Trust and Safety: Making Online Marketplaces Safer

Published on June 4, 2021
Last Updated on August 25, 2022

Online marketplaces are proliferating. Given the tight competition, quick pivots, like hurriedly scaling marketplaces, took businesses' attention away from trust and safety. A marketplace's responsibility is more than just providing sellers a platform to promote their products—it should also provide a safe space for sellers and buyers to conduct business.

For e-commerce marketplaces, there's an opportunity to depart from the consumers' negative feedback. It is through taking responsibility over the platform and implementing content moderation or content security policies and guidelines that align with consumers' safety. Prioritizing consumers’ safety is more important as it is a long-term gain that can help businesses win1.

Here are some dimensions of a marketplace that are most vulnerable to malicious activities:

  1. Unsafe, misleading, or fake listings 

The Marketplace is a central destination for people to discover, buy, and sell items. By listing on an e-commerce marketplace, sellers can directly reach buyers because they can find what they’re looking for by filtering  results by location, category, and price2.

  1. Fake reviews 

Reviews are an indispensable piece of an e-commerce marketplace’s branding and marketing. They create trust and safety, which typically define what sets the products apart from others. They provide future consumers a sense of confidence. The more favorable the reviews are, the more persuaded consumers will be in making the right decision to purchase. Considering customer feedback appears on product pages, reviews can serve as a guide that can be found on search engines through keywords3.

But in this information era, the same is true that shoppers need to be more curious about what they are purchasing, given how the information is presented to us, particularly the product reviews that can be subjected to manipulation. According to a marketplace study for fake product reviews on big e-commerce marketplaces, there is a viable capacity to manipulate feedback that makes it hard to trust. The researchers found that big e-commerce marketplaces failed to moderate or delete many ratings for which merchants paid, as these violate the company policies. But in most cases, marketplaces didn’t act fast enough, so the fake reviews still influenced shoppers4.

  1. Bogus profiles 

Profile Verification aims to authenticate users within their usage of the platform as part of policy compliance. Identity verifications aim to avoid spams, maintain integrity within the community, and ensure that all users are real and duly verified.

Here are success stories of how content security is TaskUs's fastest-growing area of business and investment, and how it creates the world's Safest Online Shopping Experience.

A Community-powered Marketplace

The E-commerce Marketplace: This logo is a community-powered marketplace founded in Japan that made its mark in the lifestyle products that value the community within their platform.

The Challenge: To provide 24/7 support to moderate listings and ensure the best shopping experience on the platform

Aiming for growing partnership, they found TaskUs as the absolute partner when it comes to their most prominent driver for secure transactions and a safe community: Identity Verification. The app triggers identity verification when users strike a certain amount threshold within the marketplace platform. Identity Verification is required to avoid spams, maintain integrity within the community, and ensure that all users are genuine and duly verified.

The Answer is Us: With Identity Verification, TaskUs Teammates adapt and thoroughly adhere to a streamlined process following an already established one from the client’s in-house team.

The Fashion Marketplace

The E-commerce Marketplace: A fashion marketplace logo is home to 21 million designers, collectors, artists, stylists, vintage sellers, and sneakerheads.

The Challenge: Our client launched a new product—an exciting new platform that would serve as a marketplace for immersive shopping experiences. They were looking for a trusted and collaborative partner who would provide them with extensive Trust & Safety (T&S) support, and would likewise go beyond service delivery to provide business continuity by design as a proactive response to challenges posed by the pandemic. 

Our client specifically had Trust and Safety (T&S) issues surrounding: 

  • Image theft
  • Out-of-app transactions
  • Email scams
  • Impersonation
  • Stolen items
  • Hacking
  • Phishing

The Answer is Us: TaskUs refined new Trust and Safety processes, arranging the client’s challenges into three fundamental classifications: content moderation, abusive behaviors, and fraud prevention.

TaskUs developed a new training curriculum and collaborative cross-skilling and upskilling to address the client’s Trust and Security issues. With a prime focus on quality, TaskUs executed the following:

  • Rolled out fraud mitigation measures
  • Held weekly calibration sessions and regular new process updates with the client
  • Created a Team Lead-QA Buddy-Up System to address top drivers of quality

TaskUs's Trust and Safety support team fulfills what matters to the client's global community while exhibiting resiliency amid the pandemic. TaskUs Teammates continued to keep an eye on productivity glide path and addressing challenges with a highly collaborative and consultative partnership with the client’s Trust and Safety team. With a focus on developing community-driven service level agreements (SLAs) and with TaskUs’s robust support system, the team's productivity rate is consistently at 97%—way past the 85% target.

On any platform, the number of users will continue to grow. These users will then seek out like-minded people and inevitably form communities. To allow these communities to flourish, platforms have to create a safe space for dialogue. However, as we are more connected than ever, there is just a thin line between the digital world and our real lives. It is also true that trust and safety in every platform are ever-evolving, and it is essential for everyone to get involved and participate more proactively.

Given the unprecedented challenges in online marketplaces, our clients’ success stories fuel Us to focus on what change is about, and to be the evolved people that we are—now and then—for what is ahead. More than establishing trust with partners, we embrace our clients' genuine intention in achieving their business purpose. We opt to innovate, as we see this as an opportunity for Us to showcase our edge in providing unique Trust and Safety services.

TaskUs's mission from the beginning has been to put our people first. We are empowering our employees to deliver exceptional results for our clients every day. The true purpose is lived from the inside out. Brand equity and profit are good motivators. But if your organization is after real success that's not just a facade, consider Us as an infinite and “why”-based partner that sees beyond profit—ready to drive your movement forward together. To be felt by your customer, your purpose must first be sensed by your employees. When people feel cared about, they are all likely to extend the same care to each other, their customers, partners, and stakeholders.

Wherever you’re going, we’ll get you there. Know how we come through when needed the most for your brand and your customers here.

Interested in Working With Us?


Phil Tomlinson
VP, Trust + Safety
Leading the Trust + Safety service line at TaskUs, Phil spearheads strategic partnerships and works at the intersection of content moderation and platform policy. His team helps define online safety's purpose in our broader society.