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.

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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.