Case study

Global marketplace for vacation rentals improves listing verification with tamper-resistant location verification

A global online marketplace implemented Incognia’s Location Verification solution to prevent fake listings, reduce verification friction for good users and increase community trust.

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  • Over 80%
    of new listings are verified automatically
  • 12.8%
    of high-risk devices are flagged for device tampering or suspicious device behavior
  • 2.5%
    of all listing devices are flagged for suspicious device behavior and 1.02% of all listing devices are flagged for device tampering

Company Profile

Online marketplace for homestays and experiences with 150+ million users globally and revenue of 8.4B in 2022.

The Challenge

Fake listings had become a problem for the online marketplace and were negatively impacting customer experience and brand reputation. In November 2022, the platform’s listing verification process was entirely reliant on third party databases to prove that 1) the listing address existed and 2) the host had ownership of (or a relationship to) the listing. Optionally, users could submit document-based proof of address, request a postcard in the mail, or provide geolocation information.

The Solution

Urgently needing to solve the issue of fake listings, the platform decided to make the geolocation check mandatory for any published listing. It chose to implement Incognia's Location Verification solution to introduce tamper-resistant location analysis as an additional listing verification requirement.

Incognia allowed the platform to measure the distance between the host’s device and the property they were attempting to list with very high precision, ensuring that false positives did not interfere with new listings. Over 80% of listings were verified automatically with Incognia, minimizing listing verification friction.  

Additionally, Incognia ensures that devices attempting to spoof or fake their location are blocked, including those using GPS spoofing applications, app tampering techniques, or emulators. 

Incognia was able to identify a high correlation between devices that were tampered with and devices that were associated with 3+ accounts. This demonstrates that bad actors were using device and application tampering techniques to bypass the platform’s device fingerprinting tools and evade the listing verification checks. 

In addition, Incognia enabled a device watchlist that helped the company proactively block listings submitted by devices that had been associated with fake listings in the past. 

Most high risk listings are flagged because the device is not near the listing location (within 300 meters). 12.8% of all high risk listings are flagged because Incognia detects a form of device tampering or suspicious device behavior. For example, 2.5% of high risk devices are associated with 3+ accounts, a very suspicious behavior.

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