If you're a travel enthusiast and on social media, there's a good chance you're a follower of at least one of the digital media platforms known as UNILAD Adventure and Must Do Travels.
If you aren't, in brief, these are companies built entirely around filtered self-submitted content, combined with soliciting and asking travel bloggers, filmmakers, and photographers to provide them for free, with travel inspirational content that they can then re-edit if they wish, re-label, and share as their own for profit, and in trade, the content provider will receive credit in the comments (or if they're lucky, the post description) and in theory, drive traffic to the content creator.
These digital media platforms have millions of travel-hungry followers who eat up the material these "regurgitators" provide. According to Cityam.com, "Between June 2014 and March 2015, UNILAD recorded a turnover of £377,727". Forbes during an interview with founders Liam Harrington and Sam Bentley in 2016, learned that UNILAD can charge advertisers up to £40k for an original branded video.
We couldn't find any financials for Must Do Travels but it is a for-profit business and its follower base is a million and a half more than UNILAD Adventure at the time of this articles writing.
Needless to say, these kids have built fantastic little empires for themselves, by doing what? By sharing content they paid nothing for. Quite brilliant if you ask us.
So is this good or bad for content creators? Let's take a look!
In December of last year, both companies reached out to us, asking to share an excerpt from our trending film Rhythms of Peru. Excited about the possible of the publicity and potential follower growth to our blog, we agreed. A few days later, their mutilated and rebranded molestation of our precious film material was released, and we can now confidently say the pay off was... less than lackluster. "Well, your content must have sucked!" you'll say. "Maybe it just wasn't popular enough!" you'll shout.
We'll let these screenshots speak for themselves: