Find out which online marketplaces are the biggest in various countries, categories, and much more in our definitive list of marketplaces worldwide.

There are obviously various advantages of selling products on the best-rated marketplaces as a seller. With so many visitors, Amazon has significant benefits as an online market when you choose to sell on the internet. One of the biggest reasons you should trade in online markets is the established audience. Suppose you are a seller who is just getting started selling online. In that case, marketplaces can be a fantastic way to earn some income and establish your brand while working on driving traffic to a new e-commerce site.

Just how big are the biggest marketplaces in the world?

What is an online marketplace?

First of all, we need to understand what defines an online marketplace. It boils down to two key features:

  1. Sellers and buyers are trading through the same website (or app).
  2. The buyer can complete their purchase on the website (or app).

This excludes price comparison sites like PriceRunner or Google Shopping. They are essentially advertising channels rather than online marketplaces.

The buyers are mainly consumers, not businesses. The marketplace sells physical products, not just downloads, streaming, or other services.

We start with approximately 200 marketplaces with more than one million visits per month. Then we look at the most popular product categories and the break-out stats for a few countries.

In short, we are looking at actual online marketplaces where you can sell physical products to consumers.

The world’s top online marketplaces

#NameCategoryVisits/month
1AmazonGeneral4.81B
2eBayGeneral1.18B
3RakutenGeneral542.7M
4Marcado LibreGeneral511.8M
5ZalandoFashion420.0M
6ShopeeGeneral415.7M
7AliExpressGeneral390.9M
8WalmartGeneral387.3M
9EtsyArts, Craft & Gifts373.2M
10TaobaoGeneral277.9M
11WildberriesGeneral232.7M
12TrendyolGeneral222.1M
13AllegroGeneral189.5M
14FlipkartGeneral186.9M
15PinduoduoGeneral183.8M
16TargetGeneral165.9M
17JDGeneral164.7M
18OzunGeneral164.5M
19TokopediaGeneral158.8M
20MercariGeneral132.6M
21OlxGeneral102.1M
22TmallGeneral113M
23WayfairHomewares98.98M
24AmericanasGeneral97.67M
25AlibabaGeneral90.76M

Estimated monthly visits for April 2022, from SimilarWeb. Traffic to different domains (e.g., amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, etc.) is combined.

All these marketplaces sell goods under a general category, and all except one (Amazon) are pure marketplaces without any retail operations of their own. All these marketplaces sell general goods except Zalando, Etsy, and Wayfair

“Wayfair and Amazon account for 63% of furniture sales online”

Only Amazon and eBay break the one billion visits mark. However, Rakuten and Mercado Libre aren’t too far behind, with over 500 million per month. And Zalando is hot on their heels with 420 million visits per month.

The most well-known retailer to have its marketplace is Amazon, with more than 50% of sales now made through Marketplace sellers. In addition, the biggest players in online furniture marketplaces, Wayfair and Amazon, account for 63% of furniture sales online. 

US-based e-commerce giant Amazon, the top-ranked e-commerce company worldwide by market capitalization, is the third-largest online furniture market. Amazon.com is the most visited e-commerce marketplace, with an average of over 2.3 billion visits per month.

If you merge the visits to the biggest Amazon domains, the visits are almost 5 billion per month.

It is not surprising to see Amazon and eBay among the top three; eBay receives 1.2 billion visits per month. Suppose you add up Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. In that case, you are looking at 500 million+ monthly active visitors, which is an enormous amount of real estate on the internet. 

How did the pandemic change our online adoption rate?

According to a study by McKinsey, COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point–and transformed business forever. Digital adoption has taken a quantum leap at both the organizational and industry levels. Of course, this affects our consumer behavior on marketplaces all over the world.

Graph with illustration of leap in digitization

Markets in Europe

The most popular market in Europe is Amazon, which gets 1.6B visits per month. At the same time, eBay receives less than half that traffic, at 634M visits.

Another American-based, general-purpose global marketplace, eBay, received 255 million monthly visits in the United Kingdom.

With these impressive numbers, eBay is the only marketplace that comes anywhere near matching Amazon’s numbers in the UK for visitors. 

Amazon is the largest market in the US, with over 300 million customers on Amazon, 100 million of whom are Prime members. The best-known online marketplace is also Amazon, thanks to Amazon’s strong delivery and fulfillment capabilities and its seamless shopping experience. 

Walmart offers various categories of products that draw large volumes of visitors every month, making it one of the leading online markets in 2022. 

Since the rise of the titans such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba, brands have been racing to thrive, compete, or get beat in the online markets. Companies like Walmart added marketplaces to their existing retailers’ websites, giving shoppers more choice in products while creating price competition among sellers. Of these major online markets, three are in China, and two are based in the U.S., the two biggest drivers of e-commerce sales growth.

The same is true for the sales from online retailers, which are expected to also increase significantly over the next few years. 

There are also niche online markets such as Bonanza and Fruugo and Hollar, fashion-focused markets like Zalando and Fullbeauty, and deal-focused markets such as Tophatter and Tanga – the list goes on. 

European consumers are using the greatest number of different marketplaces – 63 have more than one million visits per month, generating more than 3.6 billion visits in total.

Let’s have a look in-depth at some categories.

Fashion online marketplaces

#NameCountry/RegionVisits/month
1ZalandoEurope420M
2SheinGlobal148.3M
3ASOSGlobal64.64M
4MyntraIndia53.46M
5ZozoJapan48.95M
6AjioIndia31.55M
7StockXGlobal30.51M
8VintedFrance29.81M
9DSWUSA24.97M
10FarfetchGlobal23.06M

Clothing and fashion are one of the most popular online marketplaces niches. Popularized by many influencers online, the fashion and clothing industry has really found its market on popular apps like TikTok and Instagram.

Fashion marketplaces are spread out worldwide, with Europe, USA, and India in the top-5 spots.

Electronics online marketplaces

#NameCountry/RegionVisits/month
1Bestbuy.comUSA, Canada46.46M
2Gearbest.comUSA, Canada52.33M
3Offerup.comUSA20.15M
4Newegg.comUSA, Canada13.25M
5Bhphotovideo.comGlobal12.56M
6G2A.comUSA, Canada10.18M
7Digitec.chSwitzerland9.34M
8Shutterfly.comUSA, Canada6.65M
9CDOnEurope5.78M
10Game.co.ukUK2.12M

A surprise inclusion on this list, for anyone outside of the USA, is probably Offerup in 3rd place on this list.

Electronics are typically commodities – easily available and extremely price-sensitive.

Travel and Tourism

Travel and tourism are irrelevant when we only look at physical goods. But just for comparison, we thought we’d have a look at the top 10. Booking.com is three times bigger than the runner-up Tripadvisor. Booking is also bigger than Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Expedia, Uber, and Jalan (positions 2–6) combined.

#NameCountry/RegionVisits/month
1Booking.comGlobal490.5M
2Tripadvisor.comGlobal148.1M
3Airbnb.comGlobal89.20M
4Expedia.comGlobal88.19M
5Uber.comGlobal75.85M
6Jalan.netJapan52.38M
7Hotels.comGlobal51.17M
8Agoda.comIndia48.68M
9Travelersdream.comUSA47.36M
10Vrbo.comUSA44.89M

“Booking is bigger than Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Expedia, Uber, and Jalan combined.”

Top online marketplaces by country and region

#RegionMarketplaces*Visits/month
1North America554.5B
2Europe694.1B
3East Asia192.7B
4Latin America191.5B
5Southeast Asia15820M

* Includes only marketplaces with more than one million visits per month.

North American consumers generate the most traffic to online marketplaces, with little more than 4.5 billion visits per month and more than 50 different marketplaces having one million or more visits each. 

Europe is the runner-up with the highest number of marketplaces with over one million monthly visits.

The third is East Asia, and that is primarily China and Japan, with an estimated 2.7 billion visits.

Online marketplaces by country

Breaking down the top online marketplaces by country. This is a little trickier because we can’t find data for many countries, so this is for the United States and the United Kingdom.

United States

#NameCategoryVisits/month
1AmazonGeneral1.46B
2ebayGeneral665.5M
3EtsyArts, Crafts & Gifts371.3M
4WalmartGeneral363.1M
5Target.comGeneral147.5M
6WayfairHomewares98M
7PoshmarkFashion42.3M
8BestbuyElectronics41.4M
9Samsclub.comGeneral35.8M
10OverstockGeneral23.8M

United Kingdom

#NameCategoryVisits/month
1AmazonGeneral350.1M
2eBayGeneral238.1M
3EtsyArts, Crafts & Gifts33.39M
4ASOSFashion19.6M
5JohnLewis.comGeneral16.74M
6veryFashion11.1M
7DiscogsMusic5.1M
8ManoManoHomewares4.6M
9DepopFashion3.1M
10HomebargainsHomewares2.3M

About the data

The lists are ranked by estimated website visits, based on SimilarWeb and Statista data for April 2022. Please note that traffic to different domains for the same marketplace (amazon.com, amazon.de, amazon.jp, etc.) has been combined. It’s regarded that Gross Merchandise Value might be an ideal measure of size, but that data is not available for most marketplaces.

Due to the lack of reliable traffic data from the sources, we have not included app-only marketplaces.

In parts one and two of this blog post series about the evolution of language, we talked about how moderating user-generated content (UGC) echoes how people communicate. And also how the rapid evolution of language online is now making that job harder.

In short: there’s nothing new about setting rules for acceptable speech, but we have to get faster about how we do it.

However, it’s also worth thinking about how online communication doesn’t just build on how offline communication works but offers something genuinely new and different. The fact that email was created to be a digital equivalent of postal mail, for example, is right there in the name – but today, email offers much more than the post ever could, from uniquely personalized content to embedded video.

Across the internet, there’s a wealth of communication options, ranging from adding simple emoji to broadcasting yourself live to millions of viewers, which don’t have a direct offline equivalent. In a way, of course, pointing this out is stating the obvious; those otherwise impossible options are, to a large extent, precisely why the internet is so powerful and popular.

Risk-reward?

And yet, from a business perspective, it would be easy to look at this UGC and see it as something quite similar to cybersecurity. Cyber attackers are often locked in a kind of arms race with security professionals, each trying to identify weaknesses first and develop more robust tactics than the other. Having a wide variety of options is also a range of potential ways to get around the policies that a platform might want to impose – whether it is stopping people from conducting business through other channels or monitoring for much graver abuse issues or hate speech.

Giving shoppers the power to post videos of products they purchase, for example, has clear benefits in building credibility. But, conversely, users can use that feature to publish irrelevant or even maliciously untrue content. Or, building reaction gifs into an online dating messaging platform might enrich conversations but could also be used as an avenue for guerilla marketing.

The sheer variety at play here marks a real difference from the offline reality of (mostly) speech and writing.

While these concerns are well-founded, thinking about this kind of UGC in these terms runs the risk of missing how vital it is as an engine of growth for online businesses: the perception of danger might cloud sight of the benefits.

The most successful moderation approaches are about enabling interactions as much as they are about blocking them; not an arms race, but teamwork.

New moderation for new communication

It’s becoming more widely understood that offering advice about, examples of, and benefits in return for positive behaviors on platforms is ultimately more effective than punishing negative behavior. This is something that research has shown, and it’s a method that large online platforms are increasingly turning to.

Here we might be looking at something fundamentally different from the long offline history of moderating speech, which has typically relied on limiting certain expressions and interactions.

When businesses make themselves open to users and customers communicating in richer ways, we think that the best approaches will focus on how moderation can empower users in ways that enable growth. An entirely conservative approach will only stifle the potential of audiences, customers, and users.

These new worlds of content will not be effectively moderated using tools and methods adopted to deal with purely text-based interactions. As users’ interactions become more complex, we will need human input to oversee and understand how those interactions are working.

Petter Nylander

CEO

Evolution of language, part two: flexing with the speed of conversation

Have you ever been overheard and misunderstood by a stranger? It’s not, thankfully, an everyday occurrence, but it is something that most of us have probably experienced at least once. Imagine you’re talking to a friend somewhere public, perhaps in a café or on public transport. Maybe the conversation turns to discussing a film you both like or joking about a recent political event. Suddenly, you realize that, a few meters away, someone has caught a few words midway through your chat, and doesn’t look at all happy about how you’re speaking.

Words don’t have to mean anything offensive in order to cause concern when taken out of their context – of being a fictional story, for instance, or an inside joke between friends. Language is always social, and seeing it from a different social vantage point can cause serious errors in interpretation.

The social question in content moderation

Being mistakenly overheard is a very small version of something which happens all the time on a much larger scale. Particularly in an age where cultural ideas spread virally, it’s not unusual for people to find it hard to keep up with what the conversations around them mean. For example, a new hit crime series on Netflix may leave someone confused, at least for a day or two, as to why they keep hearing people describing gruesome murders.

If this kind of event can temporarily wrong-foot human beings, though, it’s a much more persistent problem for content moderation systems. After all, while office worker can ask their colleagues what is going on, content moderation generally can’t directly ask the user what they mean, even when human moderators are involved. Automated systems, meanwhile, can maintain full awareness of anything happening on-platform – but often have little scope to understand that in terms of the wider world.

In one way, this situation is unsurprising: content moderation systems have evolved to meet specific business needs, such as protecting brand reputation, maintaining revenue, and protecting user safety, and the state of the art is extremely effective at achieving this. Tools from filter lists to machine learning are very powerful when the aim is to create clear boundaries for acceptable speech.

They are less well-suited, however, to these situations which can cause the greatest friction with users, when seemingly normal interactions are punished without any apparent explanation. No matter how well trained and refined a business’s content moderation is, a system focused on the platform will always have the potential to be surprised by the world-changing around it.

The cultural stakes of moderation

As user-generated content takes on an ever more central position in people’s daily lives, content moderation likewise takes on ever more responsibility to behave effectively, and the potential for disagreement between businesses and userbases grows ever more severe. In the extreme end, this can lead to international media attention on a system trying to deal with content it was not specifically designed for.

To put it another way, while protecting (for example) brand reputation may once have meant strictly enforcing rules for user interaction, expectations of user content are evolving and the demands on businesses that rely on user content are becoming more subtle. Automated moderation which doesn’t keep pace with cultural shifts, therefore, is becoming less palatable.

One consequence of this is that we still rely on humans to help decide which side of the line to err on in ambiguous situations. While they can’t directly address users, human moderators nonetheless outperform their machine colleagues when it comes to making subtle distinctions. This still leaves problems, however, of establishing large enough teams to cope with the volume of content and ensuring that the manual review process engages with the right content in the first place.

In the longer term, the expertise of the content moderation community will have to be seriously applied to thinking about how to help create healthier, more human conversations – not just limiting those which are clearly negative. We think that user-generated content presents a far greater opportunity for sustainable growth than it does a risk factor for brand damage; as we consult with our customers (and speak to you through blogs like this) we’re always keen to hear more about how the next, more subtle generation of content moderation tools might best be designed.

Petter Nylander

CEO

If you mention the word ‘forum’ to someone today, their immediate thought will, almost certainly, be of an internet forum, with its members discussing anything from astrophysics to finding cheap offers in supermarkets. It’s a way of using the internet which goes back to the network’s very earliest days: even before the World Wide Web, early adopters were talking and arguing through services like USENET. And, while much online conversation has moved to social media and other spaces, it’s fair to say that forums laid the groundwork for those platforms, establishing expectations about how online interaction operates.

In short, it’s easy to talk and think about forums without being conscious of the word’s original meaning: in the Roman Empire, a forum was the public space built at the center of every town or habitation. Established principally as a place for people to buy and sell goods, the forum also became the heart of Roman social life, as a place to meet, chat, and debate. Often, then, the modern idea of the Roman forum is one of the political and philosophical discussions – or, often, arguments.

Moderation through the ages

Just as behavior in a Roman forum would have been kept in check by social standards and peer pressure, early online forums relied on oversight from individual users with special privileges volunteering to maintain safety and civility.

Of course, the speed and scale of online conversation soon outstripped individuals’ abilities to keep up, and more formal solutions had to be found. Professional moderation teams are now common, and meeting the challenge also necessitated moves towards automated moderation, first in the form of word filters and more recently with AI-based approaches; an always-on solution to an always-on problem.

What, though, does it mean to be always-on for online speech? These systems don’t just need to oversee speech; they also need to adapt and learn in order to keep pace with the way which language (especially on the internet) is adapted and evolved. ‘Forum’, after all, is not the only word that has had its meaning changed by the digital age: one of the remarkable things about the internet is the speed at which it generates both new words and new meanings for old words.

The crux of this problem lies in the fact that, while automated digital systems tend toward categorizing the world into neat boxes, such as ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ speech, language itself is fundamentally ambiguous.

The dictionary definition of the word ‘dead’, for instance, would make it a fairly unambiguously negative piece of speech. Posted as a reply under a joke, however, it (or a skull emoji) would actually signify an exaggerated way of saying that the user found it hilarious. This kind of ambiguity is rife, too, in online gaming, where ‘gg’, meaning ‘good game’, is used as a virtual handshake with one’s opponent. After a particularly one-sided match, however, saying ‘gg’ might actually be deeply antagonistic behavior.

While these are relatively light examples, the same pattern can be found in the darkest areas of online speech, where hate groups who are aware of the attempts that content moderators will make to keep them out of communities will frequently change how their language is coded to disguise their intent.

The next frontier

All of this is coming in the context of a level of activity that, across the internet, amounts to billions or trillions of interactions a day. In these kinds of edge cases, the content being posted can be too new and variable for AI-powered solutions to respond to, and too voluminous for human operators to keep up with.

