The rise in the popularity of urban exploration can be attributed to its increased media attention. Recent television shows, such as "Urban Explorers" on the Discovery Channel, MTV's Fear, and the ghost hunting exploits of The Atlantic Paranormal Society have packaged the hobby for a popular audience. Talks and exhibits on urban exploration have appeared at the 5th and 6th Hackers on Planet Earth Conference, complementing numerous newspaper articles and interviews. With the advent rise in the relative popularity of the hobby due to this increased focus, there has been increasing discussion on whether the extra attention has been beneficial to urban exploration as a whole.

In that regard, some explorers have become wary of posting information and photographs on UE-related websites for fear of being prosecuted for trespassing. Recently there has been a conflict of interest between explorers about this issue. Additionally, arguments focus on whether online listings of explorable structures undermine the "underground" aspect of urban exploration.