10 Steps to Outsource Text Moderation

Copy of 10 Steps to Outsource Text Moderation

10 Steps to Outsource Text Moderation

 

It can take years for a business to build a reputation. To destroy it, a moment may be sufficient.

This might be the biggest driver for moderation services.

In today’s online world, many businesses make efforts to build thriving online communities with their business and products at the center of it; communities where there is an ongoing conversation, either with the business or amongst the users themselves. Not only does this provide insights to the business about user behavior, it also creates a huge amount of user generated content (UGC) that, not having been created by the business, has great value as a source of authentic information for visitors.

Online interaction is often seen as the best way for a business to understand its customers and their needs as it is in a ‘natural’ setting without any pressure to cook up the inputs, as might happen when you conduct a survey. It can be used to improve your product, your strategy or even decide to kill off an offering that is not making sense.

Of course, UGC can be created in many formats, video, audio, image and text being the most common and well understood.

While most UGC is genuine and of acceptable standards, some of it can be malicious and hurt sensibilities. To protect its image from being sullied because of such content, moderation is required.

This article will focus on text moderation, which could be defined as the process of monitoring and blocking or amending content submissions that either violate the policies of the site on which they have been submitted, or of civic society in general.

 

Who Needs Text Moderation Solutions

If you have a web presence which is open for public participation, the sanctity of content on your website is subject to the vagaries of the people who visit it and their moods. While most content that gets created is genuine and sane, one can never rule out the possibility of a person creating content on your website which either violates the policies you have defined for your website or, in a more general sense, is not within the general rules of civil society, and hence, not acceptable.

This requirement is not limited to a certain kind of business or industry. Whether you are a car manufacturer or an education portal or an e-commerce platform or a matchmaking portal or a news platform or a furniture maker, if you permit open interaction on a web property owned by you, text moderation will be needed by you.

 

The Case for Text Moderation Services

There could be abusive language. Or hate speech. Or insult to symbols and beliefs held in high regard by some. Or a challenge to the rule of law. There could be many other issues of a bilateral nature which are surfaced on such sites, but, in the context of the possibly national and global scale issues, are perhaps of lower significance.

Where could these be posted?

Once again, anywhere. There are many different channels for communication that exist in the online world. There are reviews of many kinds, book reviews, film reviews, art reviews and product reviews, like on ecommerce websites, to name a few. Anyone can access these spaces and post a review. There are comments that can be placed on articles and posts in cyberspace and on news items published by established media houses. Thriving online communities are a part of many businesses, like technology platforms. For a consumer business, it is difficult to directly respond to each and every query being raised by individual customers, as there could be millions. Many businesses and SAS platforms are particularly good at this, creating communities where questions raised by some members could be responded by others. Some of them even have a system of rewards for members who are the most active in providing accurate and fast responses. Then there are forums (or fora), profiles, and the ubiquitous social media presence. Content that may need to be moderated could be on any of these.

Moderation will, to a large extent, keep you safe from exposure to issues like trademark violations, PR scandals, brand image compromise and even legal tangles.

 

Outsource Text Moderation or Keep Inhouse?

The need being established, a natural question to emerge at this stage is whether to outsource the activity or create the skills to do it inhouse.

While each business still needs to make the choice, going by the choices made by many, at this stage it does appear that the outsourcing content moderation option seems to be an overwhelming favorite. The reasons could be many:

Text moderation services are applicable in a fairly uniform manner to most platforms, overlayed with specific website moderation rules that your business might develop, which are also fairly similar to rules created by others. Hence, there is no uniqueness for which a skillset needs to be created.

Moderation is not a core competence or skill of your employees. Their skill most likely pertains to your business. If they do moderation, they will probably be incompetent and uninterested moderators.

Moreover, your business activities will suffer as your staff is engaged in other work. And your primary work, since it is your core competence, cannot be done in a better way by a partner through outsourcing. It needs to be done by you.

Thus, at this point of time, to outsource text moderation is the preferred option.

