about-fraud.com is a website created in, March of 2017. Following a revamped launch in August, about-fraud.com is publishing this interview with the co-founders to explain their motives for creating and operating the site. Below are Ronald Praetsch, PJ Rohall and Ronen Shnidman’s answers to those questions and a look ahead at how about-fraud.com will cultivate unique connections between users and providers.
about-fraud.com: Why did you create the about-fraud.com website?
RP: I decided to launch about-fraud.com because the industry needed a matchmaker for businesses with fraud problems and the large, diverse group of solution providers. This didn’t exist when I entered the field a decade ago and the provider landscape has only grown more complex.
Years back, I realized that several of my peers created their own market overviews to stay on top of the market, so I began my own. Over time this overview grew.
Meanwhile, too many opportunities for learning, advancement and win-win deals were being lost due to a lack of transparency and consolidated knowledge in the ecosystem. about-fraud.com seeks to solve that problem by being an industry information hub for people looking for fraud solutions and knowledge on how to prevent fraud in various forms and market verticals.
After launching the site, I linked up with two like-minded people who were enthusiastic about driving growth and enhancing value. Our combination of knowledge, perspective and skill set complement one another nicely. We are excited to launch a platform and information hub that will benefit so many in the card-not-present industry.
AF: Why did you join about-fraud.com as co-founders?
PR: In one word, necessity. about-fraud.com is building something the card-not-present fraud industry desperately needs and has needed for a while. Since I entered e-commerce fraud in 2011, the ecosystem of fraud solution providers has exploded. As an industry professional, I study the competitive landscape, value propositions and the varying layers of solutions. It was a challenge for me to keep up with everything. What I found even more concerning was the lack of transparency and organization around the expanding group of providers and technology. If this was the experience I was having, I knew merchants (and other online businesses) with a fraud problem were at an extreme disadvantage when it came to understanding card-not-present fraud and finding the right solutions.
I joined about-fraud.com to create a platform that simplifies this complexity. I want to enable users to effectively assess value, compare options and make informed business decisions. I want a platform that establishes an easier way to understand the macro level mix of changing fraud solutions and to develop appropriate functionality, user friendly design and valuable provider information. Most importantly, it should deliver an experience that enables users to easily access the knowledge they need to find the right solution(s) for their fraud problem.
RS: I joined about-fraud.com because I want to facilitate more and deeper conversations in the fraud prevention space about methods for preventing fraud and their pros and cons. As an ex-trade journalist, I think every healthy ecosystem needs and has these conversations via trade media sites that serve as open platforms for discussions.
Through my work at PIPL I’ve become fully aware of how most fraud prevention techniques on the market only offer partial prevention. An ideal, complete solution needs to add layers of several different approaches to be truly effective in preventing fraudsters in any merchant vertical. Today, the merchant buyers aren’t truly aware of what is on the market and what they should be looking for to maximize their sales revenue.
I joined about-fraud.com as a co-founder to ensure that the content on the site furthers user education among merchants so that they can find the right solutions to their problems with minimal fuss. Along the way, I hope we can provide content that also informs other industry stakeholders about how they can improve the solutions or chargeback protection they offer merchants by exposing and filling gaps in their current approaches.
AF: What do you think is the biggest problem facing the fraud ecosystem today?
PR: How businesses and fraud solution providers understand and define performance. Chargeback rate and false positives are at the top of everyone’s list, and rightfully so. However, there are deeper dives that need to be done, other metrics layered in, and qualitative performance indicators that are important when understanding overall solution performance.
Let’s take false positives for example. Misidentifying customers as fraudsters and blocking their transactions kills revenue and everyone knows that. False positives also hurt future revenue by sending disgruntled customers packing. This is becoming more frequently discussed, however customer lifetime value still does not receive it’s just due. The compounding revenue lost year over year is far more detrimental than the individual false-positive alone. To add on, this is just one piece of the customer lifetime puzzle. Are you risking orders in real time? How quickly are you reviewing orders that are flagged for investigation? Are your timeframes held to SLA’s and aligned to shipping cutoff? How seamlessly does your fraud operations team resolve customer inquiries regarding canceled orders? If you decide to look pre-transaction and cross-functional, you can explore the costs associated with acquiring the recently departed customer.
