As part of our ongoing efforts to help our clients manage the challenges of user-generated content to improve the customer experience on their platforms, Besedo has recently hired Otis Burris as VP of Partnership.

The goal is to build a vast network of quality-driven companies who all strive to add value to online platforms through tech or expertise.

Interviewer: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Otis: I recently joined Besedo, back in November 2019. I have a long working history in technology solution sales & partnerships – helping to drive client efficiencies, and transition from the traditional ways of working that may be a little less tech-driven, towards more innovative solutions.

From SaaS to PaaS, I have worked with early mobile application platforms long before the “mobile-first” approach, and with digital innovations in online services and AI solutions. Now I’m at Besedo and very excited about both the mission and the approach, which is combining technology with specialized knowledge to help platforms keep their users safe.

Interviewer: Tell us a bit about yourself. How does Besedo help protect and improve users’ online experiences?

Otis: Besedo has made its name by being skilled at detecting and preventing improper or inappropriate behavior online. Many companies rightly put a lot of effort into making sure only “good” users get access to their platform. But what happens when “good” users misbehave?

Besedo provides the technology and expertise needed to monitor and control this behavior and ensure that users are not abusing the platform policies or creating a negative experience for everyone else.

Fraudsters, scammers and predators are always evolving, and it’s difficult for many companies to keep up if Content Moderation is not their core business. Our goal has always been to stay ahead of the next creative idea in scams and frauds or outright abuse, bullying and even grooming to protect all users.

Besedo focuses heavily on content moderation, and as such, we’re able to deliver very high quality and focused service to our clients.

Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards?

Otis: Besedo has predominantly worked with online marketplaces, and we have a strong history of delivering to classifieds online marketplaces.

But UGC occurs in many other places and our moderation knowledge can be transferred and applied to most digital platforms. We now moderate dating site profiles and support a lot of the up and coming sharing economy platforms. And then there are online communities where content is continuously shared in a variety of channels making content moderation a must.

Interviewer: Why is Besedo launching a partnership program?

Otis: Our clients and their user’s journey start long before the user becomes active on the platform, runs as long as they participate on the site and extends even after they leave.

From onboarding to payments, or customer support and reviews, there is a set of activities that are complementary to a successful experience. To deliver a high-level of satisfaction to all users, several components need to work seamlessly. Our goal is to connect those pieces into a single flow that enhances the overall perception of the client’s platform and that’s where we need partners.

Building a reliable eco-system of partners creates value for all participants. The end result is an offering that attracts more users, increases engagement and reduces churn.

In short, we’re trying to create a one-stop-shop where platforms can go to pick from a portfolio of services that can help them improve their user experience.

Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards? What kind of partnerships is Besedo seeking?

Otis: There are four main types of partners that we believe will help us deliver a high-quality offering to the online experience, either driven by our partners or by us.

Technology partners can be complementary when reviewing clients’ onboarding journeys.

Service partners are critical to scaling or supporting spikes during periods of heavy or unpredictable traffic – a great example is Covid-19 keeping people at home, with more time on their hands to create online content and complaints.

Our System Integration partners who are great at delivering complete IT solution projects on a significant scale are sometimes lacking the competence in certain niche areas (content moderation for example), which are outside their core deliveries. Besedo’s history and standing in the content moderation industry, makes them a credible partner for those large projects, particularly because we can deliver on a global scale in a range of languages.

Last but not least, are our Industry advocates, who are not only working continuously to educate and evangelize the different industries on the do’s and don’ts of Content Moderation but also to share the latest challenges, ideas, and innovations that can help companies stay ahead of fraudsters, scammers and other online predators.

Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards? Who should partner with us?

Otis: User Verification companies – They cover the first hurdle. They are the bouncers at the doors who ensure good users arrive on the platform. We then monitor the user’s behaviors once they arrive. Consider us the surveillance and alert team that can remove any negative or harmful elements that managed to get past the first stage.

Payment Solutions – They complete the behavioral transactions and add value to the endpoint conversion cycle and provide essential attributes that can be tagged to user behavior.