This is something which, as we look to a healthier future for content and content moderation, the industry as a whole will need to work on and take seriously. Historically, businesses have tended towards being over-cautious, preferring to accidentally block safe speech than accidentally allow unsafe speech. However, the tide is turning on this route, and we think the next frontier for content moderation will be to take a consultative approach toward more subtle solutions.

As we talk to customers, we’re always keen to learn more about how their users use language, where it slips through the cracks of the systems we’re building, and what kind of insight they would need in order to manage user interactions more effectively – and if you’d like to join the conversation, we’d love to hear from you too.

In the meantime, the most effective approaches will draw on the full content moderation toolbox, applying word filters, AI oversight, and human intervention where their respective strengths are most impactful. As we do so, we are building the insight, expertise, and experience which will deliver an approach to content moderation that is fully alive to how language evolves.

Petter Nylander

CEO

So, as another year draws down and a new one dawns, it’s again that time when we reflect on what happens – and take a moment to think about what the future holds. Living in these disrupted, dramatic times, though, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees: with so much going on, and so much uncertainty about what it all means, we might feel like it’s a tougher job than usual to take stock this year.

In the case of content moderation, for example, so many of the important recent changes have actually been impacts felt by the technology industry as a whole. Even as the world, on average, emerges from the other side of the pandemic, we’re seeing little pull-back from the spike in technology usage that it triggered. Commerce is more online than ever, work is more remote than ever, lives are more tied to platforms than ever, and social expectations about how we use technology have been set on a new path.

Looking back

All of which makes it easy to miss the fact that, even taken in isolation, content moderation has had a really interesting year. Even while they have been dealing – along with everyone else – with changing user habits, professionals in the space have had to keep one eye on how upcoming legislation will soon rework how businesses work with user-generated content.

Perhaps most prominent has been the EU’s Digital Services Act which, when it is ratified, will require much more extensive reporting, complaints mechanisms, and (for the largest platforms) auditing. It’s not alone: Australia’s Online Safety Act 2021, passed this summer, creating a governmental eSafety Commissioner position with oversight of online content, while the UK is currently working on an Online Safety Bill to regulate content.

It’s likely that businesses will still have a long way to go in order to prepare for these regulations: research we ran towards the start of the year found that few were prepared for – and many were unaware of – the Digital Services Act.

Even the growing attention from governments on how content moderation operates, however, might not be the biggest thing facing the industry right now.

Looking forward

That’s because businesses are looking at an even more immediate impact in terms of how users actually use their platforms. We can tell the story in a few key statistics: nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store; 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video; social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined.

In other words, before thinking about changes in how content is moderated, we need to deal with the fact that what is being moderated is changing rapidly. Whether the task is automated or taken on by a human, video is significantly more difficult and time-consuming to moderate than plain text. Even outside of video, as we’ve recently discussed, AI-led content moderation needs to improve its capacity to keep up with the speed at which human communication evolves online.

If we’re going to make a prediction for the next year of content moderation trends, then, we should start where businesses should always start: by thinking about the user or customer, what they need and want, and how we can step up to meet those desires.

From that perspective, here at Besedo we think that the story of 2022 for content moderation is going to be one of rising as a strategic priority in many different kinds of business. User habits and expectations are clearly changing, but the kinds of user-generated content available (and, more importantly, the quality of that content) is still very unevenly spread across different businesses and platforms. Where one clothes shop, for example, might be enabling users to upload videos, another might only just have introduced text reviews. That makes content, when done well, a powerful competitive differentiator, in a way that will come to the fore as our new assumptions about how we use the internet solidify.

Historically, content moderation has often been seen as a defensive measure, protecting businesses against negative outcomes, and new legislation may well sharpen what that looks like. The real opportunity coming up, however, is to see how it can be an asset to the customer experience, ensuring that this is not just content they have the option of seeing, but the content they really want to see.

Martin Whalstrand

Sales Director – Americas

March marks the 1-year anniversary of WHO declaring Covid 19 a global pandemic. While vaccines are now being rolled out and a return to normality is inching closer, online trade is still heavily influenced and characterized by a year in and out of lockdown. And so are the content moderation challenges we meet in our day-to-day work with platforms across the globe.

Shortage in graphics cards increases electronic frauds.

Whether for work or entertainment, being homebound has caused people to shop for desktop computers at a level we haven’t seen for a decade. For the past 10 years, mobile-first has been preached by any business advisor worth listening to, but lockdowns have given desktop computers a surprising comeback and increased demands for PC parts.

The increased interest in PCs combined with the late 2020 release of the new console generation and the reduced production caused by pandemic mandated lockdowns has created an unexpected niche for scammers.

We’re currently seeing a worldwide shortage of graphic cards, needed for both consoles and desktop computers and scammers haven’t wasted a second to jump on the opportunity.

In March we’ve seen a significant increase in fraud cases related to graphics cards with gaming capabilities. In some cases, more than 50% of fraud cases we deal with have been related to graphics cards.

Puppy scams are still sky-high.

In March we post-reviewed puppy scams on 6 popular online marketplaces in the UK. We found that almost 50% of live listings showed signs of being fraudulent.

Pet trade has exploded since the beginning of the pandemic and scammers are still trying to take advantage of those looking for new furry family members.

Learn how to moderate without censoring

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

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Sleeper accounts awaken.

Our moderators warn that this month they’ve seen an increase in sleeper accounts engaging in Trojan scams. The accounts post a low-risk item, then lays dormant for a while before they start posting high-value items. The method is used to circumvent moderation setups that only moderate the first items posted by new accounts.

High-risk items posted by these accounts are often expensive electronics in high demand, such as cameras or the Nintendo Switch.

April is looking to be an interesting month in terms of content moderation challenges. With many countries tentatively opening up and others concerned about a 3rd wave, we recommend that all marketplace owners keep a close eye on corona-related scams. From masks to fake vaccines and a potential incoming surge of forged corona passports staying alert, up to date, and keeping your moderators educated will be as important as ever.

