Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was just talking to some people about how on my travels I contribute to OpenStreetMap and Google Maps / Mapmaker mainly to help other travellers find stuff that isn't easy to find.

I much prefer contributing my work to OSM because it's run for free for people like me whereas Google is a multibillion dollar company and shouldn't really be soliciting free handouts from skint backpackers.

But this gave me an idea. Maybe there are some websites that offer real incentives to crowdsourcing activites such as money, free stays, free gear, free tickets to participants who contribute a lot of good info or achieve set goals.

Besides contributing to mapping, other possibilities would be reviews of places to stay or eat, photos of attractions, correcting out-of-date information, etc.

Does any such incentivized crowd sourced travel themed website exist?

share|improve this question
1  
An excellent question... It would be awesome if that kind of site existed. –  John Doe May 21 '12 at 9:00
    
tripadvisor, google places, facebook, twitter come to mind. There is also a danger to these sites and that is that really unique places become common. –  andra May 21 '12 at 10:45
    
Another interesting business idea on travel SE. We should really start to implement at least one of them ;) –  RoflcoptrException May 21 '12 at 11:51
    
Excellent idea. –  MastaBaba May 21 '12 at 12:45
    
@Andra: None of those sites incentive your contributions, unless I'm missing something. I've put reviews and photos on TripAdvisor but then don't use it for a while because of this reverse Robin Hood effect. I've also added some details or flagged duplicates of places in Facebook but again it feels like rich corporation begging from poor backpackers. I get no warm fuzzies giving to those guys that I get from giving to OSM or even WikiTravel. –  hippietrail May 21 '12 at 13:35
show 3 more comments

1 Answer 1

This probably shouldn't be an answer, but it's going to be too long for a comment, so I'll put it here. Feel free to convert if you really don't like it here.

Providing tangible rewards for 'crowdsource' feedback hits two major obstacles which have not yet been solved.

  1. Verification. We already have very little way of determining if a review of a restaurant, hotel, or place was written by someone who actually went there. We just have to take their word for it. The only reason to believe them is "why would they bother?" i.e. who would bother to create a plausible-sounding review of a place they hadn't been to? As soon as you reward people, that changes. I'm pretty sure I could write 100 plausible-sounding reviews in a day if I thought it was going to get me a free vacation. (N.B voting doesn't help with this. If you go to the trouble of writing a fake review, then creating 25 fake accounts to vote it up is no extra trouble)
  2. Bias If an establishment is going to give out free stays for reviews, you'd better bet it's not going to give them out to reviewers who trash them. That's going to really cut down on the number of negative reviews, as reviewers compete to be as nice as possible and get their free stay.

If course both of these are problems now to some extent. And sometime in the future the internet may solve the problem. But not yet.

share|improve this answer
1  
Interesting comment. First problem is solved via karma and administrators, like here in stackexchange. If you could "downvote" poor or inexact reviews it could disuade users for loosing time and only legitimate user will make reviews. Of course, it won't assure that only good users play, but part of crowdsource is to trust user. Second problem is not a problem really, not? Opinions are opinions and the sum of all kind of users opinions is what makes a review site rich in my own "opinion" :) –  Ivan May 22 '12 at 14:32
    
Yes I thought a bit about these problems but didn't assume nobody had tackled or solved them. For instance the verification problem exists for crowd sourcing sites already when the incentive is only warm fuzzies/lulz for the good/bad contributors. Google Mapmaker seems to have trusted users watching new users and employees watching trusted users and new users. To be eligible for incentives contributors might have to "enter" like in a pre-internet competition by providing personal details or perhaps even enter by offline means... –  hippietrail May 22 '12 at 14:37
    
... Prizes, rewards, gifts etc could be given out after some large delay such as once per year to contributors voted worth by their peers, etc. I'm sure there are some ways people can come up with. I believe Stack Exchange already gives a few gifts out, but not immediately, not in big numbers, and not of great value. They don't seem to have a problem with people gaming the system to get more swag than they deserve. –  hippietrail May 22 '12 at 14:38
    
There's a hidden assumption in everything mentioned above that the benefits of adding fake information is very low, and therefore few people will devote much effort to it. This is already being shown to be false in Wikipedia, where companies can make profits by giving their clients 'good' Wikipedia articles. Editing of Wikipedia by paid sources has already become a significant problem, and I'm absolutely sure that all political campaigns have someone making sure that Wikipedia contains only information favourable to the candidate. –  DJClayworth May 22 '12 at 14:40
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.