Service providers / BPOs – Often, they utilize their client’s systems which are typically not purpose-built. Partnering with us allows service providers to introduce solutions to their clients for higher efficiency and greater control of the QA process. Earn credibility by improving the client’s capabilities. As well as helping us to scale when there is a sudden spike in demand for our services.

Industry Advocates & Marketing Events help us to stay connected with our eco-system and provide opportunities to discover new trends and technologies occurring in the space.

Finally, since starting this role, I’ve had a lot of conversations I struggle to classify, but they often have exciting technology or approaches that we can leverage. Having a partner space allows those types of companies to reach out to us as well with their proposal on how we can collaborate.

Interviewer: How can partnering with Besedo help your business?

Otis: Partnering with Besedo can benefit your business in several ways.

It’s a great way to reduce the risks to your clients and deliver an improved user experience at a higher value since, with our combined capabilities, we’ll cover more ground.

If content moderation is not your core business, partnering with us will help build competence and trust in your content moderation delivery projects in a scalable way.

Once you earn credibility within the Besedo eco-system, it will open more opportunities and new revenue streams.

You will gain access to industry-leading moderation expertise in multiple languages built on 18 years of experience. We’re happy to share our knowledge so you can succeed.

Finally, Besedo are friendly towards our partners in the commercial sense. We are happy to aggressively share revenue, especially when it comes to new business or existing business where you’ve proven your ability to add value.

We’re very keen on improving ourselves, both from a tech and service standpoint. Any partner, any organization, any technology that can deliver results, we’d like to make sure you’re rewarded for that. So please reach out if you feel your goals align with ours.

Learn how to moderate without censoring

Why moderating content without censoring users demands consistent, transparent policies.

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Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards? What are the options for partnering with us?

Otis: It depends on the approach of your company, but here are a couple of possible setups:

Partners can be set up as a revenue share which is based on how active the partner is in the discovery, development and delivery of the opportunity we collaborate on.

You work as a referral partner, where you identify an opportunity, but Besedo does all the meetings, and so on. That’ll be considered a referral. There’ll be a referral bonus there that can be standardized.

If you look at a reseller scenario, you will have some training on Besedo’s platform Implio, so you can demo it and handle the sales process upfront and we’ll support you in the background. That will warrant a bigger bonus since you as the partner is taking on more of the work.

Typically, partners who are more involved in the process earn a larger share of the revenue.

We also want to include consulting and marketing partners. For marketing collaboration, we’d usually not have a monetary exchange. Instead, we’ll work with blog exchange and other types of content or campaign collaboration. Cost-saving, increased reach and exposure are just some of the benefits to gain from presenting us to the market with a unified front.

Interviewer: How can partnerships bring value to companies for a safer internet?

Otis: If you go alone you can go faster; if you go together, you can go further. If Besedo tries to make the Internet safer alone, we’re not going be able to do it all. As I mentioned our user verification partners, they do a great job of KYC (know your customers). They do a lot of homework before the user gets on the platform. That’s a critical step. But their software doesn’t extend onto the platform in the way Besedos does. So, we have to do a good job as well to add to the safety stack, and the same thing goes for the payment solutions, delivery services and so on. There’s a dependency on each solution to be of high quality. And if one is missing or of questionable quality, the safety of your platform decreases significantly.

Data sharing is another area where partnerships can help improve Internet safety.

In the age of data regulation – GDPR, Patriot Acts & other local privacy requirements – it’s becoming harder to leverage or share datasets across platforms or continents. This means that we’re missing out on valuable knowledge and insights that could be used to catch bad actors faster.

Partnerships allow companies to benefit from the complementary expertise of each company, without the partners exposing their core secrets or data insights, and user data. If we can work together to create a safer internet, we will together attract more users to the eco-system, simply because they feel safe.

It’s human nature – more people fly than ever before because planes crash less. The same goes for online users. Fewer bad experiences will attract more users, which in turn increases the revenue opportunities for all members of the eco-system.

Interviewer: I want to partner with Besedo. What’s the next step?