If you need help reviewing your content moderation setup or are looking for an experienced team to take it off your hands, we’re here to help.

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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Every month we collect insights; from the clients, we work with, through external audits, and from mystery shopping on popular marketplaces across the world. The goal is to understand current global trends; within online marketplace scam, fraud, and other content challenges and to track how it evolves and changes over time.

The information is shared with clients and internally in our operations with our teams. Recurring trends are also used in the training of new content moderation specialists and to build new generic filters for Implio and to support the training of AI models.

Here’s an overview of some of February’s moderation trends

Courier frauds increased by 107%

In February we saw a concerning increase in “courier frauds” with 107% more compared to normal levels. Courier fraud is a scammer pretending to be interested in buying an item, then asking the seller to register at a fake courier site. Once the victim has registered, they’re asked to share their credit card information. To circumvent moderation, scammers often redirect the conversation of the marketplace and the scam is performed through offline communication platforms like WhatsApp. However, with good moderation processes and awareness of how the fraudsters operate, users can be protected.

New console releases are still a major scam driver.

Together with cell phones, which remains the top targeted category for scammers with 39% of all scams, consoles are still leading the challenge by constituting 24.66% of fraudulent cases. Most scams in these 2 categories are tied to the release of the new iPhone and the launch of PlayStation 5. After rumors started floating around of a new Nintendo Switch release in 2021, we’ve also begun seeing scams related to the popular handheld console.

Marketplaces now a hub for exam cheats.

As lockdowns make physical tests an impossibility, we’ve seen a surge of offers to take tests and exams on behalf of others.

While the offers themselves may be genuine, the practice is unethical and if discovered could lead to students being expelled and a devaluation of the educational system. As such we generally recommend removing listings advertising these sorts of services.

Learn how to moderate without censoring

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

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Valentine’s Day scammers tried to be extra cuddly.

During the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, we did an audit of 6 popular, non-client marketplaces and saw a worrying number of scams. In particular, puppy scams were abundant. In one instance 90% of all puppy listings were fraudulent. The issue isn’t only limited to Valentine’s Day either.

search trend for buy puppy

Due to pandemic enforced social distancing and recurring lockdowns, there’s been a rise in pet purchases over the past year and scammers are taking advantage. As such it pays to stay vigilant and keep an extra focus on pet-related listings and categories.

With this quick overview of current trends, we hope to provide you with the tools needed to focus your content moderation efforts where they’re most needed. If you would like input specifically for your site, feel free to reach out.

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.

Form background

Scammers are unrelenting. And smart. They’re active right throughout the year. This means there’s no particular season when online marketplace and classified site owners need to be extra vigilant. The pressure’s always on them to maintain user safety.

However, scammers know when and how to tailor their activities to maximise opportunities. That’s why they’ll often latch onto different events, trends, seasons, sales, and other activities throughout the year – using a variety of techniques to lure in users, under the guise of an offer or piece of information.

With so much going on in 2020 – from the Tokyo Olympics to US election – scammers will almost certainly be more active than usual. Here’s what consumers and marketplaces need to be aware of this year.

If you want to learn more about the specific scam spikes, visit our scam awareness calendar where we predict spikes on a month-by-month basis.

Holiday Bookings

When the nights draw in and temperatures drop, many begin to dream of sunnier climes and set about searching for their next holiday.

But whether it’s a summer booking or winter getaway, price is always an issue. Cue thousands of holiday comparison sites, booking portals, and savings sites. While many of these are legitimate outfits, often the convoluted online booking experience – as a consequence of using aggregation sites – can confuse would-be travellers.

They’re right to be cautious. As with buying any other goods or services online, even the most reputable travel sites can fall victim to scammers – with scammers advertising cheap flights, luxury lodgings at 2 Star prices, and also offering ‘free’ trips (before being lured into attending a pressured timeshare sales pitch).

If in doubt, customers should always book the best-known travel sites, pay using their verified portal (rather than a link sent via email or direct bank transfer) to ensure that the company that they actually pay for their holiday is accredited by an industry body (such as ATOL in the UK).

Seasonal Scams

From Valentine’s Day to Easter; Halloween to Hanukkah – seasonal scams return with perennial menace year-after-year. Designed to capitalise on themed web searches and impulse purchases, fraudsters play the same old tricks – and consumers keep falling for them.

Charity scams tend to materialise around gift-focused holidays, like Thanksgiving in the US, as well as at Christmas. Anyone can fall victim to them – such as the recent case of NFL player, Kyle Rudoph, who gave away his gloves after a high scoring game for what he thought was a charity auction; only to discover they were being sold on eBay a few days later.

Another popular seasonal scam is phishing emails offering limited-time discounts from well-known retailers, as well as romance scams (catfishers) in which some are prepared to cultivate entire relationships online with others simply to extract money from them.
The general rule with any of these is to be wary of anyone offering something that seems too good to be true – whether it’s a 75% off discount or unconditional love. Scammers prey on the vulnerable.

Football Fever

A whole summer of soccer is scheduled for June and July this year – thanks to the upcoming UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2020) and the Copa America; both of which will run at the same time: on opposite sides of the World.

However, while you’d expect fake tournament tickets and counterfeit merchandise to be par for the course where events like these are concerned – and easily detectable. But the reality is that many fraudulent third party sites are so convincing, buyers are falling for the same scams experienced in previous years.

If in doubt, customers should always purchase from official websites — such as UEFA online and Copa America. While Euro 2020 tickets are sold out for now (over 19 million people applied for tickets), they’ll become available to buy again in April for those whose teams qualified during the playoffs.

While third party sites are the biggest culprits, marketplace owners should be extra vigilant where users are offering surplus or cheap tickets to any games at all. Although given the prices at which the tickets sell for, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the real scammers are the official vendors themselves.

Olympic Obstacles

The Summer Olympic Games is no stranger to scandals – of the sporting variety. However, In the same way as the soccer tournaments referenced above, fake tickets tend to surface in the run-up to the games themselves – on ‘pop-up’ sites as well as marketplaces.

