Improving Our Service Quality
The Z Holdings Group has committed itself to increasing customer satisfaction. To that end, it has created a help page that is updated to reflect questions raised by customers and has implemented a variety of other service initiatives, including e-mail and chat support, fraud checks, and website monitoring. Moving forward, the Group will work to improve customer support services and systems, with the goal of further increasing customer satisfaction.
Quality Preservation Initiatives
The group companies of the Z Holdings Group provide a wide variety of services such as Internet business, commerce business and financial services.
Yahoo Japan Corporation (“Yahoo! JAPAN”)
Yahoo! JAPAN, which has over 100 services, has a department to examine service operations and product quality, and to proofread texts to be published, in order to maintain the high quality of services and increase ease of use.
LINE Corporation (“LINE”)
The services of LINE Group is used by people from many different countries with diverse cultural backgrounds. In order to provide valuable services that can be used safely and securely by a diverse range of users, the LINE Group pays respect to the diverse cultures of the markets in which it operates, and makes its utmost efforts to pursue products and services that will provide true satisfaction to the users.
ASKUL Corporation (“ASKUL”)
To enable the customers to purchase products safely, ASKUL conducts various measures to improve and stabilize product quality. In particular, with the cooperation of the suppliers, product quality is improved for private label products through on-site inspection of factories and production lines as well as verification of documents.
Basic Policy on Accessibility
Yahoo! JAPAN works to guarantee accessibility so that our web contents can be accessed by as many people, and in as many situations as possible.
On June 20, 2013, Yahoo! JAPAN released its Web Accessibility Policy. It was then updated on August 1, 2016 to conform with Japanese Industrial Standards, JIS X 8341-3:2016 (Guidelines for Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities - Information and Communications Equipment, Software, and Services-Part 3: Web Content). In 2017, Yahoo! JAPAN became a member of Web Accessibility Infrastructure Committee, an initiative by Info-access Communication Council. Moving on, we will spread JIS X 8341-3 and participate in various activities in order to build infrastructure necessary for enhancing web accessibility.
Color Vision Verification for Website on the Business Integration of Z Holdings Corporation and LINE
In the website launched to commemorate the business integration of Z Holdings Corporation and LINE on March 1, 2021 and other related websites, Z Holdings Corporation conducted color vision verification in order to increase the accessibility of the website to as many customers as possible. Focusing on the areas where red and green, the corporate colors of each company, are used, it verified whether there are any problems with the visibility of text and contrast ratios by using tools and by having actual people with color vision diversity visually check the websites. As a result, it was able to make some improvements, such as correcting the text placed on the photos and videos, and correcting the blinking in the videos to the extent possible. In addition, many people became aware of the existence of "color vision diversity" itself, and sent many responses.
Establishment of Support Systems/Improving Customer Support
The Z Holdings Group has various ways of providing high-quality customer support.
Improvements to Help Page
Yahoo! JAPAN provides a help page link in all of its services to assist customers in smoothly addressing the issues that arise during the use of Yahoo! JAPAN services. Help page information reflects customer questions and is frequently updated to ensure that the customer can easily locate the answers they need.
Customer Support Provided by Dedicated Staff
Yahoo! JAPAN has established contact points for each of its Yahoo! JAPAN services, wherein its dedicated employees offer support by responding to customer inquiries. In addition to its conventional email-based support, it also use Chatbot, a chat function that is highly compatible with Internet services.
Yahoo! JAPAN provides free support services via phone and e-mail to business owners using Yahoo! JAPAN Promotional Ads and Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping. In addition to offering services and tools, Yahoo! JAPAN believes that assisting in their use is an important part of its function to support its business partners.
LINE has set up a dedicated LINE inquiry form and has established a system where its professional staff can assist customers with their issues. For some of its services, dedicated staff give manned support through LINE Official Accounts.
LINE also provides information on how to use and set up LINE through various media so that LINE users can solve their problems without having to contact LINE through the inquiry form.
Help Center: A comprehensive collection of articles explaining how to use LINE, as well as articles related to questions and problems that arise when using LINE. Help Center can also be accessed from each of LINE’s services.
LINE Guidebook for All: Contains articles explaining the basic ways of using LINE in an easy-to-understand manner with images, as well as announcements about LINE services.
