Selecting a partner for content tagging moderation
Content moderation is, perhaps, a reasonably well understood concept. It refers to the practice of viewing/ reading/ hearing content that is being created by billions of users around the world and published on one web property or the other, where it can be accessed by many others. The practice ensures that content being published adheres to the established rules of the site, and also protects viewers from content that is malicious and harmful in many different ways.
Content tagging moderation, however, may not be as widely used or as well understood a term.
What is content tagging?
A content tag can be viewed as a metadata that is ascribed to a particular publication on the web. With the help of the tag, the publication can be linked to other web publications on the web that are similarly tagged. It becomes a kind of identity of classification for the publication. For example, if a publication has a tag called ‘baseball’ attached to it, it becomes loosely identified with many other publications that also have the tag ‘baseball’ assigned to them.
Content tags are visible to the audience/ visitors and can be used to access other similarly tagged publications on the system. If the viewer chooses the ‘baseball’ tag, she should be able to access all other publications on the system that are similarly tagged.
And it is not an either/ or situation. One does not have to choose a tag at the expense of another, equally worthy one. Multiple tags can be ascribed to a publication, making the metadata even richer. You could attach other tags like ‘Yankees’ and ‘2021,’ depending on the context.
The tagging is usually done by the creator or owner of the publication. However, there are other methods too.
Automated tagging or AI-enabled tagging is gaining in popularity and is becoming more accurate each passing day. With vast volumes of legacy content yet to be appropriately tagged, it is expected that automated tagging will help in making these archives accessible and user-friendly through the tagging process.
There is also a collaborative tagging mechanism through which tags can be assigned by readers/ viewers of the content. These tags get added to the ‘tag cloud’ which hovers over each piece of content.
Content tagging can be done either as a ‘selection’ process where a tag is selected from a dropdown or available set of possible options. It can also be a free-format entry where each time a new tag could be created.
In the current context, hashtags are a method of content tagging that is reasonably understood by many.
The purpose and use of content tagging
As it is an activity done deliberately, there must be a reason why it is done.
Eventually the purpose of all tagging is to make the tagged content more useful and more usable for the consumer. How?
- Tagging gives life and visibility to content, creating opportunities for content to be discovered and licensed as well as syndicated, giving a filip to advertising revenue. Monetisation opportunities through endorsements also get enhanced.
- Publishers get insights into consumer behavior, which, in turn, can lead to generation of more appropriate and targeted content, leading to enhanced traffic.
- Searchability of the underlying content gets enhanced with the addition of metadata that users are likely to search for.
If content tagging is expected to deliver some results and benefits, it stands to reason that the better it is done, the better the results and the more magnified the benefits of the activity.
This is where content tagging moderation comes into the picture.
Content moderators can add, modify and remove tags from content in order that content becomes more useful for the author/ publisher and facilitates meeting the objectives with which it was published.
In content moderation, user generated content (UGC) is reviewed and mostly either approved for publishing or rejected, in order that the content available to visitors to that website meets the standards of publishing of that site and also comply with generally accepted norms of society.
Content tagging moderation, to extend the argument further, operates on content tags in a somewhat similar manner and seeks to make them suitable for the purpose of the organization that owns the content. This could involve removing tags or adding new ones. It is also designed to lead to better product discovery which, in turn, leads to better engagement with visitors to the website.
What is the best way of doing it?
We live in a world with choices. Businesses and organizations have them too.
In an inter-connected, hyper-competitive world, companies often struggle to survive and eke out a living for their owners and staff. Getting into doing more activities that may not be seen as core, that require different skill sets and knowledge, may create a further drag on their performance.
Advances made by telecommunications technology as well as their gradual penetration around the globe, has created opportunities for outsourcing. For outsourcers, it is an opportunity for employing a skilled workforce that they do not have, at affordable prices. For companies taking on the outsourced work, it is often an opportunity to access a global marketplace for their skills, while creating employment opportunities in a relatively underserved geography.
Content tagging moderation is no different.
BPO companies like oWorkers have emerged, focused on the data and related services required by global corporations, and honed their skills through regular use over many years with many different clients. It has been recognized as one of the top three BPO providers of data and related services anywhere in the world.
Companies can now outsource non-core activities to specialist resources of an outsourcing company, with skilled, motivated resources, hired for that task, leaving their own resources to continue to focus on the core business, something they are experienced in and committed to, without worry about them being distracted and making a mess of both sides.
The provider, for whom that work is the main business, can be expected to make efforts to excel. Aggregation of volumes across clients will also give them the heft to invest in improvement in processes and technology, with some of the benefits likely to flow back to the outsourcer clients.
This might be a sign of evolution, but engaging partners for specialized non-core requirements is now an accepted principle of business. ‘Should we outsource?’ is no longer the primary question; it is ‘what is the best way to outsource?’
How to select a provider?
With outsourcing becoming a popular choice, how should one go about the task of identifying a supplier who will add value to the job?
Given below are some suggestions on the criteria that should be used:
Readiness for work from home or office
Clearly the pandemic that started in Q1 2020 has left a lasting impression and changed life and ways of working in significant ways. The inability to gather together in large numbers put a halt to office life as we have known it and opened the doors to ‘work from home’ so that people did not need to be in physical proximity and increase the opportunities of transmission of the virus. While progress has been made, with many vaccines claiming to provide immunity, ‘work from home’ has come to stay. Also, there is some uncertainty and it is expected that there could be more periods of heightened threat requiring people to confine themselves to their homes. Working from the office can no longer be taken for granted even though many organizations have started doing so.
oWorkers has been one of the first BPOs to step up and create an environment for its staff to work either from home, or office, depending on the conditions on any given day, and also based on the personal situation of each individual. Their proactive efforts have enabled most of their clients to continue uninterrupted services to clients even during the most virulent phases of the pandemic.