 

The 10 Steps to Outsource Text Moderation

Having been done thousands of times, the process of outsourcing is well established, and perfected by vendors who take on text moderation solutions work of clients. Of course, improvements are always possible and also, there could be multiple ways of reaching the common goal of a smoothly operating shop run by a partner.

A recommended sequence of activities is shared here:

1. Define the process, identify part to be outsourced

In order to produce the product or service which eventually is sold to a client, businesses run a series of processes, the output of one being the input of the next.

Though it has been decided to outsource text moderation, at this stage, the business needs to ignore whether it is outsourced or not, and update its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to reflect the addition of text moderation as a part of the overall process, and defining the inputs into and outputs out of it. This also ensures the people involved understand that it is an integral part of their business and not a random activity being done for them by a partner as and when it is outsourced.

2. Forge consensus on approach

It is important to get everyone in the organisation ‘on the same page.’ This can be done through open sharing of information about the proposed outsourcing, inviting feedback and criticism, and giving all concerned a chance to be heard.

Documentation also helps achieve clarity and consensus, hence, reasons for outsourcing should be documented along with the benefits analysis.

This phase should result in consensus on the decision to outsource text moderation.

Effort should also be made to identify the project lead for the planned outsourcing, if not the entire project team.

3. Create the outsourcing blueprint

Some outsourcing deals run into heavy weather because one of the parties, typically the buyer, or outsourcer, has not put adequate thought into it. The greater the clarity in terms of requirement and expectation, the greater the chance of success. Now that the project lead has been identified, this would be the right time to flesh out the details to the next level. This detailing will also help in setting the right expectations with potential vendors interested in the contract. A recommended checklist of items that this phase should cover:

  • Objective of outsourcing
  • Details of the process
  • Types of for and web properties to be moderated
  • Consumer profile
  • Defining rules
  • Domain knowledge requirement
  • Quality standards
  • Timelines
  • Volume

 

4. Establish criteria

Though this could be considered a part of the previous step, as a key step in eventually selecting a partner, it has been carved out separately.

A recommended list of capabilities and attributes to look for in a partner:

Experience of doing similar work – Helps in getting off to a flying start and enables a view of what it will look like when you outsource.

oWorkers has successfully executed several text moderation projects for global clients. With our 24×7 operations, we are up and running to cover anyone, anywhere, posting on your web properties, so that you can sleep soundly.

Quality and accuracy – Familiarity with the type of work brings value only if executed to the required accuracy levels. Quality level offered by the vendor will be of importance in any outsourcing not just when you outsource text moderation. Existing client testimonials validating quality levels will always be of value.

Consistently providing accuracy levels above 99%, oWorkers has a global client list, many of them referenceable.

Processing Speed – While quicker turnarounds are of value to business in general, for text moderation services the importance is immense, as many businesses have a process of pre-moderation; reviewing the content before permitting publication. Customers, on the other hand, want to see their contribution become visible quickly.

With three global centers, 24×7 operation, and the flexibility to work from home, oWorkers provides unmatched response times, with SLAs of response under a minute also possible.

Pricing – A necessary part of a contract. Clearly, low is good, but since it is a B2B arrangement, where it is a customised basket of services being contracted, the focus should be on value and not merely the lowest price.

Clients of oWorkers advise save 80% in comparison with their pre-outsourcing cost. Our pricing is transparent, with a choice of per hour or per output unit pricing.

Multilingual capability – Instead of contracting multiple vendors for the same service in different languages, a vendor’s multilingual capability in text moderation solutions can allow the client to focus their efforts on a single outsourced engagement. Again, an important consideration since texts can be created in any language.

Supporting over 22 major languages across three global centers, oWorkers is uniquely positioned to support you, regardless of where your consumers are and what language they post in.

Current Technology – There could be an avalanche of activity on a website from time to time. Some websites could be ones where there is heavy footfall all the time. Human intervention being expensive and slow, automated, AI driven solutions, are becoming a necessity for handling text moderation services.