Support Official Account: An Official Account in which AI bot answers questions from customers in LINE chat room (e.g. LINE Quick Help, LINE Pay Inquiries)
LINE Customer Care Japan: Official YouTube channel that provides videos explaining how to use the LINE app. Videos are also available in the Help Center and LINE Guidebook for All.
ASKUL publishes and distributes its “MIND BOOK,” which summarizes messages received from customers, case studies, and episodes, opinions and views that ASKUL wishes to share in order to further improve customer satisfaction and to increase engagement with the customers. This “MIND BOOK” clarifies ASKUL’s customer service level and penetrates a service mindset. The “MIND BOOK” is distributed in ASKUL’s customer service desk and in the company’s training for new entrants. The book provides the employees with the opportunity to reflect on what they can do to improve services and to trigger awareness across the company, as the book is also used as hands-on training material in the customer service desk.
AI chatbots that answer inquiries from customers in online chat conversations are introduced in various services: “Manami san” for LOHACO; “Aoi kun” for SOLOEL ARENA; and ASKUL websites. The chatbots bring efficiency in customer response, reduce personnel required, and improves customer satisfaction through speedy responses.
Awards Received by the Customer Service Desk (Contact Center)
Awards received by the Customer Service Desk (Contact Center) are as follows.
Since its establishment, ASKUL Customer Service Desk has followed its DNA of "evolving for the customer" and has been thoroughly customer-oriented. In the future, the ASKUL Customer Service Desk will continue to improve the quality of its responses and its products and services, and will continue its efforts to evolve in new ways to satisfy customers and foster their affection towards ASKUL.
|2019||Awarded 2019 CRM BEST PRACTICE AWARD from CRM Association Japan.
Awarded in recognition of the company’s efforts to link the chatbot “Aoi kun” with order data.
|2017||SOLOEL ARENA customer service desk received 3 Stars for the fourth consecutive year in HDI-Japan “2017 Customer Service Rating.” Received a 3-star rating as a result of quality improvement and improvement activities.|
|2016||Both SOLOEL ARENA customer service desk (third consecutive year) and ASKUL customer service desk received 3 Stars in HDI-Japan “2016 Customer Service Rating.”
Both call centers received a three-star rating as a result of quality improvements made through improvement activities for customer-oriented responses.
|2015||SOLOEL ARENA customer service desk received 3 Stars for the second consecutive year in HDI-Japan “2015 Customer Service Rating.”
Received a 3-star rating as a result of quality improvement and improvement activities.
|2014||SOLOEL ARENA customer service desk received 3 Stars in HDI-Japan “2014 Customer Service Rating.”
Received a 3-star rating as a result of quality improvement and improvement activities.
|2012||Awarded 2012 CRM BEST PRACTICE AWARD from CRM Association Japan.
Awarded in recognition of the company’s efforts to proactively reflect customer feedback in its management strategies.
|2011||Awarded RIC TELECOM 8th Contact Center Award 2011, Best Operation Division.
Awarded in recognition of the systematic implementation of Twitter response and active management.
|2010||Awarded RIC TELECOM 7th Contact Center Award 2010, Best People Division.
Awarded in recognition of the company’s efforts in human resource development, improving customer service through communicator participation measures.
|Received a 3 Stars (best award) in HDI-Japan “2010 Customer Service Rating.”
ASKUL Arena Customer Center (currently SOLOEL ARENA customer service desk) received 3 starts as a result of quality improvement and improvement activities.
|2006||Awarded 2006 CRM BEST PRACTICE AWARD from CRM Association Japan.
Awarded in recognition of the establishment of the “Synchro Model,” a corporate model at ASKUL.
ZOZO, Inc. (“ZOZO”)
Approximately 9.5 million customers use ZOZOTOWN in a year, and ZOZO places importance on actively incorporating the feedback received from customers every day in its service operation. The underlying principle in ZOZO’s customer support center is “Become friends with the customers.” The customer support center supports customers as if they are helping their friends in trouble and make daily efforts to make the customers happy.
Furthermore, it was awarded the first “HDI Five Star Recognition” in the apparel industry, the highest award in the “HDI Five Star Recognition Program*.” ZOZO was awarded the same recognition twice in a row in 2019,
- *The “HDI Five Star Recognition Program” is a comprehensive evaluation of support center operations and employee management for companies that have received three stars in the “HDI Rating Benchmark” for providing outstanding services from the customer’s perspective. It is a proof of the support center’s ability to contribute to real business that is recognized both inside and outside of the company. The “Five Star Recognition” is valid for two years, and ZOZO undergoes a screening every two years.
