WikiTravel and Content Sharecropping

By Deane Barker on September 10, 2012

Travel Site Built on Wiki Ethos Now Bedevils Its Owner: We’ve talked about software sharecropping before, which means building software which depends on someone else’s platform, which can be pulled or changed without warning.

Well, WikiTravel may have suffered from “content sharecropping.”  The site was started in 2006 from a bunch of CC-licensed content.  Recently, Wikimedia has announced a travel guide.  Many of the authors of WikiTravel are suddenly leaving to go do that, and they’re starting with the content that has been the core of WikiTravel for over half a decade.

The company behind WikiTravel – Internet Brands – is pissed.

“The foundation covets Internet Brands’ Wikitravel Web site, which we have spent seven years and millions of dollars building, supporting and growing,” the company said. “In March, the foundation began supporting efforts to recreate the Web site in its exact form. More recently, in the wake of a six-month campaign to galvanize a migration, the foundation escalated its plans by asking us to transfer this site to the foundation in exchange for nothing.”

Tough deal, but the content was CC-licensed to start with, and that never changed over the years.  You can’t outrun a license.