Instead of focusing on just false positive rate, you should have an umbrella term such as customer experience. This is where false-positives, customer lifetime value and other qualitative assessments roll into. It provides a more holistic view of how your fraud solution is converting good customers, retaining them and providing a frictionless experience that meets the quick-souring expectations of today’s consumer. Of course, managing fraud losses is very important as well, so these examples only apply to one side of the double edged sword we all love.
AF: What do you think is the biggest opportunity presented by the fraud ecosystem today?
RS: There is a lot of data out there today that is already gathered and can be used to prevent fraud. These data sources can be used to augment the effectiveness of existing fraud prevention solutions and increase transaction acceptance rates without duplicating the efforts of existing solution providers. All stakeholders have the opportunity to integrate these data sources into their fraud workflows for a net gain for everyone involved. There is no good reason why this hasn’t been done before now. It’s just a lack of awareness across all stakeholders in the space. Hopefully, about-fraud.com will help change that. The benefits of adopting a cooperative approach through the data supply chain will accrue to everyone including the end-consumer, merchants, payment service providers, acquirers and fraud solution providers. All it takes is a greater awareness of the existence of these ready-made data sources and a commitment toward integrating them into the payment flow.
AF: In what direction do you see about-fraud.com developing going forward?
RP: The most important thing I can emphasize is about-fraud.com is always evolving and finding new ways to facilitate valuable connections. Also, we love feedback from our community. If you have ideas on how we can provide a more valuable experience, please reach out via the website or email directly to email@example.com. Here is a brief overview:
- The providers page will be the go to spot for understanding all fraud solutions in the card-not-present ecosystem. about-fraud.com will continually improve design, functionality and information until every user can easily find the solution and information they are looking for.
- In an effort to enhance simplicity and streamlined navigation, about-fraud.com will not house all the information that is valuable to our users. However, we will be the hub that organizes external links to a variety of destinations to enhance your knowledge and understanding. These links will be located and formatted in manner that syncs up with the providers’ information.
- We would like to develop educational content on the site to provide greater knowledge to solution buyers on what they should be looking for in a solution and how they should be using it. This includes, interviews and thought leadership pieces by both industry leaders and fraud practitioners in the trenches.
AF: How many fraud providers and types of fraud do you expect the providers page to cover at full scale?
PR: That’s a very difficult question to answer. There will never be an exact number of providers we are looking to add. Similarly, we will never have a finite number of fraud types these providers address. The reason for this is that the card-not-present fraud space is always changing and evolving, and the fraud solutions and flavors of fraud will never sit still. That being said, types of fraud are easier to define right now. Our platform moves well beyond payments fraud, including account takeover, fake accounts, promotions abuse, loyalty abuse, content abuse, identity, and KYC/AML. As new providers emerge and effectively manage fraud and abuse in the card-not-present space, we will happily welcome them to our platform. Similarly, as the types of fraud change and/or become more nuanced we will look to expand the range of solutions to address these new avenues of fraud and abuse.
AF: What sort of content are you looking for from contributors?
RS: We will take all sorts of contributed content from infographics to articles and special reports. We are willing to publish anything that adds value to industry conversations and meets our “Contributor Guidelines.” Some of the content we are especially interested in receiving right now includes:
- Insight interviews or thought leadership pieces from industry consultants.
- Articles recounting the development and history of fraud prevention techniques (e.g. AVS, 3-D Secure, etc.)
- Interviews with fraud analysts at merchants
If you have anything you’d like to contribute, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AF: Is there room at about-fraud.com for more people to contribute on a volunteer basis?
RP: We are always looking for people who can add value to our site. Beyond those contributing one-off pieces of content for the Insights section, we could use regular contributors with expertise in different areas of fraud. Anyone who would like to become a regular writer should get in touch. We could also use help in developing and maintaining industry relationships for our providers’ page. Anyone with a marketing background and a desire to get their hands dirty is welcome to join. To become active in about-fraud.com on a regular basis, please reach out to me at email@example.com.