Pricing tends to be a focus area in all commercial engagements, hence needs to be placed at the head of the list of criteria. However, it is always advisable to take a balanced view, and not let pricing be the sole determinant of partner selection. The focus should be on finding a value creator and not the cheapest provider.
Clients of oWorkers often note that they reduce costs by almost 80% when they outsource content tagging moderation. This is particularly true for clients from Western Europe and the US. The transparent pricing mechanism, through which they get a choice between a dollar per unit of output or dollar per unit of input pricing, also serves to increase their confidence in the provider.
Technology is the big enabler for the outsourcing business and has made it possible for it to reach the far corners of the world, riding on advancements in telecommunications. Hence, it is important to establish the technology capability of a potential vendor. It is both a hygiene factor as well as a differentiator.
With the help of its ongoing partnership with major technology providers, oWorkers is able to access the latest versions of the most modern technologies. This eventually helps clients as the technologies are used to deliver on client projects and assignments.
In a hyper-competitive world, information holds value. Information pertaining to its business is an asset that every company wishes to safeguard. Providers being evaluated should be able to demonstrate that they do not have compromises in their systems and processes through which confidential information can leak out.
oWorkers is ISO (27001 and 9001) certified with staff signing and operating under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Where required, they offer physical segregation of projects of different clients through access control mechanisms.
Ability to hire efficiently
Human resources is the other enabler for the industry, through which the work actually gets done. The ability to hire on a regular basis, for new positions as well as to replace people who are leaving, since attrition is a factor in BPOs, and train them for the role, is a key differentiator.
Being a preferred employer in all its delivery locations, oWorkers gets a steady stream of walk-in traffic of interested candidates. This provides a choice of resources that can be hired based on projects at hand, while keeping hiring costs low, which benefit, again, eventually flows back to clients.
Short term spike handling
Related to the ability to hire is the ability to handle spikes and troughs in client volumes. While all clients have some method of estimating future capacity requirements, real life always throws some curveballs. Keeping excess staff is a financial drain. Not handling offered volumes when they spike is poor business management. No business would like to let go of available opportunities. Hence, the ability to handle temporary, unplanned peaks and troughs, peaks more particularly, is an important consideration.
oWorkers offers the flexibility of adding a hundred staff to your project within 48 hours, should the need arise. This is a significant value for most clients, as they neither have to pay for unworked resources, nor let content tagging moderation volumes go abegging.
Handling work in multiple languages
All companies want growth. Often growth takes them to uncharted territories, needing additional expertise and skills, like languages. A partner needs to enable growth, not be a hurdle to it. A client would not want growth plans to be changed because an existing partner could not scale up. Or go looking for an additional supplier each time they expand.
oWorkers employs a multicultural, multiethnic workforce in its three strategically placed global centers. This allows it to provide services in 22 languages to its clients, which have been able to serve all expansion and language requirements.
Excellence in work
This is really a given. Unless they can demonstrate the ability to provide excellent delivery, they should perhaps not even be in the fray. However, from an outsourcer’s perspective it is an important consideration to evaluate. Prospective partners should be able to demonstrate capability as well as provide references of clients for whm similar work has been done in the past. External recognition in that line of work is also useful.
oWorkers makes available many of its clients’ names on its website, except where some specific reason does not allow it to. Most of its clients are referenceable and open to providing feedback to potential clients evaluating their services.
Turnaround time commitment
This is the third corner of the popular operations or delivery triangle, pricing and quality being the other two. Global locations sometimes have the advantage of being on the flip side of the timezone scale, allowing for overnight delivery, which speeds up things for clients. Even otherwise, if such a difference in time does not exist, speed of delivery is an important consideration and should be a part of the contract that eventually gets agreed.
While overnight delivery is provided, time zones permitting, oWorkers has a delivery machinery that is equipped to operate 24×7 for clients who need it. A quick turnaround is what they prefer to offer, as it enables them to do even more for their clients.
Robust financial position
While this does not impact delivery directly, an adverse financial position can take the focus of the partner away from the core work. After all, each company exists to make money for its owners. What can also happen is that stretched financials may prevent required investments from being made, eventually imparting delivery and quality. In a way, this could be a lead indicator of impending troubles.
oWorkers has been a consistently profitable entity. It is registered as a local company in all its delivery locations and pays local and social taxes, as per regulation. As it operates from the Eurozone, it is also necessarily GDPR compliant.
As a pure provider of data entry BPO solutions, with multilingual capability, oWorkers has few peers. That is perhaps the reason why several unicorn marketplaces have chosen to work with it. oWorkers has a hands-on top management team with over 20 years of experience in the business. Despite the development of a competent middle management layer in the company, they stay immersed in delivery, provide direction to the team and often directly interacts with clients
With its model of working with employed staff, and not contractual or outsourced staff, oWorkers has the flexibility to deploy them as per best fit. It also monitors and manages their performance. It continues to receive favorable feedback on Glassdoor from present and past employees.
oWorkers deploys the Quality Analyst (QA) model and regularly reviews the work done by frontline staff. This prevents poor quality from affecting clients, and also provides an early warning to top management to intervene and take actions to halt the slide. It has consistently delivered over 99% accuracy levels in all its engagements, including content tagging moderation, as measured by different clients across different scales and measurement systems.