Telltale signs of a scam include vendors asking to be paid in cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin), official-sounding domain names (that are far from official), as well as phishing emails, malware, and ransomware – all designed by scammers looking to cash in on the surrounding media hype and immediate public interest that high-profile events bring.

In addition to scams preceding the games, advice issued just prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics recommends visitors be wary of free public WiFi – at venues, hotels, cafes, and restaurants – and recommends travellers take other online security precautions; such as using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) in addition to antivirus software.

Lessons learned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang shouldn’t be ignored either. Remember the ‘Olympics Destroyer’ cyber attack? That shut down the event’s entire IT infrastructure during the opening ceremony? There was little anyone could do to prevent that from happening (so advanced was the attack and so slick was its coordination). Still, it raised a lot of questions around cybersecurity generally – which no doubt have informed best practice elsewhere.

Also, visitors should avoid downloading unofficial apps or opening emails relating to Olympics information – unless they’re from an official news outlet, such as NBC, the BBC, or the Olympic Committee itself.

Learn how to moderate without censoring

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

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Probing Political Powers

With Brexit upon us and the US general election set for November, many are more aware of misinformation campaigns, high profile emails hacks, and electronic voting booth hacking.

While those in the public eye may seem to be the most at risk, ordinary citizens are too. We have Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to thank for that.

Despite this high profile case, while political parties themselves must abide by campaigning practices and even though data security laws – such as GDPR – exist to protect our data, it seems more work needs to be done – by social media companies and governments.

But what can people do? There are ways to limit the reach that political parties have, such as opting out of practices like micro-targeting and being more stringent with social media privacy settings, good old-fashioned caution and data hygiene are encouraged.

To help spread this message, marketplaces and classified sites should continue to remind users to change their passwords routinely, exercise caution when dealing with strangers, and advocate not sharing personal data off-platform with other users – regardless of their assumed intent.

Sale Of The Century?

From Black Friday to the New Year Sales – the end of one year and the early part of the next is a time when brands of all kinds slash the prices of excess stock – clearing inventory or paving the way for the coming season’s collection. It’s also a time when scammers prey upon online shoppers’ frenzied search for a bargain or last-minute gift purchase.

As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, the level of sophistication with which scammers operate in online marketplaces seems to get increasingly creative – from posting multiple listings for the same items, changing their IP addresses, or merely advertising usually expensive items at low prices to dupe those looking to save.

Prioritising Content Moderation

The worrying truth is that scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated with the techniques they use. For online marketplace owners, not addressing these problems can directly impact their site’s credibility, user experience, safety, and the amount of trust that their users have for their service.

Most marketplaces are only too well aware of all of these issues, and many are doing a great deal to inform customers of what to look out for and how to conduct more secure transactions, online.

However, action always speaks louder than words – which is why many are now actively exploring content moderation – using dedicated expert teams and machine learning AI – the latter adds value to larger marketplaces.

Keeping customers informed around significant events and holidays – like those set out above – ensures that marketplaces are seen as transparent and active in combating fraud online.
This also paints sites in a favourable light when it comes to attracting new users, who may stumble upon a new listing in their search for seasonal goods and services.

Ultimately, the more a site does to keep its users safe, the more trustworthy it’ll be seen as.

Want to know more about optimimizing your content moderation? Get in touch with one of our content moderation solution expert today or test our moderation tool, Implio, for free.

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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On a yearly basis, we deliver a scam awareness calendar to help online marketplaces prepare for scam spikes in the year to come. We base the scam calendar on trend observations from previous years and analysis of major happenings in the coming year. Our trust and safety team is working day-by-day with analyzing data to find fraudulent behaviors, and proactively supports our clients with information to help them stay ahead of scammers.

Fraudulent behaviors on marketplaces are constantly fluctuating, as we witness periods of increased and decreased scams. Scam spikes are typically triggered by holiday seasons, festivals, events and other large happenings in a year.

For you and your moderation team to stay on top of the scam spikes, you need to be aware of when and where scammers might appear. In this article, we will share some of the most common types of scam for 2019 and when you are likely to see them spike. If you want to learn more about the specific scam spikes, visit our scam awareness calendar where we predict spikes on a month-by-month basis.

Tech release scams

We are spoiled as consumers with new tech releases every year. In so many ways it’s neat that we continue to develop and outperform our technical developments. And often, we witness competing companies triggering each other to step up their game and drive development. One of the most reoccurring battles between brands is between the two phone giants Apple and Samsung. When Samsung releases their phone of the year, Apple can’t wait to release theirs.pan>

These two annual releases are considered some of the most important product launches of the year, by tech enthusiasts and consumers. Unfortunately, this also attracts scammers looking to deceive eager buyers.

As with previous years, we’re expecting the scam spike in the weeks leading up to the launch of a new iPhone or Samsung. To protect your users, make sure to be on the lookout for pre-order listings, cheap prices compared to market price, phrases such as ‘item is new’ or ‘as good as new’ or ‘brand new in box, as well as deceiving phrases used in the description.

Samsung is rumored to release Samsung Galaxy S10 on March 8th, with prices starting at $719. Rumors are also floating online, that Samsung will launch the world’s first foldable smartphone in March this year.

Apple, on the other hand, usually host their big annual product release in early/mid-September, and if they stick to their tradition, we’re expecting their new iPhone to be launched on September 10th this year. Visit this page to stay on top of the latest news surrounding the next iPhone release.

Holiday booking scams

One of the most common actions targeted by scammers is vacation and holiday bookings. When we’re dreaming ourselfves away to various destinations in front of our computer or phone, scammers strategically expose us to exclusive vacation deals that looks stunning, but which in reality doesn’t exist. At Besedo we witness these types of scams on a daily basis, but April and August are considered peak season for holiday scams – when we book our summer and winter vacations.