With its partnerships with leading technology solutions providers, oWorkers makes available to you the best technologies for your requirements.

Data Security – Joined at the hip with technology is data security. The digital data being generated for a client needs to be maintained and transacted securely.

Being ISO (27001 and 9001) certified, oWorkers implements the latest in security practices and protocols for ensuring security of client data, in transmission as well as in storage and while being worked on.

Scalability – Being a human activity, a regular supply of jobseekers is as important as the ability to expand the hiring number for a short period of time to cater to a sudden spike in client business volumes.

oWorkers data outsourcing services ramping up and down by a hundred headcount in 48 hours. This is made possible by our deep connects with the communities we operate in.

Financial health – A stressed financial situation often leads to suboptimal decision-making and hesitation in making investments in business, eventually impacting on client projects. It is important to ensure that the company to whom you seek to outsource text moderation to, is in reasonably healthy financial condition. Further, it is recommended that this be validated once a year.

oWorkers has been a consistently profitable enterprise. It is registered as a local enterprise in each of its geographies and pays local and social taxes for its employees

Training facility – Required to ensure rapid upskilling of new hires to join the process and contribute to the work being done, for text moderation solutions training acquires an added importance of having to refresh the skills of its workforce as the practices and tools in the environment may keep changing.

oWorkers relies on independent training facilities attached to each of its three facilities to train new hires and keep the knowledge of existing staff fresh by conducting refresher sessions.

5. Seek participation from interested parties

Having lined up your ‘ducks in a row’ with the outsourcing blueprint being prepared and selection criteria being established, all that remains is for competent providers to ‘come to the party.’ Which, of course, is easier said than done. For that to happen, the word needs to be spread in the right communities and through the right channels.

In many cases, it eventually boils down to one of the following channels to communicate the message:

  • A Request for Proposal (RFP) is issued. This is generally preferred by large enterprises. An RFP is a standardised proposal form where you specify the information you seek.
  • Direct outreach to providers who you know provide similar services to competitors.
  • Advertising in trade circles, if you are a part of them.
  • Direct contact through databases like Yellow Pages and web search. They will respond if interested.

 

6. Review and Shortlist

If the communication has been done effectively, you should have received interest from vendors.

Assuming you have received interest from may parties, this stage involves sifting through the applications and identifying the few with whom you would like to go into more detailed discussions. Unfortunately, as time is at a premium, it is advisable to not do that with all applicants. A B2B partnership needs to be carefully navigated and negotiated, hence it is recommended that you go into greater detail with a few rather than less detail with many.

Of course, if you don’t have responses, you would need to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out the reasons. Were your requirements not clear? Were your terms too stringent? You may need to do one more round of interest solicitation, delaying the process.

7. Detailed discussion with a few

This is where the detailed discussions will happen and both parties will be required to share information. In most B2B cases, this will be preceded by the execution of a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) which binds both parties to treating the information received as confidential and enjoins them to ensure it is handled with the utmost care. This is the stage where the potential vendor will make a case for being selected, scope of services will be discussed, including indicative pricing. This is one of the key phases of the process. This is where detailed discussions, site visits, interacting with staff members, exploring combinations, negotiating on price and service levels, all take place.

8. Shortlist down to 1

Eventually you will decide on the most suitable partner and issue a Letter of Intent. Contractual terms, which would have been already discussed during the previous stage, would now be formalised. The other shortlisted vendors will be retained as backups if this partnership falls through for some reason.

The formal agreement is executed based on mutually acceptable terms and conditions.

9. Implementation and Transition

Implementation of the Project Plan, that would have been agreed during the commercial negotiations, is now kicked off, leading to the eventual transition and stabilization of the process with the vendor.

Initiation of a Trial Run, if agreed upon, will happen at this stage, with success criteria and actions following achievement or non-achievement, clearly defined.

All other dependencies, like identification by the vendor of the team that will support activities under this contract, outsourcer arranging the initial training, technical handshakes required, hiring of staff, finding the physical space for the new team, will be handled as per the Project Plan.