Otis: Reach out to me directly, I’m the VP of Partnerships and I’m always interested in hearing ideas on how we can collaborate. otis.burris@besedo.com

You can also fill in the form on our partner page. Add as much info as you can and I’ll be in touch to schedule a call.

And of course, grab us when you see us at any of the many industry events we attend. We’re always happy to have a chat about potential partnerships.

Interviewer: Any final thoughts thoughts you’d like to share?

Otis: It’s exciting times! New platforms are popping up everywhere. Content moderation is such a relevant space. It touches everyone, from parents to kids. Everyone is consuming content. Everyone is on a platform doing something, and they need to be protected. I don’t think we can be in a more relevant space at this time.

I’m really excited about Besedo having such a vast amount of experience and now taking it one step further by adding partnerships and technology to improve the solution moving forward.

I’m looking forward to having a lot of great conversations with potential partners.

This is Besedo

Global, full-service leader in content moderation

We provide automated and manual moderation for online marketplaces, online dating, sharing economy, gaming, communities and social media.

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It might sound obvious, but there’s a direct correlation between online marketplace trust and conversion rates.

It’s not hard to see why – after all, people do business with those they know, like, and relate to. But how, as an online marketplace owner, can you establish, build, and maintain user trust?

Let’s take a closer look at the nature of trust online, how it helps improve conversions within online marketplaces and classified sites, and how these businesses can increase user trust.

Defining trust for Online Marketplaces

Trust is complex. It’s part-rational and part-emotional. It’s something that can be earned, lost, reinforced, and rebuilt. It’s an enabler; an empowering force. It’s also tough to define; so let’s be clear about what trust means in relation to online marketplaces and classified sites.

Respected economist, author, and online trust expert, Rachel Botsman, put forward the idea – in one of her TED Talks – that technology and the sharing economy encourages us to place an enormous amount of trust in complete strangers and marketplaces.

While on the surface this may sound counter-intuitive, her assertion that humans constantly take ‘trust leaps’ in the digital world is persuasive. In order to take these leaps, Botsman argues, we need certain reassurances – which is where her concept of a Trust Stackcomes into play (watch our webinar for more on this).

There are three parts at work in Botsman’s Trust Stack: trust in an idea; trust in a platform; and trust in the other user. Now, it’s easy to presume that online marketplace owners should just be concerned with the second point. However, all three are equally important:

Ultimately, all three of these layers can be addressed by marketplaces and classified sites – and need to be aligned in order to establish this complete Trust Stack.

But, this is easier said than done when your business operates across multiple countries, has listings in various languages, and has a business model that’s reliant on user-generated content from a myriad of users.

However, there are numerous proactive steps that marketplaces can take to ‘trustproof’ the way they do business – which we’ll now consider.

Building a better basis for Marketplace Trust

Building a solid trust foundation for an online marketplace or classified site involves addressing the entire user experience. Some aspects are more obvious than others, so let’s begin with the most evident.

Payment Security

This is probably what springs to mind immediately when the idea of ‘online trust’ is mentioned, and it is an important consideration. But it’s not just a question of choosing a reputable third party payment partner.

Payment preferences differ across national borders. Digital wallets, credit and debit cards, and cash on delivery are among the many different payment types used by a variety of marketplaces. Providing the secure payment option that your user base feels most comfortable with is a great trust builder – and plays into the wider user experience (more on that below).

Ease of payment is also just as important where trust is concerned. According to a survey, some 70% of users abandon their online shopping carts, and over a quarter (26%) do so because of complicated payment processes – directly affecting marketplace conversion rates negatively.

Learn how to moderate without censoring

Why moderating content without censoring users demands consistent, transparent policies.

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Policies & Guarantees

Most marketplace users won’t read the small print or the terms and conditions you set. But that doesn’t mean they can be neglected. When something goes wrong, users will immediately start looking to find out where they stand – so make sure your Service Level Agreements, moneyback guarantees, and data privacy policies are clearly labeled.

From a trust perspective, offering total transparency on consumer rights is very important. For example, guarantees – like eBay’s money-back policy – give customers the confidence to purchase on your marketplace; like a safety net.