Make sure your users stay safe on your site. Be on the lookout for fraudulent holiday rental ads and offers that are ‘too good to be true’. And more concretely, your moderation team need to look out for high quality or stock pictures, free email domains, IP’s, large group rentals, price below market, full payment in advance etc.

Want to learn more about holiday scams?

Check out this article: It’s that time of the year again, the peak season for vacation rental scams.

Shopping scams

Shopping, shopping, shopping. We all do it, we all (most at least) love it. Phenomena like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, after Christmas sales, Singles day etc. are periods where consumers are rushing to get exclusive deals and discounts.

While offline consumers are in the risking to be trampled in packed stores, online shoppers need to be vary of scammers trying to capitalize on the shopping frenzy by deceiving consumers with ‘super deals’. Be ready for a period of increased scams during and after the shopping peaks. Your team needs to be on the lookout for things like “too good to be true prices”, stock photos and phishing emails.

Learn more: Holiday shopping moderation guide and Online marketplace owners’ checklist for holiday shopping.

Big events scams

Every year there are multiple events taking place, everything from sports events to concerts and festivals. Unfortunately, most large events also attract a wave of scammers. In 2019 there are two major sports events, the Asian Cup and Copa America. For these kinds of events, your moderation team should be pay extra attention to ads with many available tickets for sale, low prices, miscategorized tickets, ultra-cheap airline tickets, address and phone number are geographically disconnected, and requests for bank transfer payment only etc.

Besides the two football tournaments mentioned above, there’s a lot of concerts and festivals already sold out, which means tickets may be for sale on your marketplace. Stay ahead of the scammers, learn more about ticket scams and how to keep your users safe.

Back to school scams

Being a student often comes with a tight budget and a need to find new accommodation, often in very specific and possibly unfamiliar areas. This, naturally, makes them vulnerable to potential fraudulent rental deals and loan offers. Make sure your moderation team pays attention to new users posting flats/flat shares, pricing, emails, stock photos, and dodgy loan offers.

New courses usually start twice a year, every January and September, and it is during these months we typically see an increased number of scammers trying to trick students of their money.

Here’s how to automatically reduce student accommodation scams.

Stay ahead of the scammers

Most of the scams we’ve listed will happen throughout the year and your team should always be looking out for them. However, by knowing when a spike is likely you can better prepare your team and you can staff accordingly.

By being aware of scam spikes and adjusting your moderation setup accordingly you can both keep your users safe, reduce time to site and shrinkage. If your team size isn’t flexible, a good way to manage spikes with minimal impact to the end user is to increase your automation levels when the volumes grow.

With the right setup you can automate up to 80% using filters alone and with tailored AI you can reach even better quality and levels.

Want to know more? Get in touch with a content moderation solution expert today or test our moderation tool, Implio, for free.

Learn how to moderate without censoring

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

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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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Want to know how the industry is predicting marketplace trends 2019?

2018 is coming to its end, and what a year it has been! We entered the year talking about classifieds becoming marketplaces, by enabling complete transactions through payment solutions on their sites. And we’re leaving it, with marketplaces looking to expand their offerings with more value-added services, beyond transactions, to complement their offering and make sure that users have the best possible experience on their site.

In an industry where it feels things can change overnight, it makes you wonder what will happen in 2019?

In order to answer that question as accurately as possible, we turned to the ones who know the most about our field; marketplace experts and professionals. Here is their prediction of marketplace trends 2019.

The industry’s verdict: here are the top marketplace trends 2019

“There’s one dominating trend for marketplaces in 2019: Convenience. Improving the user experience way beyond enhancing the user interface is the direction everybody is heading. Finding the best deal, the perfect job, employee, car, home, tenant or roommate will be made easier than ever. And there is more. The marketplaces are integrating services like delivery, payments, contract handling, insurance, finance. Users will be able to arrange everything if not with one click then at least from one hand. Smart technology – assisted by machine learning and artificial intelligence – will facilitate the process. Superb customer support with a strong human component will be the determining factor for success.”

Katja Riefler, Principal, Managing Director Aimgroup

“Digital marketplaces will continue their growth in 2019 and I believe that transformation will not be radical, but more disruptive business models will continue to appear. AI will continue to drive transformation and I am sure it will lead to more AI driven marketplaces. The three main categories where I believe this technology will be most influential are categorization, fraud prevention, and price recommendation.

Optimizing for voice search will be certainly a growing activity. I also see a shift of paradigms in the online classified businesses as it seems to be moving towards tech businesses and also towards transactions model. I am looking forward to seeing what the new developments in the business will be.

In May we’ll be in Budapest for our spring conference where I am hoping to find out more about how other professionals from our industry see the future. This year we are developing a new concept: ICMA: The sharing conference to build on the very open and familiar atmosphere from our events where we are learning from each other. Happy 2019 and see you in Budapest!”

Lucian Luncan, chairman of the board at ICMA, Head of Classifieds at RussMedia Digital

“For years, trust has been the mantra of marketplaces, and that continues to be true in 2019. However, trust is just one of multiple key elements in a more personalized user experience expected by visitors in the new year.  

Time is money and users will not want to scroll through page after page of listings irrelevant to them. If you want to win you present your visitors with a few, but high quality, safe and relevant search results.  

To be able to provide a truly personalized user experience for each individual visitor, marketplaces will also have to truly embrace machine learning in 2019. Without good algorithms in place, it will be impossible to predict needs or label content in a way that will provide sellers with quality leads and buyers with great recommendations.  

Finally, with the move from classifieds to marketplaces that offer a full stack experience with value-added services, it will be more important than ever for companies to free resources from tasks that business critical but aren’t adding to their USP.  

In 2019 a lot more marketplaces will realize that some parts of their operations can be easily outsourced to experienced partners. Those that embrace this line of thought will be able to pour all resources into developing unique features and adding ancillary services and I anticipate that they will be the ones growing the most in 2019.”