Measurement and Improvements to Customer Satisfaction
Since 2003, shortly after the start of its services, Yahoo! JAPAN has been employing various methods to gather customer voices, and to use their voices in continuous functional upgrades and improvements as well as future service development.
Satisfaction Survey for Periodic Monitoring of NPS* and Own “Problem-Solving Indices”
Once every quarter, customer satisfaction is measured through questionnaires on over 200 services provided by Yahoo! JAPAN and its competitors.
The questionnaires consist of questions that measure the NPS* and Yahoo! JAPAN’s own “problem-solving indices.” The responses are analyzed in combination with other business indices by the company’s research division to gauge how much each service has grown. The questionnaire results are shared not only with the divisions in charge but with all employees so that all employees can check the positions of the services provided by their own company.
For some services, a dedicated team specialized in each domain performs additional NPS* analysis using its own method, to help refine the service according to more specific indices.
- *NPS (Net Promoter Score/System): A metric developed by Fred Reichheld, a Bain & Company fellow, to measure how much confidence and loyalty users feel to a company or a service.
Service Improvement Based on Customer Feedback
Requests and opinions received daily by the Customer Support and posts and repercussions in the social media are reported by dedicated staff to the persons responsible for the services, and are used to improve the services.
Yahoo! JAPAN asks the customers their satisfaction level on the responses made by the Customer Support, in order to raise the quality of their responses.
The feedback from the customers has been used as a valuable input for making various service improvements, such as the addition of a decoration function to Yahoo! JAPAN Calendar and the issuance of receipts from purchase order history in Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping and PayPay Mall.
In addition, Yahoo! JAPAN has introduced a system to immediately share customer feedback internally by setting up feedback forms for each of Yahoo! JAPAN services, and for some of its services it has set up the "Supporters Clubs" to organize "core fans" of Yahoo! JAPAN services. Yahoo! JAPAN also conducts activities for interaction between customers and developers. For the renewal of Yahoo! JAPAN Mail in 2021, interviews with Supporters Club members and their impressions of the new UI were utilized to improve the service. In addition, feedback from interviews with the customer support center staff and operation checks by test users recruited from the general staff within the company were taken into account to improve the service from the customer's perspective. Through these mechanisms, Yahoo! JAPAN can quickly recognize customer needs as they arise and develop systems to continuously improve the quality of Yahoo! JAPAN services.
Requests and opinions received through the LINE inquiry form are reported by the dedicated staff to its service staff for improvement.
LINE also conducts questionnaires on customer service responses to customers who have made inquiries, in an effort to improve the quality of its customer support.
Dialogues with Stakeholders
In order to continue being a user-first company that solves social issues, Yahoo! JAPAN holds discussions with persons in related positions in the form of stakeholder dialogues.
In March 2021, Yahoo! JAPAN invited Ms. Atsuko Hattori, who specializes in social innovation, to discuss the future aspired by the Z Holdings Group with Hiroshi Kataoka, President of Media Services, Group, and Shuichi Nishida, President of Social Responsibility Promotion Group of Yahoo Japan Corporation. Their discussions were based on the activities conducted from March 11, 2011, when the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake hit, to present.
Implementation of Screening and Inspections
To ensure that its e-commerce services, such as Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping and YAHUOKU!, remain safe and secure, Yahoo! JAPAN screens stores when they are opened and carry out inspections for prohibited items. In addition, round-the-clock monitoring is conducted for Yahoo! JAPAN News and Yahoo! JAPAN Knowledge Search based on the guidelines to ensure that there are no unauthorized postings or postings containing personal information. Yahoo! JAPAN also strengthens countermeasures against inappropriate postings by making full use of cutting-edge AI technology.
Countermeasures Against Inappropriate Comments Using In-House AI and Proprietary Supercomputer “kukai”
In order to strengthen countermeasures against "comments with little relevance to the article" and "offending comments" in the Yahoo! JAPAN News Comment in Yahoo! JAPAN News, Yahoo! JAPAN is sequentially implementing countermeasures starting in 2019, utilizing its cutting-edge "judgment model (AI) based on natural language processing using deep learning" and its proprietary supercomputer, “kukai.”
