & I am going to Chiang Rai, it's useful to know where it is. If there have been 3 bar closures & 3 new bars in their place in Sunee I can find that on the next trip.
(ii) For me, collective responsibility & updating a few location details myself & encouraging others to do so works.

I also wouldn't presume any specific individual would be interested in doing paid map updates.

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#5 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:29 am

fountainhall wrote:Would enough posters here be prepared to contribute to a list and maintenance fund?

If there are, I would not be among them. First, speaking only for myself, I rarely even go to the bars anymore. Second, if someone is being paid to do it, he would have to obligate himself to keep up with it, it would have to be enough money to make it worth his while, "donors" would have to keep paying him if they expect consistent current updates, and if someone is accepting money to perform this service there is the possibility that Thailand might even require a work permit.

I think the most reasonable choice would be to do it on Google Maps, with the cooperation of those who go to these venues. If any venues change locations, close, or whatever, while sometimes that may happen and cause some confusion until someone updates the map, most venues would be right where the map says they are.

Has anyone considered talking to the bar owners and seeing if you can get them to be the ones providing accurate map locations, easy to find directions in their ads and web sites, GPS coordinates, etc? I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I would think if the bars want the maximum number of customers the onus ought to be on them, not us, to make their bars easy to find.

They could do it right here on this board if they want to. Don't forget - I permit gay and gay friendly venues - bars, massages, restaurants, hotels, or whatever - to advertise on this board totally free of charge, with no obligation of any kind to me, as often as they wish. I don't know why the venues have shown very little interest in taking advantage of it, but that's their choice. If enough bars to want to advertise here and post their locations here, I would even be willing to open a new forum on this board and call it "Venue Ads" or something. Each venue would get its own topic.

Seems logical to me.

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#6 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby fountainhall » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:54 pm

Jun wrote:No one has managed to sustain a website or magazine with maps funded by advertising

There used to be about 3 free magazines printed monthly and distributed around gay venues. I usually picked mine up at Dick's. About 6 months ago I only saw one which I believe was Thai Phuan. That has a nice looking website, but the extensive gay venue listings are just like all the others - inaccurate and vastly out of date. The other two died.

It is good of GB to offer his site so that information can be compiled. I fear, though, that just like all the other attempts, it will end up with only a few entries and little updating. And surely updating is key. The once very useful and informative Ratchada website in Chiang Mai gave excellent listings. It closed about a year ago. Its last listing has 9 gay massage spas of which two have died since then. It also lists closings in recent years. That list has 22 establishments. Out of date lists are surely as bad as no lists at all IMHO.

I really do hope I am wrong.

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#7 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:12 pm

fountainhall wrote:And surely updating is key.

The fact that the venues don't seem to bother doing that is on my "I Don't Get It" list. How much effort does it take?

I would have thought that the venues would not only want people to know they even exist, but would want people to easily be able to find them. Oh well, I guess I thought wrong.

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#8 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby Jun » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:58 am

Exactly, there USED to be 3 free magazines printed monthly.
Now somewhere between 0 & 1, if I'm not mistaken (I may be mistaken).
So it hasn't been sustainable as a business model.

OK, so there is the structural shift from print to websites, but the number of sites with maps showing gay venues has dropped in the last 10 years. I suspect a few people had a go & figured there was no money in it. Or didn't think about the business model.

I suspect there IS no money in it. However, if someone can spot a business model where money CAN be made with a website with gay maps in Thailand & SE Asia, I'm interested to hear why you think that is the case.
If the case is good, I might just have a go, but it's going to be with minimal time input and I would be using Upwork to get someone in The Philippines or wherever to do the legwork.

I think a more workable model is if a number of us make a commitment to make a minimum number of updates every year. Say if 10 people commit to 10 updates, then we have 100 venues. Where it is updated can be discussed (here, google, etc).

Just to make sure we are all honest, the 10 updates can be listed here, so there is peer pressure.

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#9 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby Gaybutton » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:34 am

Jun wrote:I think a more workable model is if a number of us make a commitment to make a minimum number of updates every year.

While I believe the venues themselves should be the ones making the effort, obviously they do not, so if people want accurate, up to date maps showing the venues and the locations, it's going to have to come from us rather than the bar owners. It's not going to come from the gay magazines either, if there are still any left. Right now, I wouldn't even know where to pick up one of those magazines. I never see them anymore.

