A marketplaces and communities case study

How Universe proactively stops abusive user-generated content

Founded in Toronto in 2011, Universe.com – now a Ticketmaster, Live Nation Entertainment company – started as a social sharing platform that quickly evolved into one of the top marketplaces for events globally. With a network of 6.2 million users and a world-class product, Universe empowers thousands of organizers to monetize their brand, business, or ideas through events. They provide organizers with the ability to reach and engage with more buyers, uncover valuable insights on their guests, and ultimately sell more tickets.

10x

Faster at resolving attacks

100%

Elimination of reliance on engineering team for review

Greater opportunity for global market expansion

Told from the perspective of

Marissa Gordon,Director of Customer Success
“After integrating with Sift, our time to resolution has gone down 10x. What used to take hours and days now takes minutes. Sift has saved each of our engineers a few hours a day.”

Overview

Global events marketplace

Universe.com is one of the biggest marketplaces in the world, but with growth comes an increase in bad actors looking to sow the seeds of fraud. Following their rapid expansion to over 3 million active users across the world, Universe began to notice an uptick in fraudulent listings. Even minor spambot attacks were hurting the integrity of their platform. As they continued to grow and expand into new markets, Universe called upon Sift Science to provide them with a holistic fraud and abuse solution.

Challenge

Scaling effectively while building customer trust

In the early days, fraudulent activity on Universe was infrequent enough that each listing and transaction could be reviewed manually. But as the volume of event listings, hosts, and users started increasing rapidly, so did the risks and potential impact of spam, scams, and other fraudulent activity to the community. Attacks were also getting trickier to address as spam was constantly changing form and becoming more creative – and eventually, a major client’s event was attacked.

It was a pivotal moment. They didn’t want customers to be hesitant to host major events for fear of attacks. And the fraud team wanted to stop playing catch up. If a fraudulent event was posted or a spambot started messaging thousands of users – possibly redirecting them off the platform or towards scammy transactions – the team would only find out about it once it was too late. And each attack meant multiple developers would have to drop what they were working on to address the issue in time.

Solution

Real time content abuse and fraud detection, automated

Universe decided they needed help growing their business and maintaining platform integrity and customer trust. They chose Sift Science over other vendors because of the compelling testimonials from Sift’s customers and its global network of 6,000+ customers. Sift Science Content Abuse Prevention and Digital Trust Platform could help Universe to evaluate host and user behavior and posted content to ensure an abuse-free user experience.

Sift also helps Universe to detect bad users, stopping them before they can even post content. Onboarding only took a week to get the model set up so most review could be automated. Sift enables Universe to keep up with the ever-evolving types of spam, while their machine learning model allows them to be proactive – rather than reactive – at fighting it.

“Now with Sift, the review process is automated. I create a workflow based on different parameters and business logic based on the Sift Scores, and I let the solution do its review, in real time. No more developer time, and faster, more accurate abuse detection.”

Results

Content abuse managed and user experience improved

Instead of reacting to attacks, Universe can now proactively prevent fraud before malicious content is posted. Universe was also able to reduce their reliance on the engineering team for abuse and fraud management by almost 100%. For Universe, happy, returning hosts and users and high levels of engagement are crucial to the platform’s success. The team’s goal is to have full automation, and then use Sift’s console dashboard as a gateway not only into detecting bad behavior, but for better understanding the activity of good users.

Universe also has greater confidence in entering new markets. Not only is Sift’s machine learning technology language agnostic, which means language patterns associated with content abuse can be easily detected across dialects, but customers benefit from the global network of user data to support limited expertise in local markets. With Sift, Universe is prepared to explore new opportunities globally while remaining a leader in the events marketplace.

“Sift has paved the way for us to scale our community effectively while building and maintaining user trust. Not only have they provided a real-time, automated solution for us to manage all types of fraud and content abuse, Sift has allowed us to confidently accelerate into new markets globally.”

—Craig Follett, Co-founder & CEO, Universe.com

A network of trust

Online businesses face a variety of fraud and abuse threats. With over 12,000 sites on our platform, we collect, analyze, and learn from 100s of millions of events every day. Let’s fight fraud together.