User-generated content

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

User-generated content ( UGC , English for "user-generated content" , also referred to as "user-created content" ) stands for media content that is not created by the provider of a media channel, but by its users.

The term originally comes from web publishing and new media content production circles. In the 1970s and 1980s, all content and information were checked by gatekeepers such as newspaper editors and publishers before they were published. Today, thanks to new technologies, media production is much more accessible, user-friendly and affordable. UGC is often a manifestation of crowdsourcing .

According to the OECD, the content should meet the following criteria:

  1. published content
  2. creative personal contribution
  3. Creation outside of professional routines

There are a variety of uses for user-generated content, such as problem processing, news, entertainment, advertising, gossip, and research. It is a sign of the democratization of content creation and the smoothing of traditional hierarchies.


UGC is used in particular by the media. Examples of UGC are comment functions in blogs , video portals such as YouTube or Vimeo , web forums , social bookmarking services such as Technorati and or the Usenet . With Wikis ad hoc teams of authors can be established, with podcasting audio or video files can be produced via the Internet and available.

Although there was user-generated content on the Internet long before the World Wide Web (e.g. in the form of letters to the editor), the term “user-generated content” only emerged in connection with the term Web 2.0 . Some websites with user-generated content have grown rapidly (e.g. MySpace , Flickr , YouTube ). This also includes websites from Wikimedia with the project of the free encyclopedia Wikipedia .

The proportion of user-generated content has risen sharply in recent years due to technical developments in the Internet. Falling prices for storage space, computer equipment and the increasing availability of broadband connections have contributed to this in particular.

Different expectations are associated with user-generated content. Some would like more diverse offers that don't just follow the mainstream . In business, e.g. B. in the media industry, one hopes to increase the number of users and thus sales and profits by integrating free generated content. In the meantime, companies are trying to develop viable business models based on UGC. So far, however, UGC platforms have in most cases still been a loss for their operators. The well-known video platform “ YouTube ” , for example, has an annual advertising income of $ 200 million compared to significantly higher traffic costs.

Some online projects lure their users with opportunities to earn additional income from the content they have created and published themselves . The approaches range from participation in advertising revenue to self-distribution of digital content in the form of an online marketplace or an author platform .

The increasing importance and public awareness of UGC can be seen, among other things, in the choice of TIME magazine as Person of the Year 2006. Instead of a significant individual, the editorial team chose “YOU”, i.e. every single user and private producer of content.

The example of Shitstorm shows that UGC now has great social power . Triggered by UGC, corporations such as Henkel and Nestlé suffered major damage to their image.

Business models

The possible business models with UGC are usually aimed at different focuses. These include the network effects , in which additional usage activity is achieved by additional users in the form of, for example, word of mouth . Ideally, the so-called “ critical mass ” must be achieved in the sense of successful marketing communication in order to generate benefits for users and companies. Typically around 10% to 20% of a brand's customers create 80% of the UGC through the brand. This phenomenon is known as the Pareto principle .

Reviews and recommendations of products are intended to increase sales in online shops . This is a business model operated, for example, by the company Bazaarvoice .

Furthermore, the lock-in effect plays an important role as a barrier to change for users due to high investments that have already been made (time, money, effort). One advantage of the monetary development of UGC is the low marginal costs. There are high first copy costs , but at the same time low reproduction costs due to the digital nature of all goods. Other business models include specializing in individual services or products in order to tap into niche markets based on precise or pointed target group and core business definitions. Understanding the new role of the customer (“from consumer to prosumer ”) is also part of the business models.

User-generated organization

In addition to user-generated production, there are now also user-based options for organizing and allocating content. Intermediate platforms such as , Technorati or delicious use the possibilities of taxonomy and folksonomy to attract streams of users and direct them to interesting content. The users determine the popularity of content (no more editors or link popularity algorithms - digital gatekeeper ) - the more popular is a content, the more prominent it is placed on the platforms ( English "user generated filtering" ). The assignment of popularity is based on interest-based and qualitative criteria.

See also


  • Christian Alexander Bauer: User Generated Content - Copyright Admissibility of User Generated Media Content, Munich 2011, Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-20067-0 (full text) .
  • Gabriele Hooffacker : Online journalism. Writing and designing for the internet. A Manual for Education and Practice. 3rd fully updated edition. Econ, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-430-20096-7 ( examples and current additions to the book )
  • Leif Krambeck: "Fate or Opportunity - The Relevance of User Generated Content for the News. A Discussion on the Future of Journalism", VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken, 2008, ISBN 978-3-639-07804-6 .
  • Philipp Sebastian Rogge: User-generated content as a source of revenue for media companies , working papers of the Institute for Broadcasting Economics, Issue 230, ISBN 978-3-938933-33-6 (full text)
  • Wolfgang Schweiger & Oliver Quiring: User-generated content on mass media websites - a variety of interactivity or something completely different? In: Friedrichsen, Mike; Mühl-Benninghaus, Wolfgang; Schweiger, Wolfgang (Ed.): New technology, new media, new society? Economic challenges of online communication. Munich, Fischer, 2007, pp. 97-120, ISBN 978-3-88927-416-8 .
  • Patrick Weber: News Factors & User Generated Content: The importance of news factors for commenting on political reporting on news websites. Media & Communication Studies, 2012, 60 (2), 218–239. ( [1] )

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Meeyoung Cha, Haewoon Kwak, Pablo Rodriguez, Yong-Yeol Ahn, and Sue Moon: Analyzing the Video Popularity of Characteristics of Large-Scale User Generated Content Systems. In: IEEE / ACM TRANSACTIONS ON NETWORKING, VOL. 17, NO. 5 ,. October 2009, accessed on May 25, 2017 .