For example, I haven't been to Chiang Mai in years. Now I wouldn't have any idea the names of the bars, the locations, prices, or what they have to offer. Now that some of the Bangkok bars are changing locations, the same applies.

It's also not necessarily the big cities. There are plenty of lesser known, off the beaten path places to go, especially cruise areas in more rural areas.

And it's not just go-go bars. It would be nice to know where the gay massages are (especially the "happy ending" massages), the gay saunas - especially if they are farang friendly, the gay beer bars, the gay-friendly restaurants, the gay-friendly hotels, the gay cruise areas such as Saranrom Park, shops that sell gay clothing, swimwear, and underwear, and whatever else would be appropriate.

In short, those of us who visit the gay Thailand boards - all three of them - are going to have to make the effort.

If there isn't cooperation, consistent cooperation, then I guess as far as finding all the places of interest are concerned, you're on your own . . .

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#10 Re: Maps of Bars & Other Gay Venues

Postby fountainhall » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:45 am

Jun wrote:I suspect there IS no money in it. However, if someone can spot a business model where money CAN be made with a website with gay maps in Thailand & SE Asia, I'm interested to hear why you think that is the case.
If the case is good, I might just have a go, but it's going to be with minimal time input and I would be using Upwork to get someone in The Philippines or wherever to do the legwork.

I think a more workable model is if a number of us make a commitment to make a minimum number of updates every year. Say if 10 people commit to 10 updates, then we have 100 venues. Where it is updated can be discussed (here, google, etc).

Just to make sure we are all honest, the 10 updates can be listed here, so there is peer pressure.

I agree with most of Jun and GB's last two posts. But I believe there are some basic flaws. The bars, massage spas etc. should definitely have websites with detailed information about their services and a very precise map with GPS coordinates. I am tempted to add addresses in Thai - but who has ever found a taxi driver who can work out a small venue on any map. I certainly haven't. So the map should include the closest large building like a hotel or office tower, or even a BTS or MRT station with walking details from there. Surely that's what a sensible business interested in their customers and in increasing their customer base would do.

Some might suggest facebook pages are OK. But that assumes, wrongly, that everyone is a member of facebook whereas everyone can access the internet.

The first flaw, I fear, is in the collation. Jun's suggestion of ten posters making ten recommendations is excellent. But I am pretty sure that will not add up to 100 venues. For surely in Bangkok the main venues, the ones most often written about - like Tawan, Hotmale, DreamBoys, Babylon and so on - will come up on many lists. So I suspect the total is likely to be nearer 25. I agree that's better than nothing, but it's just a shortish, very incomplete list.

Second, language. We know that the target market is changing rapidly. The expat/visiting western tourist numbers are way down. Those from other parts of Asia, increasingly China and probably soon India are on the way up. I don’t mean the group tours. I refer to the growing number of individual and small gay groups. With 27 million members Blued is by far the most popular gay app now and it is basically in Chinese (although helpfully with built-in English translation). Grindr is now 60% Chinese owned. I cannot believe there is cash to be made from a gay venue website unless it is geared as much if not more so to the greater Asian market. That means it has to be in both English and Chinese. Some assume that these visitors are wealthier individuals from these countries who automatically speak English. That is increasingly not true, as I know from my many discussions with Chinese on Blued who have visited Thailand. Perhaps the first concrete suggestion I have is that anyone starting up a website should begin with discussions with Blued and Grindr.

Having been looking at print and internet entries on gay Bangkok for 39 years, I do not believe there is money to be made now, if only because the market is just too small. Just look at the number of regular posters on the three English gay chat rooms. Probably not more than 50 - certainly well under 100. How many newbies write posts asking for info on the gay scene? Maybe 20 or 30 in a year?

As for advertising revenue, there ought to be a market with the increasing revenues from the pink dollar. We know that many of the younger gay guys from Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong and other parts of Asia spend part of their days shopping. Ads including discount coupons might be attractive – but for one thing. Due to social attitudes here, I do not believe regular advertisers in Thailand will wish to be associated with a website which openly promotes gay gogo bars and saunas.


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