CREATOR COMMENTS & COMPANY RESPONSES
We reached out to content creators who have shared with either UNILAD Adventure and or Must Do Travels. The only criteria was having more than 500k views for videos or 30k likes on photos.
Below are their opinions as well as An official response from Must Do Travels. UNILAD Adventure did not respond to our multiple requests for comment:
(To protect the privacy of the content creators, no names have been provided)
“It’s like expecting to get followers for your broccoli farm because a popular restaurant uses your produce in their salad.”
"Before editing and sharing this video, they asked me my permission. I gave them but I wanted to have a link to my youtube channel. I thought they were going put it in the description of the post. What a bad surprise when I saw that the link was only in comments... Indeed, this post didn't increase my views on my original video. But it was an honor for me to be published by this page."
"Honestly, I don't think people really look to see where the pictures or videos came from, so no, I don't think it made a difference at all in traffic on any of my sites."
Bloggers / Travel Filmmakers
"We think that submitting your work or letting platforms with millions of followers use your content for free definitely has some benefits, however there are a few issues with the whole idea of claiming others work as their own. If they do choose to share a piece work then it can definitely receive many views, comments and/or shares that it otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. One of the annoying issues though is crediting - to be honest, most platforms suck at it! We really had to fight with one platform to make sure that our credit was given in the description of the film and not buried in the 3rd or 4th comment that no one was ever going to find, let alone read... After being shared on large platforms it brought us a minor boost in followers - nothing to write home about though. But, it does give us creditability when we are discussing a project with a client and we can say that our content has received over a million views across different travel platforms. We liked the way Matador Network went about sharing our work. They offer some money for a license of parts of your film, and although it is not a huge amount of cash, it shows that they understand that people work hard to create the content and deserve at lest some sort of renumeration."
"When I was just starting I was absolutely stoked to be featured anywhere and I let everyone do it no matter who it was. Maybe it helped maybe it didn’t. But nowadays I’m really particular about what pages I post my stuff on. Because on one hand, these “feature pages” are just getting loads of free content. Content that would cost thousands and thousands of dollars to produce on their own. They are using the system to their advantage hardcore. And as much as I don’t agree with that and I’d never do it myself, you have to see the other side. As a creator, when unilad shares your video you are almost guaranteed a half a million views on a video you created. This can be then used to pitch to other brands and leveraged to help you grow your brand. But not all the content creators know how to do that, so the opportunity goes largely unused. I think it would make it a lot better and a lot more incentivized if these huge companies started paying small amounts to the creators. Even throwing someone $20 to some of these smaller creators would go a long way. Seeing as they are making hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars from each video that’s the least they could do. As much as I don’t agree with it I can’t deny I still do it from time to time. You just have to know how to leverage that and come away on the + side of things"
"...my opinion is that we do get something in return even though it’s not money. Exposure. And something to add to our portfolio... Keep in mind I’m very much a hobbyist, people doing this professionally may have a totally different outlook. However, I don’t think posting on these travel websites is a good way of making money because the cost involved with travel is massive and the pay off is small."
Must Do Travels:
"A few of my friends and I started Must Do Travels about 18 months ago with our own footage of various destinations that we had traveled to or lived in, and from there we started to get approached by other content creators to collaborate on their footage and to promote their personal blogs/websites/social profiles, etc. Much like how you had reached out to us in hopes of having us consider your personal footage. Since we saw that relationship as a mutually beneficial one, we developed a standing partnership with many high quality content contributors that enjoy seeing their work published on our page. It gives many videographers a chance to reach a larger audience with their work than they might otherwise be able to reach if they were to just publish it on their own, especially when they may just be starting out.
Our small team still continues to travel on a regular basis to film locations that we enjoy, or that we have always wanted to go to and needed a reason to get out and do it. That’s why we formed up in the first place. Sometimes it feels like we are always on the road, living out of a suitcase or backpack.
I think we are quite a bit different than what many people might have in mind. Unlike some of the other travel sites and pages out there that I am familiar with, we do not take ownership of your content as a part of the submission process. We know the time and work that goes into filming/editing/traveling and all that, and wish to allow all contributors the right to retain all ownership of their hard work. We simply agree to share the ones that we enjoy the most. If you check the terms and conditions of many of the other pages out there who work with other content creators you will see that they often take exclusive ownership of all content submissions (meaning that they own the video or photo from that moment forward, and you no longer own your footage that you submit for consideration to them), whether they choose to use the footage or not, and often only compensate when and if they do publish the footage online.
Many of the contributors that we work with prefer our type of arrangement, as they are able to not only get distribution and promotion of their content at no cost to them, but they also retain the rights to their hard work that might otherwise not be worth giving up for the chance to possibly earn a small portion of money that wouldn’t even cover the cost of producing the footage in most cases.
We do not run ads in tandem with our content, which means that we do not generate an income off of the video views that our own content or other submitted content gets on our page. I think that the general perception out there might be that if you have a lot of views online you must be making a lot of money, but when there are no ads available to show along with the content on Facebook at this time. We also do not have banner ads on our website articles, so we don’t generate income from that web traffic either. Likewise, we do not have a television channel or a print magazine on the shelves of book stores to generate any sort of revenue. If it wasn’t for our love of travel and being videographers and video editors too I don’t know if we would still be doing it. It’s definitely a labor of love!
In addition to what we film on our own and what is submitted to us unsolicited, from time to time we come across really cool videos online when we are looking for personal inspiration on where to travel next, or get recommended a cool video on YouTube after we just watched another similar video. In those cases we may reach out to some of those content creators to let them know that we enjoyed their work, and invite them to submit their content to us if they wish, so that we can edit it and share it and then link back to their profile or wherever it is that they prefer us to link back to from the video post. Some people never respond to us for whatever reason, and some do.
I wish we could guarantee that every time we shared a video on behalf of someone that it was going to generate some specific level of success for either of us, but we are ultimately not in control of how many views, likes, shares, comments, link clicks to their profile, followers, etc. that any given video can generate. We always hope for the best, and position the content in the way that we feel it will have the highest likelihood for a successful outcome."
UPDATE AUGUST 2019:
Content creator Thomas Norway wrote us:
Thanks for a very nice post, and I agree fully with your opinion. As a content creator myself, I have had similar experiences. Sites like Unilad Adventures and Must Do Travels is great for getting views to boast about, but little more than that. I recently submitted a video to Must Do Travel. After a week I had more than 120 000 views which I felt very good about. However I gained very few followers as a result of this. As in your experience I was credited only in the comment section and not in the post description, which was a negative surprise for me. Furthermore they included my Instagram name in vertically in the upper right corner of the video, which is not very visible on a mobile format, and the logo is much smaller than Must Do Travels. Given mr Kenniffs comments here I would have expected this situation to change one year down the road.