Another great example is online shoe retailer, Zappos, which offers a no questions asked returns policy – for unused items – up to a year after purchase. This (and other aspects of Zappos’ exemplary customer service) has become something of a ‘feather in the cap’ for the business. Putting the customer first is a key component of building a solid trust foundation.

User Experience

User experience – or UX as it’s more commonly known – might be a bit of a technology buzzword at the moment, but for a very good reason. Ensuring that users easily and safely can find the information, products, and services they’re searching for has to be a priority for any marketplace owner.

Everything from the way a marketplace is designed, the content, the icons deployed, and the ease of navigation from one page to the next should be considered core parts of a site’s overall user experience too.

But how does UX relate to trust? Thinking back to Botsman’s Trust Stack, accessibility, user-friendliness, and online safety are crucial components in both the first (trust in the idea) and second (trust in the platform) layers.

Overall, UX is about reassuring users that they’ve made the right decision – at every point in their journey. Any UX action that enhances user trust helps smoothen the user journey towards conversion.

Content Moderation

Safety and security doesn’t just mean making sure the right payment processes are in place. Sure, money is a huge part of the security equation; but even more important is ensuring users aren’t subjected to fraudulent, criminal, or unwanted sexual, racist, hatred, or violent content on your online marketplace.

Sadly, scams are all too prevalent online (see our previous blog): from catfishing to identity theft; as well as fake ads selling everything from high-value items at low prices, to seasoned classifieds scammers posting genuine ads in bulk to disguise fake ones.

This is where a clear content moderation policy and strategy can pay dividends. For example, setting clear rules for what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ content look like on your platform is a great place to start – and that information should always be clearly communicated to your users.

In addition to preventing criminal activities and inappropriate material, content moderation is also crucial for ensuring overall site hygiene. For example, it’s important to ensure that listings are placed in the correct category and that imagery used accurately reflects the descriptions given. In a study on classifieds listings we conducted a few years ago, we discovered that on average 15% of the listings are posted in the wrong category every month.

Similarly, employing dedicated moderators to ensure consistency and identify anomalies is now standard practice for many online marketplace owners. However, when the scale of UGC becomes too much for a manual moderation team to manage alone, there are moderation technologies out there (like ours!) that use AI and machine learning to moderate and approve content. By implementing automated moderation, be it filters or AI moderation, from the very beginning, your marketplace is equipped to handle the increased volumes as you grow.

Marketplace Trust & Conversions

As you have discovered; a great deal needs to be addressed in order to get trust right. That’s why it’s important to keep the end result in mind: creating safe online experiences that increases conversions and sales. But what overall impact does trust have on a marketplace’s success?

Again, looking at our user study on classifieds, several key stats give us an indication:

As mentioned above, anomalies don’t play out well from a trust perspective. They not only cause confusion, but they also demonstrate to users that a site isn’t what it claims it is which can diminish their trust levels.

We also discovered that:

In a similar way, a lack of clarity in the listing itself does little to inspire buyer confidence. However, the most telling stat from our study nicely summarizes the link between trust and conversions:

It stands to reason that you can do a great deal to ensure your marketplace works well, is fast, reliable, and well-designed. You could also spend hours perfecting your UX, onboarding the right payment partners, and ensuring your customer service is top-notch. But if your site doesn’t exercise enough caution from a fraudulent and poor content perspective, the trust foundations you’ve worked so hard to build can quickly crumble.

This is the risk you take when the majority of your sales activity is driven by peer-to-peer interactions and user-generated content (UGC). It’s a delicate balance and can be tricky to get right. But done correctly, online marketplaces can propel their businesses to huge success.

However – it’s always worth remembering that while trust can take a long time to build, it can be lost incredibly quickly.

Want to find out more about building trust in your online marketplace? Take a closer look at our Trust Stack Checklist’. If you have any queries about online safety and content moderation, please get in touch with our team.

This is Besedo

Global, full-service leader in content moderation

We provide automated and manual moderation for online marketplaces, online dating, sharing economy, gaming, communities and social media.

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