Until then, patrols were conducted using human visual confirmation and machine learning (AI) to delete violative comments and suspend accounts of malicious users, but this judgment model has improved the number of violative comments detected by 2.2 times. Yahoo! JAPAN is striving to eliminate inappropriate postings by using the detection results to delete violative comments and improve the display order (patent pending). In the future, Yahoo! JAPAN plans to use this technology in other services where users post reviews.
From the fall of 2020, Yahoo! JAPAN began providing AI that calculates scores based on evaluation axes such as “statements that provoke discussion based on one's own opinions" and "statements that are objective and provide evidence if necessary." This AI is provided free of charge to external parties, and as of May 2021, it has been introduced by several external posting service providers. Through this initiative, Yahoo! JAPAN hopes to engage the industry as a whole in a lively discussion on how to promote a healthy Internet space in Japan.
Purpose of Monitoring
LINE's corporate mission is "CLOSING THE DISTANCE," which aims to shorten the distance between people, and between people and information and services around the world, and to create comfortable relationships.
In order to ensure that the services provided by LINE can be used safely, securely and comfortably, LINE is doing its utmost to maintain the soundness of its services through patrols.
LINE has created guidelines for this purpose, and by immediately making posts that violate these guidelines private, it is able to prevent unpleasant posts from catching the attention of many users.
Subject of Monitoring
In all 147 countries where LINE services are provided, LINE patrols the public areas* where users are free to post and view.
If any violations are detected, the postings will be made private. In addition, users who repeatedly violate the rules of use will be suspended or forced to leave the service.
In addition to patrolling through systems, all reports from users are also checked by the patrol team.
In addition, if a user reports a problem in a private area such as LINE Chat or Timeline, the content will be checked based on the user's consent.
- *In accordance with the protection of the confidentiality of communications, LINE does not patrol private areas, such as messages exchanged between individuals on LINE Chat, or fiends-only posts on Timeline.
In accordance with LINE's policies, LINE has established posting standards in order to ensure that users can use the services safely and securely, and these standards are made available to all users.
In addition to the above-mentioned posting standards, LINE updates the detailed rules more than 10 times a month for some services, in accordance with the ever-changing social situation and SNS trends (such as fake news and slander against third parties), cultures of each country, usage scenarios and needs, etc.
LINE has monitoring centers in five countries/six locations around the world, and patrols around the clock, 365 days a year.
All languages are supported, including Japanese, English, Chinese, Thai, and Indonesian. All postings are reviewed by operators within 30 minutes, and any violations that are detected are immediately made private.
LINE also regularly holds meetings with representatives from each country to discuss issues and ways to help protect the integrity of the service.
A large number of user posted materials are posted on LINE and other LINE services.
In order to quickly and reliably detect and remove problematic items from these numerous user postings, LINE has developed a patrol platform as a system that can be used by multiple services, and has established a system for checking postings.
The patrol platform enables quick incorporation of innovative technologies in a centralized manner, while making adjustments optimized for each service, thus realizing an environment for confirming user postings that matches the characteristics of each individual service.
The patrol platform uses AI to automatically determine the risk of user-posted materials, including text and images that violate laws and regulations.
This AI is a system for detecting violating posted materials that is optimized for LINE services.
By combining AI and human patrols, LINE is able to quickly and accurately detect violating user content and ensure the integrity of the LINE service.
Cooperation With Related Organizations
To realize a social media environment that can be used safely and securely, LINE strives to address issues on social networking services in cooperation with related businesses that provide communication services and applications, as well as Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the National Police Agency, and other related ministries and agencies.
Protection of Children’s Privacy – Yahoo! JAPAN
Yahoo Japan Corporation publishes “Protection of Children’s Privacy,” an awareness-raising content on privacy, targeting users aged 15 and under who use the Internet services provided in Yahoo! JAPAN, and their guardians.