Patrik Frisk, CEO Besedo

“As a lot of pivotal trends are on the rise, 2019 is going to be a very interesting year in the industry – like a season finale of a Game of Thrones season. The online classifieds are being pressured on one hand by performance players like facebook and google moving into new categories, on the other hand, by players coming from the transactional side like fix-pay tech-enabled brokerages etc.

That creates a very interesting dynamic on the market, where the new playing field becomes: customer service and personalization. Not reach, not # of listings, but how much does each player know about each of its customers and how well it can adapt its platform to each user’s needs. So it all comes down to data collection, insight creation, personalization. Problem with that is – most online classifieds have platforms which are made for “mass production” not customization. So we expect a lot of industry players to heavily and swiftly move into these directions:

As a company which helps classifieds battle all of those issues ahead, we are very excited about 2019! To sum up: Who will win in the battle of Facebook vs classifieds? Will existing players manage to turn their “faces” towards their users fast enough? Can the transactional players grow fast enough to join the battle of giants? Find out on the 2019 episode of “real estate migrates online”.”

Andrzej Olejnik, Founder & CEO at Homsters.com

“The market is changing in 2019 with the European Emission Test changes where it is directly proportional to the Road tax and also Company car tax in the UK. 2019/2020 being the second stepped rise in three consecutive years in cost for both tax elements. This means a change in the profile of new cars being registered with Diesel registrations expected to fall by 8% and petrol and electric expected to continue to strengthen. This is mainly down to people withdrawing from company car provisions and replacing it with a personally ran car and claiming Mileage from their employer or asking for an additional salary increase to compensate.

So the direct result of this for car classified sites will be both an increase in traffic looking for a used car to use replace outgoing company cars, an increase in interest of alternative all-inclusive payment methods for new vehicles such as personal contract hire and increased awareness of CO2 emissions and Bik and a much higher volume of related questioning when looking at potential new company cars. This is where Ripley chat can identify and learn new lines of questions and appropriate answers, engaging customers quickly and accurately retaining them on your classified site and capturing unique leads.”

Gareth Law, Head of Sales at Ripley chat

“The year 2019 will be a turning point for the whole marketplaces industry. A perfect storm of AI-driven technology shift combined with mobile first trends and generation shift with millennials taking over shall force all industry players to adapt quickly or vanish.

Already, several newcomers on the market are disrupting the legacy system, and there is no comfort zone for legacy monopolistic brands anymore. Competition is global and local at the same time, so there is no place to hide.

The only way forward for traditional marketplaces is rapid adoption of AI in the core of their businesses. Potential of this technology is just too huge to neglect. AI is transforming today’s marketplaces in very a profound way by revolutionizing UX for both sellers and buyers, so perfect matchmaking becomes a reality, and overall economy of platforms increases significantly.”

Davor Anicic, Business Developer Styria Data Science

“Buyer-seller conversations on marketplaces, especially in the high-value automotive and real estate, are still likely to start with a call in 2019, but they’re increasingly unlikely to end there. Our data shows conversations that start as a phone call or on-platform chat rapidly move to a preferred communication utility like WhatsApp – where sharing information is easy, instant and media-rich.

Marketplaces will need to keep pace by finding smart ways to better leverage these communication utilities to protect sellers and buyers while allowing them to connect safely.”

Mark Griffioen, Co-founder at Sudonum

“It’s hard to believe another year is behind us, 2018 was a fantastic year and 2019 looks like being the year of the consumer, it’s all about you! 

Here are my top 6 predictions for marketplaces in the coming year: 

Peer to Peer is here! The sharing/gig economy has been growing fast, it’s enabling individuals, manufacturers and small businesses to sell direct, build real relationships and fuel local economies rather than big corporates pockets. Keep an eye on automotive, clothing and homewares moving to new models next year. 

It’s been quite a year for privacy and Identity with fraud and data leak scandals appearing every day. It’s so important that we are all able to validate that you are who you say you are, without having to “do stuff” in the analogue world. We’ll start to see super simple ways to verify your identity, move your ID from site to site and have confidence that others are who they say they are too. 

Nothing will be more important than Trust, it’s the ultimate customer-centric measure. Without it, you can’t have loyalty, and without loyalty, you don’t have customers. Trust will take center stage in 2019. 

AR, VR, and IoT – am I predicting a rise in acronyms?Not quite, but we’ve been playing with Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Voice Commerce and connected devices like watches for a while. In 2019 we’ll start to see a huge uplift in sales, customer service interactions, and beautiful shopping experiences.   

True Omnichannel experiences in retail are the only thing that can save our high street brands.  We’ve been talking about this for a decade but in 2019 multi-channel marketing and multi-channel interactions to sell products will be at the heart of everything. Done properly you can expect 166% higher engagement than single-channel campaigns.  

Finally, we know that Real Time and Controlled Payments are set to go boom and delight consumers in 2019. Everything we are seeing is being driven by demand for real time, instant payments. This means you can pay or get paid in seconds. Couple those instant payments with new ways to protect yourself. At Shieldpay. We hold your money until you’re ready and move it in real-time when you’re happy. Good times. 

2019 to me will be the year where consumers are finally at the centre of everything. You’ll be super confident buying, or selling with anyone, anywhere online – and what’s more, you’ll be able to make that happen by shouting at Alexa from your bed! 

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year from everyone at Shieldpay!”

Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer & SMB Shieldpay

Learn how to moderate without censoring

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

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Is your marketplace ready to compete and grow in 2019?

As the marketplace industry has kept on changing, the role of content moderation has changed too. With moderation previously only seen as a fraud prevention activity, it has now developed into becoming an enabler for marketplaces to achieve high content quality, user safety, and excellent user experience.

It’s vital to have a solid moderation set up in place in today’s landscape, but it may not be what differentiates your site 2019. In many cases, it may make sense to outsource parts of or your entire moderation to a third-party solution provider who’s an expert in the field. This will help you free up valuable resources to develop innovations that will boost your competitive advantage.

If you want to learn more about content moderation and how we can help your marketplace grow, get in touch with a moderation expert.

We wish you a happy new year and a successful 2019!

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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