The holiday season is a busy time on all fronts and moderation might not seem like a top priority. It is, however, a time when many first time users are likely to test out your, and your competitors’ sites. As such it’s important to keep the quality of your content high and ensure a great first time experience. Planning your moderation efforts in advance is crucial to making everything flow smoothly.
There are 3 key areas to keep in mind when preparing your moderation team and tools for the holidays; staffing, scams and solving the aftermath. We will go through each, one by one, explain what you need to consider and share best practices so that you can ensure you’re well prepared.
Staffing and Volume Management
It may come as a surprise to some, but in the world of online marketplaces, the holiday season starts already in October. Every year in October and November we experience an 18% increase in staffing needs compared to the numbers for the least busy month.
This is due to increased traffic and volumes generated by genuine users and scammers alike. Obviously, spikes in volumes mean an intensified need for moderation.
Depending on your moderation setup you might have several buttons you can push to prepare for this.
If you’re making use of manual moderation, make sure to adjust your staffing levels and plan scheduling according to the predicted volume flow. If you’re outsourcing, confirm that your partner is aware of the likely volume increase and have a forecast ready so that you can manage the scheduling requirements together.
If you’re using an automation tool as part of your moderation setup (and you should be), you might want to look at automation levels and increase them to cope with the expected spike in volumes.
We have previously shared more tips on how to manage the holiday volume spike.
3 tips to safely manage the holiday season scam spike
Communicate Likely Hot Scam Objects to Your Team
During the holiday season, not only happy shoppers come out in force. Scammers know that there‘s more activity on online marketplaces during this period and that there is a higher ratio of first time users, inexperienced with shopping online. Perfect conditions for scammers to operate under in other words.
In 2012, Scammers conned UK shoppers out of more than £12m, which is likely to be a lot higher in 2016 as the number of online shoppers has increased greatly in the 4 years since the study.
To protect your users, it’s important to train your team and update your algorithms so they know exactly what to be on high alert for.
While the framework of the scams stays pretty much the same from year to year, the specific products scammers are targeting change according to the “hot gift of the year”.
Here are a few products we predict scammers will be targeting in 2016:
Mobile phones – specifically iPhone 7
Consoles – specifically PlayStation 4, but possibly also Xbox One
Holiday rentals (more on how to spot them here)
Holiday vacation trips
Keep in mind that scammers will be quick to exploit artificial scarcity and often advertise sold out products to catch desperate holiday shoppers in their nets of fraud. As such be extra attentive with any items that are in high demand.
Learn how to moderate without censoring
Why moderating content without censoring users demands consistent, transparent policies.
Preparing for the Post-Holiday Aftermath
If you think you can relax after the 25thof December, you’re wrong! While volumes will average out, there are still plenty of challenges to deal with after the actual holiday season. In January users will flock to your site to sell unwanted gifts while simultaneously looking for the things they actually wished for. As such you need to make sure schedules remain on point and that you keep your automation levels in the right place.
After the holidays you will likely see a lot of first time users, so it’s advisable to spend a little extra money on moderation to ensure that their first encounters welcome them with high quality content and a safe shopping environment.
In the Spirit of Giving, Gift Your Users Safety
October to December is high season for buyers and sellers all over the world, and online marketplaces are no exception. Make sure you plan well in advance, staff up, tune your algorithms and have your expert teams extra alert to quickly identify this year’s top scam targets. In the end a safe shopping environment is the best holiday present you can give your users.
Find out what other specific dates scammers like to target with our scam awareness calendar.
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