“Children’s Public Comments” Held in Collaboration With the Japan Committee for UNICEF
In order to reflect children’s voices in an action plan to end violence against children (“National Action Plan to End Violence Against Children”) jointly initiated by ministries and NPOs, including the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan Committee for UNICEF and Yahoo! JAPAN invited public comments. Voices collected in “Children’s Public Comments” are delivered to “Roundtable Working Group to End Violence Against Children,” which is formulating the action plan. Moving on, Yahoo! JAPAN will continue to work so that the voices in “Children’s Public Comments” will be reflected in the future action plans.
Measures Against “Bullying” Conducted in Collaboration With MEXT
In collaboration with Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Yahoo! JAPAN Kids Search has introduced a system so that “Children’s Rescue 24-hour Dial in Number” will be displayed at the upper part of the search results when words related to bullying are searched (e.g. “bullying, consulting,” “bullying, absence from school”). In this way, Yahoo! JAPAN hopes that children suffering from bullying will be able to easily reach reliable consultants and hopes to contribute to the solving of their problems.
Providing Japan’s First-of-the-Kind Image Search Function Designed for Children
In October 2020, Yahoo! JAPAN Kids Search began a child-safe image search function that filters out information inappropriate for children. Yahoo! JAPAN Kids had already put in place a filtered search mechanism to prevent inappropriate pages from being shown in the search results, and the new function augments the protection for young users, by keeping them safe from the visual information that may have harmful effects on their healthy mental and physical growth.
By providing an Internet environment safe and secure for children, Yahoo! JAPAN will continuously contribute to expanding the future possibilities for children.
LINE’s Approaches for Minors
As part of its effort to ensure safe and secure use of LINE by minors, LINE Corporation raised the app store age rating for the LINE iOS app (for the iPhone) to 12+ in January 2020. This means that guardians are able to use the iOS' parental control features to manage their child's LINE use.
As another step to ensure safe and secure usage for minors, LINE Corporation also confirms that the user is 18 years old or older, by using the age verification function provided by mobile carriers. When this age requirement cannot be confirmed, the company puts restrictions on some of LINE functions, such as LINE ID Search, to keep the user away from troubles associated with the use of meet-a-mate sites.
To help minors stay out of trouble and use LINE appropriately, LINE MIRAI Foundation creates information moral education materials and distributes them through its website and seminars. To date, the Foundation has given more than 10,000 awareness-raising lectures to elementary, junior high, and high school students, guardians, and teachers across Japan at their places.
Establishment of Social Media Association of Japan
Together with other companies that provide social media and other communication services and applications, LINE established the Social Media Association of Japan (SMAJ).
The entire industry is working together to strengthen measures to deal with various social media issues, including child victimization on the social media.
Cooperation with Police Agencies
In January 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding was concluded with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on the prevention of delinquency and harm among children and students in the Internet space, in order to promote effective activities to this end. The two entities are jointly implementing the "Learning Together - TOKYO Internet Classroom" at elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools in Tokyo.
In May 2018, an agreement was concluded with the Kanagawa Prefectural Police and the Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education on measures to prevent delinquency and damage caused by the Internet, with the aim of improving information morals and raising awareness of norms in order to prevent bullying, delinquency, damage, and trouble caused by Internet use. In collaboration with the Kanagawa Prefectural Police and the Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education, LINE continues to conduct surveys of children who are delinquent or victims of delinquency due to Internet use, with the aim of ascertaining the actual status of Internet use. Based on the results of the survey, LINE developed and released an information moral education material, “Let’s Think About How We Can Best Use the Social Media!” in June 2021. The purpose of this initiative is to help young people acquire the ability to make autonomous decisions and take appropriate actions on the Internet.
Counseling Using LINE
Starting with the "Counseling Service for Bullying and Suicide Prevention Using LINE" which was launched in Nagano Prefecture and Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture in 2017, LINE is now being used by a wide range of generations and for different types of counseling. By registering as a friend of the LINE Official Account for counseling, users can consult with certified SNS counselors and other counselors through LINE Chat. LINE provides free accounts for LINE counseling services that meet certain conditions, such as those provided by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
In addition, the Social Media Counseling Association has been established to provide counseling services and information through the social networking service. This association provides support to those who are troubled, and also provides training for counselors who are in charge of social media counseling.
Improvements to Advertisement Service Quality
Transparency Report on Advertising Service Quality
To ensure that its advertisers, advertising agencies, ad distribution partners and users are able to use Yahoo! JAPAN services and advertisements safely, Yahoo! JAPAN discloses its “Transparency Report on Advertising Service Quality,” which summarizes its screening results to enhance its advertising service quality.
