It takes 200,000 prices to become the biggest free database of prices in the world

Posted By on 24/08/2011

Last week, one Expatistan user entered the 200,000th price collected in the site's database. I wish I could say he or she gets a prize. But though there's no prize for that person (we don't know who it was!), the figure of 200,000 prices represents a prize for all Expatistan users.

Expatistan has only existed for 20 months, which means users have entered an average of 10,000 prices a month since its founding. But that average is misleading. Back in June, when I last summarized the site's growth, users had only submitted about 150,000 prices. So there have been 50,000 new prices in the last couple months, meaning the site's database is currently growing at over 20,000 new prices per month (or nearly 700 new prices per day). And since June, over 12,000 people have entered prices for the first time. That means that over 150 people each day are contributing to the site for the first time. At this rate, Expatistan will have its 50,000th contributor in just a few weeks.

And though users are the most important engine behind Expatistan, they aren't the only ones driving its growth. Also in the last couple months, the database was dramatically expanded, from less than 1,000 cities to 2,750. Most of these cities are still babies on the site, as only 700 have data yet (and only the 159 cities with statistically reliable data are included in the Cost of Living Index). But now people in 145 countries on every continent can contribute prices. Especially if your city is one of the 2,000 cities still without data, go add some prices!

There are always other ways to interact with Expatistan too. If the site has helped you when you were, say, planning a vacation or a move to a new city, liking it on Facebook helps the site in return—and, more importantly, helps your friends learn about Expatistan, so they can use it themselves. (I didn't know my best friend from childhood used the site until I saw that he had liked in on Facebook.) Sending the page to a friend interested in traveling or moving abroad has the same effect, and comes with a nicer personal touch.

Because it's all crowd-sourced, this expansion means Expatistan is becoming more useful by the day. A city with little data today might make its way onto the Cost of Living Index in a month—if enough people contribute prices from that city. And, as always, more current prices from an already listed city mean that the data in the Index is kept up to date, accurately reflecting exactly how much rent and toilet paper and a beer cost right now.

In that way, all Expatistan users got a prize with the 200,000th price last week. And we'll all get another prize when the site collects its 50,000th contributor in a few weeks. As more cities make their way onto the Index and more recent prices constantly keep the Index current, we'll all keep enjoying the rewards of a global, crowd-sourced project that relies on and reaches all of us—at least all of us in any one of 2,750 cities around the world.