10. Begin work, test and then go full steam

Work begins. If volumes are large, there is a ramp-up generally provided for in the Project Plan. Staring slowly, the work gradually ramps up to handle the agreed volumes.

Note: This is an indicative sequence of steps and not mandatory. Not all steps will be needed in all cases. In some cases, the sequence could also change, like a Trial Run could happen before a contract is signed.

 

In Conclusion

Keep your business safe from abuse by seeking the right partner for your text moderation.

Identified as one of the three best data services providers in the world, oWorkers should be part of your evaluation exercise for a suitable partner. We are the preferred partner for many businesses around the world. We hope we will be yours too.

10 Steps to Outsource Online Media Moderation

Copy of 10 steps to outsource online media moderation

10 Steps to Outsource Online Media Moderation

 

What is online media?

In simple terms, we could say it is the communication and exchange of information and ideas through the Internet or the World Wide Web.

What is online media moderation?

As a logical extension, online media moderation could be the name given to an activity that filters the content being exchanged through the Internet in order that it adheres to the general code of conduct of civil society, in addition to defined laws of course.

Online media moderation services – why are they needed?

It takes all sorts to make the world. The anonymity one sometimes feels when one is online, can act as an encouragement for misdemeanours. Some may feel compelled to post content like violence or porn that may be harmful for impressionable sections of Internet users like children. Some may use the Internet to spread messages of hate and incite one group against another. Yet others may engage in annoying acts of self-promotion and spamming. The list is long. Even though this might be only a small percentage of content shared on the World Wide Web, it has enough potential to cause damage which is why moderation has become a requirement.

Who needs online media moderation solutions?

Anybody who uses online media and relies on it for one reason or another and has created spaces in the online world where such exchange of ideas, information and media can take place in an open manner; in other words, any visitor could access the space and leave an imprint.

In real terms, it is organisations and businesses who use the online world in this manner, by creating open spaces where anybody could drop in and leave an impression; good, bad or ugly. They do this for promotion of their organisation’s objectives and for creating thriving online communities with their products/ services/ business/ organisation at the center of it. Hence, this discussion will be limited to the spaces created by organisations and businesses.

Who should moderate?

To make it simpler, this question is asked from the perspective of a business or an organisation that might even be a not-for-profit.

The main choices are:

  1. Build the skills to do it inhouse
  2. Outsource online media moderation to a provider who has the skills to be able to do it for you

Though today it seems like a given for an organisation to be reliant on online media for furthering their objectives, this channel is only about a couple of decades old. Online media moderation might be almost as old as the use of online media.

Over the course of this period, online media moderation services have become established as an independent business in their own right. While it may have been a debate in the early stages, today it is well accepted and established that online media moderation is best done with the enlistment of a partner who specializes in the service instead of creating a new skill-set within the organisation.

That being the case, the selection of the provider becomes a key question for the organisation. As each organisation is different, you need to be cognisant of the fact that the process being outsourced is a part of your business, and probably has linkages in and out from and to other processes which are known by you and not the vendor. Eventually, you define the success and failure criteria for the process.

In short, the ownership for the outsourcing of your online media moderation solutions work needs to be with you and your organisation.

The process of selection of a partner will be discussed in the ensuing paragraphs.

1. Carve out the section (or process) for outsourcing

It is probably a repetition, but whether you outsource online media moderation or not, it is a part of your organisation and its sequence of processes. If not done well, some other part of your organisation will be impacted.

Hence the need to define it as a part of your integrated chain of activities where instead of the ownership for that part belonging to an internal team or set of employees, it is the vendor who is given that responsibility. Of course, there will be a set of people or a team who will still be responsible for monitoring the vendor’s performance.

At this stage, update your Manuals and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to reflect the addition of online media moderation as a part of the overall process, and define the inputs into and outputs out of it. This also ensures the people involved understand that it is an integral part and not a random activity being done for them by a partner as and when it is outsourced.

