Industry responsibility of online escape room directories
Despite the fact that the escape room market is not yet of full age, it can be said that it has already passed the phase of growing up. One of the elements of its development were various attempts at "cataloging". After a few years, we live in a world of a few successful projects and many "zombie" sites, which are scary in their appearance and database.
It's worth talking about the responsibility of Internet creations that aim at providing information about the escape room market.
A little history
It is assumed that the prototype of all escape room databases is Escape Room Directory (http://escaperoomdirectory.com/). Currently, we can find their links to local databases of rooms. And looking through the addresses given there and quickly we can see a huge number of sites that have been created on this topic. But the second thing that immediately strikes us is how many of them are no longer working, or you can see that they are not updated or administered.
As soon as the escape room market developed in a country, attempts were made to collect information on the subject. Some of them were made out of passion and some out of a desire to make money in the newly created industry. As a result of these actions, the Internet is now a graveyard of such projects. Those who failed, those who lacked patience or funds to conduct activities. This causes many problems...
What is the problem?
I've noticed a growing problem of an information dump being created around escape rooms. There is nothing wrong with the fact that there are many catalogs of escape rooms. What's worse is that many of them have outdated data and simply steal the work of escape room companies. If we want to run such a service we should be aware of the responsibility that lies behind it. The problems I see are:
- First of all, the information on our website can be accessed by a person unaware of the fact that the news is outdated and can be misled.
- The owner of the escape room loses control over the image of his company. While adding information about a company to the directory is not punishable, making it impossible to remove this data or update it is unethical and very problematic.
- It often happens that content on such sites are copies of content from escape rooms sites and photos presenting the offer are stolen without asking permission. This causes legal problems but also problems with SEO.
- With a large number of such sites, finding valuable information in search engines is difficult - it's hard to tell at first glance if the project is credible.
What is the reason behind it?
It's quite easy to come up with the idea of making another catalog of escape rooms that will revolutionize the market. Building MVP of such a project is also relatively easy. Filling it with content isn't particularly difficult either. The stairs start only when the project has to be maintained and developed. It is especially difficult when for the first few months we don't see a large number of visits and nothing happens on the project's social media. With time, the founder of such a project loses his enthusiasm and abandons the project. There is nothing wrong with it if the abandonment is followed by the deletion - but usually, it does not happen. This is when all the problems described above arise.
I am to blame
I am a co-founder of one such project. I remember that moment of inventing and creating. The moment when first opinions about our portal appeared and the moment when we came up with an idea to conquer the world. After conquering the world the idea of creating escape room bases in other countries followed. At one point we woke up with a database that had over 10 000 rooms that we were not able to keep up to date. Of course, we have a panel to manage our business cards for escape room owners. However, I assume that when the owner gets information about another website that added his card he doesn't even open and read this email anymore. Maintaining the database is expensive and laborious. For some time we didn't care about it, but now I know that it was irresponsible.
So we started to clean up and update the database every few months. However, there was one country that was too big for us. The United States. We decided in the last few days to delete this database. We don't want anyone to come across dead data. Additionally, we respect the work of escape room owners very much and we don't want to add to their worries. Despite the fact that the initial construction of this database was expensive, we are removing it and don't want to come back to it at the moment. I'm also sorry if the outdated data caused someone problems.
More escape room projects will be created. Maybe even in bigger numbers than so far because there is more and more money on the escape room market. I'm very happy that the market is developing. However, I appeal to developers to do it responsibly and respect the work of escape room owners. At the same time, I would like to thank those who do that - you do a great job.
As a part of Escape Buzz, we have gathered a list of escape room catalog projects which in our opinion are valuable and worthy of trust and attention. Feel free to browse them at this address here. >> https://escape.buzz/database/marketplace