Guide to Selecting a UGC
Moderation Partner

Keeping a clean brand image is an essential pillar of your business—and why joining forces with the right moderation partner is critical. Unfortunately, some companies don’t take the time to properly evaluate prospective firms and the public consequences can be irreparable.

Please use this questionnaire as a framework to ensure that the partner you choose to moderate User Generated Content (UGC) is qualified to fill this important role.

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Section 1

Operations

How long have you been in business?

You want a partner with significant experience in this space. It takes many years to perfect moderation training and technical processes; experience working across industries also allows partners to be trusted advisors in developing moderation criteria for your project. Finally, a long history of uptime offers confidence that the service will not be interrupted.

Do you provide content moderation services exclusively?

In this industry, you want a specialist, not a generalist. Ideally, your moderation partner will offer content review exclusively—not things like customer service and data entry in addition. Content review is an all-encompassing and complex task that demands a singular focus.

Do you have a mental health program in place for your moderation team?

Your moderation partner should absolutely have one. While important for workers across all industries, mental health programming is particularly important in the moderation space where content reviewers are routinely exposed to disturbing content.

How large is your current moderation team—and how quickly can you scale?

Your partner should have the capacity and ability to quickly scale with your project.

Are clients allowed to visit your facility?

Given all of the news about poor working conditions, prospective moderation partners should be happy to have you visit their offices, or if the distance is too great, request photos and/or a video tour.

Section 2

Capabilities

How quickly can your moderation team review incoming content (SLA)?

This capability will save you from having to build your own CMS if you don’t already have one. When you integrate with your moderation partner’s API, their team will use their own tools to accommodate scale, and their moderators should be intimately familiar with it.

Do you offer an API for integration?

In this industry, you want a specialist, not a generalist. Ideally, your moderation partner will offer content review exclusively—not things like customer service and data entry in addition. Content review is an all-encompassing and complex task that demands a singular focus.

Do you offer live, human moderation?

Human moderation plays an essential role in the moderation process. While AI solutions are critical to moderating high-volume applications, humans are required to detect more complex criteria and context.

Do you offer AI moderation—and in what categories?

AI solutions are important for higher volume projects and platforms that require real-time results. Not only will submissions be processed faster, but you’ll also save costs by eliminating some images before they reach the human moderation team. Be sure your potential partner’s AI covers the categories you require, including text, images and video.

Do you offer combined AI and human moderation services to improve quality and efficiency?

A hybrid approach that includes human and AI services is the ideal solution for image and video moderation. Your moderation partner should be able to advise you on how to best utilize both methodologies to reduce costs, while improving quality.

Do you offer flexible pricing plans that can be tailored to my business needs?

You’ll want to see a menu of moderation services with associated pricing. That way, if you’re launching a platform with small amounts of UGC to start, you’ll have low-cost options to choose from. Equally important is the ability to migrate to custom plans as your volumes increase.

Section 3

Quality

What QA processes do you have in place?

A second line of defense is needed as a failsafe to ensure a quality moderation program. Your partner should have contingency processes in place to review the moderation team’s work.

What kind of training does your moderation team receive on a new project?

Each project is unique. Having a well-established training process in place to ensure moderators are well versed on your specific criteria and the type of content they will be reviewing is a must. This becomes more important as your project scales and more moderators are needed.

What kind of feedback loop exists to ensure errors are addressed immediately?

Your partner should offer a feedback loop API so that your team can report any concerns in real time, and your moderation partner can quickly review the details and disseminate them to the team working on your project.

Do you offer sample moderations to ensure the quality of the work?

What happens when it’s not clear if a piece of content should be approved or rejected? Your partner should be happy to review a sample set of content for you. This not only allows you to check their work, but it familiarizes their team with the type of content they will be reviewing and helps identify any gray areas in the criteria that require further exploration.

Section 4

Safety & Security

Do you crowdsource or do your moderators review all content?

Crowdsourcing can be risky. Learn why.

Do your moderators operate from your offices or work remotely?

Moderators should be operating from a secure and professional location. When moderators are operating from an unmonitored location on their own systems, your private data can be saved, shared and otherwise exposed.

Do you store any of the data we submit to your service?

Your data is just that—your data. It’s important that you understand exactly how your potential moderation partner handles the data they receive. Ideally, they won’t store any of the UGC you send.

Are you GDPR compliant?

It is a must for global companies or those exclusively located in the EU to ensure that their partners comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Be sure to ask your potential moderation partner for their Data Processing Agreement (DPA).

What measures do you take to keep our data safe?

It is important to thoroughly assess the security standards of all third-party vendors. Any vendor that handles sensitive data should perform background checks on employees and have compliance policies that include an Information Systems Security Policy, Physical Office Security Policy, and Disaster Response Policy.

What happens if the Internet goes out at your moderation office?

Your moderation partner should have contingency services from multiple carriers in place and be able to switch seamlessly if needed.

Section 5

Customer Support

Do you operate 24/7?

“UGC never sleeps.” Users tend to expect their content to go live ASAP, which is why a moderation partner offering 24/7/365 availability is essential.

Do you offer 24/7 support?

Knowing how quickly you can expect to receive support help is important with UGC because urgent issues that require a rapid response can arise at any time—from technical problems to disreputable or threatening content.

How long does it take to ramp up a new moderation team?

Live teams all require thorough training; however, an experienced moderation company should be able to ramp up within 10 days if urgent. If it is a true emergency, they should be able to start moderating immediately for “standard” content rules while the team trains on your custom needs.

Section 6

Your Business

To make your initial discussions with a prospective moderation partner more productive, be prepared to answer these questions about your brand and application needs. (You may also want to consider having the provider sign an NDA).

What details can you share about the project and the types of content that are submitted?

Think images, videos, GIFs, profile pictures, user comments, reviews and other content types.

How quickly will you require each image/video/text submission to be moderated?

Speed of review often has cost implications.

What is your projected monthly volume of image/video/text submissions?

For example, you’ll want to have a sense of the average and maximum time length for user-submitted video, or the average and maximum character count for text. This doesn’t need to be exact, but will help the moderation partner gauge the resources required for your project.

What are your moderation criteria needs?

Moderation rules typically average 100+ pages per client, but you should be able to use the provider’s “turnkey criteria” to get started—feel free to use ours. Some criteria can be handled solely by AI solutions, while other requirements require live human moderation.

Would you prefer to use the moderator’s API, or have them integrate with your system?

Some moderation providers give you a choice of integrating with their tools and systems, or having their live moderators log into your own platform.

When would you like the moderation team to start?

Most providers are prepared to begin right away, although it may take a few weeks to train the moderators and develop any rules or processes your particular application may require.

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