Through screening, it takes strict actions against advertisements such as, unsupported “number one” statements, advertising materials that make viewers feel uncomfortable, such as those that overemphasize a person's complex, and false or misleading advertising of cosmetics and health food products that is in violation of the “Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Products Including Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices” (Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Act).
In fiscal 2020, Yahoo! JAPAN disapproved approximately 170 million pieces* of advertising materials in Yahoo! JAPAN Ads, for reasons such as conflict with top-level labeling and No.1 labeling.
Yahoo! JAPAN also distributes ads to partner websites and apps in addition to the websites and apps of Yahoo! JAPAN, and the report also carries screening results in these partner websites and apps as well as screening results of ad traffic.
Through the periodic publication of the report, Yahoo! JAPAN will continuously strive to deliver a platform that can be used safely by our advertisers, advertising agencies, ad distribution partners, and users.
- *The total of disapproved items (ad titles, descriptions, images, linked websites, keywords, etc.) that were judged as being in conflict with Yahoo! JAPAN ad publishing guidelines, ad submission rules, and ad sales rules; not the number of advertisements themselves.
Ad Quality Diamond
In order to have all of the users and advertisers use the services of Yahoo! JAPAN safely, Yahoo! JAPAN has defined “Three values and six measures in advertisement quality” as “Ad quality diamond” (below), and is taking measures to maintain and enhance its advertisement quality.
As measures to eradicate ad frauds, one of the issues confronted, Yahoo! JAPAN has revised the guidelines related to ad distribution in October 2018. As a result of the re-screening it conducted until the end of March 2019, it terminated the distribution of approximately 5,900 (*1) ads that were in violation of the guidelines.
Yahoo! JAPAN has reinforced its screening since, and has denied 18% of new applications for ad distributions in the first half of fiscal 2020, and 22% in second half of fiscal 2020, mainly in cases that fell under “Individuals and unknown vendors.”
Yahoo! JAPAN will address the quality problems held by Japan's Internet advertisement industry, develop its own quality standards that reflect Japan's situation in reference to the global standards, and take a lead in securing a healthier advertisement industry.
- *1 Number of domains. The advertisement is counted twice if it is distributed to the same website in both PC and smartphone.
- *2 There are overlaps in the counts if requests for screening were sent for the same website from different request channels.
Enhancing Standards of Publishable Advertisements Regarding Usefulness of Advertisements
In May 2019, Yahoo! JAPAN has enhanced its standards of publishable advertisements regarding usefulness of advertisements, in order to offer more useful advertisements to its users and to let them have better advertisement experience. Although measures had been taken from before, there were problems where, among the websites whose main purpose is to have users click advertisements, etc., many of them appear to have non-fulfilling contents or include misleading expressions. In order to remove such advertisements not useful to the users, Yahoo! JAPAN has decided to prohibit pay-for-performance websites (including affiliate sites) and those we have determined as equivalent to them from listing advertisements, with exceptions to some websites and advertisements.
Improvements to Advertisement Screening System
Internet advertising and marketing methods are being increasingly relied upon. In order to ensure that advertisements are useful and reach a wider audience, Yahoo! JAPAN, as an ad distribution platform operator, is working to increase the reliability of the advertising methods and the advertisements themselves, as well as heighten its value as advertisement media. Yahoo! JAPAN has established standards of acceptability for publishable advertisements in terms of the content of the ad to be distributed, appearance, and language. Ads are screened before and after they are posted.
Yahoo! JAPAN also collects user feedback on ads through dedicated comment forms, and examines and analyzes the content of the feedback. From before, the results have been reflected in the review of standards and the screening of advertisements. Recently, in August 2020, Yahoo! JAPAN called for a thorough ban on the placement of advertisements that explicitly refer to inferiority complex, and in January 2021, it began suspending the placement of advertisements that receive a lot of negative feedback from users. Through these efforts, Yahoo! JAPAN is promoting initiatives to further improve the quality of advertisements.
In addition, Yahoo! JAPAN participates in the activities of Japan Interactive Advertising Association (JIAA), Japan Advertising Review Organization (JARO), and other organizations to determine independent guidelines to be observed within the industry. As part of these efforts, it collects information, including comments and concerns about advertisements published not only on the Internet but on all types of media, for use in advertisement screening.