2. Obtain internal sign-offs for the approach

Nothing is a given, especially in an organisational context. You are always striving to do it better and better. Besides, organisational memory is short. While it may have been discussed and largely agreed, if it is an important decision, it is recommended that opportunity be created for a discussion on the subject amongst decision makers, followed by a formal agreement or sign-off.

As there should be a logical reason for every organisational step, so should there be one for outsourcing. This should result in the creation of documentation of reasons for outsourcing along with the benefits analysis which would be the stepping stone to the consensus on the decision to outsource online media moderation.

As a corollary of the agreement, the responsibility structure for the ensuing phases, along with a project lead, would ideally also be identified, so that it becomes an approved activity being handled by defined resources, instead of senior leadership having to be involved again and again.

3. Detail the requirements

With responsibility now identified, detailing the requirements and expectations, to the level possible and reasonable, will benefit the ongoing journey and discovery process. Often, outsourcing deals run into trouble because the outsourcer has not put enough thought and detail into the activity and assumed that by hiring a professional service provider, the organisation will be doing enough to protect their interest.

As with all other engagements between contracting parties, the greater the clarity in terms of requirement and expectation, the greater the chance of success. This detailing will also help in setting the right expectations with potential vendors interested in the contract and ensure genuine, serious bidders only apply. A recommended checklist of items that this phase should cover:

  • Objective of outsourcing
  • Details of the process
  • Types of online media to be moderated
  • User profile
  • Defining rules
  • Domain knowledge requirement
  • Quality standards
  • Timelines
  • Volume

 

4. Define vendor selection criteria

A recommended list of capabilities and attributes to look for in a partner:

Prior experience with online media moderation solutions

Will help your project get off the ground fast, and save on resources at the initial stage of implementation and transition which takes a lot of investment and time.

With several online media moderation projects handled for global clients, oWorkers can enable you to get off to a quick start. Our 24×7 operations will keep you safe all the time.

Consistently high quality of work

Is self-explanatory. This is what we want and why you initiated the process to outsource online media moderation. Will be even more powerful if combined with quality being in the same line of work. Even if not, demonstrating good quality is a healthy sign of commitment to delivery.

Though each client has its own unique measure of performance evaluation, oWorkers data entry outsourcing company is proud of its track record of consistently providing over 99% accuracy levels.

Responsive and quick

With quality and pricing, one of the three key deliverables for any Operations team. The quicker the response, the lower the exposure for the organisation to malicious online content. Also provides greater satisfaction to consumers, who would not like their user generated content (UGC) to sit in a queue for long.

With SLAs driven by client requirements, with three global centers and 24×7 operation, oWorkers can deliver to your response time requirements when you order content moderation services.

Low attrition and modern manpower practices

To ensure that the key resource, manpower, is taken care of so that hiring is not more difficult than it needs to be and attrition is within acceptable range.

oWorkers works with employed staff and not freelancers. While this brings a greater responsibility, it enables us to build long-term relationships with our staff and provide career-paths for growth. Owing to our position as a preferred employer in all our communities, we have a steady stream of walk-in talent that keeps our hiring costs low. Our attrition is also best-in-class on account of our transparent employment practices.

Price that delivers value

Clearly, low is good, but in a B2B contract, where the price is likely a negotiated one, creating value from the contract should be the priority and not getting the lowest price.

Being the cheapest provider is not our objective, but being the most valuable provider is. That being said, we are the lowest in many cases because of our efficient operating model that enables us to pass on the savings to our clients.

Financial health

Permits investing in the relationship and helps avoid the vendor cutting corners in delivery which has a harmful impact on the client in the long run. When you outsource online media moderation, an efficient operation that leads into a healthy financial position needs to be validated, not just at the start but on an ongoing basis, perhaps once a year.

oWorkers has been a consistently profitable enterprise. It is registered as a local enterprise in each of its geographies and pays local taxes as well as social taxes for its employees.

