Managing Data

User Generated Content

What is it?

User Generated Content (UGC) is where voluntary contributors can publish online content. Some popular examples include:

  • Wikipedia

  • Social Networks - Facebook, Twitter, Youtube

  • Forums - eg Whirlpool, Reddit

  • Review Websites - Zomato

  • Online Classifieds - Gumtree

Benefits of User Generated Content for a Website Owner
  • Free - the website owner does not have to pay staff to produce content

  • General Feedback is Seen as Reliable - General user opinions can be viewed a valuable towards feedback and decision making - eg checking the rating of a restaurant before deciding where to eat

  • Self policing opportunities - forums can be monitored by voluntary moderators 

  • Keeps users engaged - users often participate with discussions with one another, keeping users engaged and increasing the number of returned users

Costs of User Generated Content for a Website Owner
  • Bias - users often hold strong opinions about a topic and often don't contribute a balance perspective

  • Lack of reliability and creditability - anyone can publish content from a 5 year old to a University professor, therefore, user generated content has to be taken with a pinch of salt. There's no guarantee that information presented in user generated content is factual and is why Wikipedia has a poor reputation and often avoided in referencing

  • Online Defamation risk - users can publish false, offensive or inappropriate content, which could pose a legal liability towards the website owner. In February, 2016, an online user on TripAdvisor, wrote a defaming review of Gold Coast hotel - Paradise Resort. Such comments could negatively impact the business by deterring future guests from staying at the hotel.

  • Confusion over Intellectual Property - who owns user generated content? There is often confusion over who owns user generated content and how it can be used?