Yahoo! JAPAN’s Initiatives Towards Issues Raised in the “Final Report on the Evaluation of Competition in the Digital Advertising Market”
Yahoo! JAPAN’s initiatives to improve the quality of advertising services outlined above address each of the issues noted in the “Final Report on the Evaluation of Competition in the Digital Advertising Market” published by the Secretariat of the Headquarters for Digital Market Competition of Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat in April 2021. The following items that have been conducted have been disclosed.
＜Transparency and quality improvement>
- Issues related to the quality of digital advertising
- Unclear pricing and transaction details
- Acceptance of third-party measurement tools, etc.
＜Confirmation methods for advertisers in ad distribution>
＜Handling of users' personal data>
Through anti-fraud measures and functional improvements, Yahoo! JAPAN will continue to aim to become a platform that advertisers, advertising companies, and ad distribution partners can use with peace of mind.
Measures to Improve Service Quality of Media Content Services
Formulation of Media Policy
Yahoo! JAPAN offers media services such as Yahoo! JAPAN News, which are designed to deliver information published by various media to users. A vast amount of information circulates on the Internet, and one of the largest issues people face is how they can encounter information that is important to society and that can arouse new interests. Looking forward, in order to solve these issues while seeking understanding of users and various media, and gaining trust as an information distributer and a platform to gather information, Yahoo! JAPAN has outlined a basic policy to address these issues in the Media Policy of Yahoo! JAPAN.
Policies and Measures on Human Rights in the Media Services of Yahoo! JAPAN
Yahoo! JAPAN regards that respect for human rights is the cornerstone of its media services.
In the Media Policy of Yahoo! JAPAN, Yahoo! JAPAN stipulates its commitment “to show respect for human rights, and to protect the freedom of expression and the right to know.” It also stipulates its “responsibility in handling information with sensitivity to differing values” and vows to “continue to be a platform to promote understanding and good judgement, unconstrained by specific authorities, organizations, ideologies, or principles.” Yahoo! JAPAN also sets forth its policy on article distribution. The policy is implemented through collaborations with content providers (media companies) who disseminate information. Yahoo! JAPAN constantly endeavors to provide information properly.
Establishment of Guidelines, Etc.
Content providers are expected to deliver high-quality, dignified and reliable articles that abide by laws, regulations, and social norms.
Users posting comments, etc. are also expected to comply with guidelines that promote respect for human rights. Yahoo! JAPAN sets forth protocols on writing comments to raise the awareness among its users. In case inappropriate posts are made, such as slandering comments, violation report functions are set in place to ensure quick actions. A dedicated team patrols the websites round the clock while cutting-edge AI technologies are also used to analyze sentences to detect inappropriate posts. Thus, Yahoo! JAPAN continues to step up measures to detect inappropriate posts quickly and to respond to them quickly.
Establishment of Contact Points
Contact points are prepared mainly in Yahoo! JAPAN News and other services to facilitate quick actions when users notify issues related to human rights in the functions provided by Yahoo! JAPAN, such as content and comments.
Panel of Experts
Yahoo! JAPAN has established an external panel of experts to receive opinions on the appropriate provision of media services.
Initiatives for Transparency
Yahoo! JAPAN has established the "Panel on the Operation of Platform Services" to formulate the voluntary rules necessary for platform operators to provide services that users can use with peace of mind. Yahoo! JAPAN has received opinions from experts in various fields through this panel. In December 2020, Yahoo! JAPAN received a proposal from the panel urging platform operators to review and strengthen their voluntary efforts and to make their efforts more transparent in order to deal with postings that are libelous or defamatory toward individuals. Yahoo! JAPAN has thus formulated a policy for dealing with postings that are libelous or defamatory toward individuals and future policy. Yahoo! JAPAN will continue to further strengthen its response and make its voluntary efforts more transparent.
Issuance of LINE Transparency Report
LINE regularly publishes the "LINE Transparency Report" to report on how LINE handles the data entrusted to it in order to maintain and operate its various services, and to disclose its stance on platform management.
In the "User Information Disclosure and Deletion Requests from Investigative Agencies" report, LINE reports on the number of requests for information disclosure received from investigative agencies as well as the number of cases where information was actually disclosed by LINE.