Multilingual delivery

Whether your organisation is global, or aspires to be, a vendor offering multilingual capability is a plus, especially in online media moderation solutions where interaction on your web properties can originate in any language from anywhere in the world.

oWorkers already supports over 22 major languages, and the list keeps growing.

Technology and Data Security

While the final solution may rest with a human being, it can also be expensive and slow. Automated, AI driven solutions, are becoming a necessity for handling online media moderation services. Access to cutting-edge technology solutions that can handle a bulk of the workload can be helpful in negotiating large volumes.

A related aspect is data security, since most data is now exchanged and used digitally. The vendor should have reliable processes and systems for securing clients’ data.

With its partnerships with leading technology solutions providers, oWorkers makes available to you the best technologies for your requirements and implements the latest in security practices and protocols for ensuring security of client data. oWorkers is ISO (27001 and 9001) certified and GDPR compliant, operating as it does from the Eurozone.

Hiring to meet peaks

Every business has peaks and troughs. One could either retain resources for peak requirements through the year or hire short-term to meet peak. The second is obviously preferred as it limits cost exposure. Vendors with the ability to provide resources for short-term requirements should be given preference.

oWorkers offers ramping up and down by a hundred headcount in 48 hours. This is made possible by our deep connects with the communities we operate in.

5. Ensure your requirement is known to relevant parties

Once you are clear on your requirements, the only thing that stops you from getting online media moderation services is the provider, who is yet to be identified and selected.

To initiate the process, you should ensure that your requirement is made known widely enough and in a manner such that capable providers come to know of it and become interested in the job on offer as that will induce them to make competitive bids.

In many cases, it eventually boils down to one of the following channels to communicate the message:

  • Issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP), generally preferred by large enterprises. An RFP is a standardised proposal form where you specify the information you seek.
  • Direct contact through databases like Yellow Pages and web search.
  • Direct outreach to providers who you know provide similar services to competitors.
  • Advertising in trade circles, if you are a part of them.

6. Eliminate and prune the list

Once the earlier step is done effectively, you should have received interest from vendors, review submissions based on criteria set out, and begin. A B2B partnership needs to be carefully navigated and negotiated, hence it is recommended that you go into greater detail with a few rather than less detail with many, hence an initial rejection step may be needed.

Of course, if you don’t have responses, you would need to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out the reasons. Were your requirements not clear? Were your terms too stringent? You may need to do one more round of interest solicitation, delaying the process.

7. Detailed review and analysis

Detailed discussions will now happen and both parties will be required to share information. In most B2B cases, this will be preceded by the execution of an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) which binds both parties to treating the information received as confidential and enjoins them to ensure it is handled with the utmost care. This is the stage where the potential vendor will make a case for being selected, scope of services will be discussed, including indicative pricing. Detailed discussions, site visits, interacting with staff members, exploring combinations, negotiating on price and service levels, all take place at this stage.

8. Finalise and contract

Eventually you will decide on the most suitable partner and issue a Letter of Intent. Contractual terms, which would have been already discussed during the previous stage, would now be formalised. The other shortlisted vendors will be retained as backups if this partnership falls through for some reason.

The formal agreement is executed based on mutually acceptable terms and conditions.

9. Implement and Transition

Implementation of the Project Plan, that would have been agreed during the commercial negotiations, is now kicked off, leading to the eventual transition and stabilization of the process with the vendor.

Initiation of a Trial Run, if agreed upon, will happen at this stage, with success criteria and actions following achievement or non-achievement, clearly defined.

All other dependencies, like identification by the vendor of the team that will support activities under this contract, outsourcer arranging the initial training, technical handshakes required, hiring of staff, finding the physical space for the new team, will be handled as per the Project Plan.

10. Begin work, test and stabilize

This is when the work starts. If volumes are large, there is a ramp-up generally provided for in the Project Plan. Staring slowly, the work ramps up to handle the agreed volumes till the time we reach what is called the BAU (Business as Usual) stage, the stable, predictable phase of the journey, is reached which will continue to work towards achievement of your organisational goals as envisioned when the seed was planted to outsource online media moderation.