So you have a product, or you’re developing one, leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Great! Would you rather spend time designing and developing your product – and business – or start your mornings reviewing inappropriate content? 

That’s a somewhat leading question.

An illustration displaying the various layers of content moderation

As a startup, it’s important to focus on your core idea, product development, and design to create a successful product. Those efforts will set your product apart from the competition and make it successful. However, many distractions and clutter can take your focus away from what you need to do to what you feel you must do.

The expression ‘hire your weakness’ means to double down on your strengths while leveraging the benefit of others’ expertise. In some cases, you hire marketing and customer support. In others, you want to outsource, like accounting or content moderation. By outsourcing these tasks, you can free up your time to focus on product development and design.

5 tips for early days development

  1. Set rules: Your content will only be as good as the rules you set up as a business. What type of content do you want to allow, and what don’t you like? Set these rules early and put them clearly in your Terms of Service. Your users will have a much better experience if everyone obeys the house rules.
  2. Be proactive: Be clear about your standards and expectations for content posted on your site or apps. Start moderating content from the get-go and set the tone for what is and isn’t acceptable. Being reactive is much more complicated, and you will only try to catch up.
  3. Be transparent: If users see that you’re being proactive about moderation, they’ll be more likely to trust the process and feel comfortable submitting their own content. Use user-generated content to improve your product and reach new customers. Take feedback seriously, use it to inform your marketing strategy, and always look for ways to turn negative experiences into positive ones.
  4. Be smart and nice: Comedian Jimmy Carr said on Mike Birbiglia’s podcast Working It Out, “Never tell a joke if you gotta look around before telling it.” The same applies to apps and websites; if you need to take a quick look around and say, “it’s just us here – look at what is on this website I run,” that’s an indicator you’ve been neither smart nor nice.
  5. Ask for help: Hiring your weakness also means asking for help when needed. When developing a product, there’s no shame in not being the best accountant or lawyer in the world. You ask for help. The same goes for content moderation. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn from an email or a phone call with an expert.

“Never tell a joke if you gotta look around before telling it.”

— Jimmy Carr

5 reasons why you should outsource content moderation

There are several ways to outsource content moderation for your startup. We are, of course, somewhat biased on the matter *ahem* but here are five tips on outsourcing content moderation for your startup. 

  1. The cost is cheaper: When you outsource content moderation, you only pay for the service itself. There are no additional costs, such as advertising or hiring a full-time moderator. Doing this in-house would require your staff to work around the clock to keep up with everything, and you also have to consider all the languages they need to speak. And the time zones they need to cover during their shifts.
  2. It’s faster and more efficient: An outsourced and automated content moderation can handle a large volume of content quickly and efficiently. The best content moderators will ensure you get that hybrid solution where a human touch is needed. How are you supposed to know the difference between bullying and banter? And how do you train your staff to understand leet speak? Besedo uses Natural Language Processes, and our filters can detect millions of variations for each unwanted word.
  3. The quality is higher: A hybrid model with automation and manual moderation is the only way to ensure the highest possible quality. AI is scalable, hard to deceive, and has high automation levels. Combine that with filters, a control panel, and manual moderation with extremely high accuracy. Manual moderators will also understand the context, something an AI might only sometimes understand.
  4. You don’t have to worry about it: Doing content moderation in-house can be a logistical nightmare. But when you outsource content moderation, you don’t have to plan for holidays, sick leave, vacations, overtime, etc. 
  5. It’s a good investment: Outsourcing content moderation allows businesses to regulate all posts, comments, and reviews that users post on the company’s website. This includes websites, apps, and other digital platforms where fake reviews, NSFW material, and disinformation are rampant. Monitoring scams and threats is a time-consuming process that requires constant attention.

The consequences of harmful user-generated content

Harmful user-generated content can have several consequences for your startup. First and foremost, it can damage your brand reputation. Users posting negative comments or reviews about your product or service can dissuade other potential customers from using your business. Harmful user-generated content can also lead to decreased traffic and engagement on your website or social media platforms. Suppose users constantly see negative content about your company. In that case, they may be less likely to return to your site or interact with your brand online. 

Finally, harmful user-generated content will damage your relationship with the people who generate it. No one wants to see trolls run rampant in the commentary section or constantly see inappropriate content uploaded to a platform they generally like. They may become frustrated and stop submitting if you’re continually letting others destroy a platform they are investing their time and effort into helping grow. Strike a balance between giving users a platform to share their thoughts and maintaining the quality of your site.

You can also download our checklist “Set up your content moderation operations in 6 simple steps” for marketplaces. That’s an excellent start. We’d love to hear what your biggest challenges are right now.