In the event that an investigative agency informs LINE that a LINE service has been used in a criminal case, or that there have been reports of criminal threats being made on the LINE service, LINE regards that it is the responsibility of the operator to cooperate in preventing crimes by disclosing information in accordance with such requests.
On the other hand, excessive requests for information disclosure from investigative agencies may threaten the privacy of service users. Therefore, in order to provide a safe and secure environment for its customers, LINE believes that it is essential to clarify its stance on requests for information disclosure from investigative agencies and to maintain transparency regarding the frequency with which it receives and responds to such requests. To ensure that the customers can use the services of LINE with peace of mind, LINE publishes these reports on a regular basis.
LINE NEWS: Careful Selection of Partner Media and Establishment of a Dedicated Review Organization
All of LINE’s partner media, which are content providers, undergo background checks (comprehensive judgments based on the content of the articles, frequency of distribution, history of the media, etc.) to ensure that they are capable of continuously providing high-quality content to readers at the time of partnership.
In addition, when publishing articles, the Editorial Department double-checks the appropriateness and authenticity of the content on the top page, which is viewed by a large number of readers, and for push distribution through the LINE Official Account, and has established guidelines in the event of misinformation.
In addition, an independent team specializing in reviewing is organized separately from the check flow in the Editorial Department, and the team checks primary sources as necessary.
Measures to Improve Service Quality of Commerce Services
Measures to Improve Transparency of Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping
Yahoo! JAPAN laid out three initiatives to improve the transparency and fairness of digital platforms, based on the recommendations made by the panel consisting of external experts “Panel on Appropriate Information Disclosure by Digital Platform Operators.” This was a proactive move to respond to the regulations of the Act on Improving Transparency and Fairness of Digital Platforms before its scheduled enforcement, and Yahoo! JAPAN completed the following actions by December 2020.
・Enhancement of FAQ templates and strengthening of customer service staff training to better respond to customer inquiries and more finely cater to customer needs
・Addition of a clearer and supplementary explanation on the background and principles of the “order of listing recommended items” (webpage disclosed to Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping and PayPay Mall customers and merchants)
In May 2021, the company published a webpage explaining to Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping merchants how the company is addressing the transparency issue in light of the new regulations, and also made “Three promises with Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping merchants: collaboration, sharing, and co-creation” clear at the beginning of the page.
In order to fulfil its social responsibility as a digital platform operator, Yahoo! JAPAN will continue its improvement efforts for safer and more secure services, with a focus on achieving an even higher level of transparency and fairness in both its transactions with the tenants and service delivery to the users.
YAHUOKU! Fraud Prevention Measures
Yahoo! JAPAN implements control measures and system enhancements to prevent fraud in YAHUOKU!. Yahoo! JAPAN also promotes activities from multiple angles to raise awareness of users and to collaborate with right holders’ associations in protecting intellectual property. Moving on, Yahoo! JAPAN will continue to take active measures to achieve zero fraud.
Strengthening Prevention Measures Against Listing of Counterfeit Goods Using Deep Learning
In YAHUOKU!, prevention measures against listing of counterfeit goods are among the problems Yahoo! JAPAN focuses on. In addition to the fraudulent listing detection system based on machine learning that it has introduced before, Yahoo! JAPAN introduced a deep learning system using its supercomputer “kukai” in 2018, which can determine whether the newly listed item is a counterfeit product or not within several seconds after it is listed to YAHUOKU!. Yahoo! JAPAN aims to improve detection accuracy as well as to provide a safer, securer sales platform moving on.
Efforts Toward Safety and Security, and Information to Raise Awareness
“Three actions of YAHUOKU! toward safety and security” page introduces YAHUOKU!-specific actions and support information such as anonymous shipping, fraud detection by means of machine learning, chat support and compensation program if needed. The “YAHUOKU! Self-defense” page provides customers with a summary of matters that require special attention and confirmation in each step of a transaction, i.e., listing, bidding, paying, and receiving goods. It also provides points that should be taken into account to prevent trading of goods procured unlawfully or accidental access to phishing sites.
Combating Counterfeit Goods
With the aim of eradicating the distribution of counterfeit goods in YAHUOKU!, Yahoo! JAPAN has built a cooperative relationship with right holders to prevent the distribution of counterfeit goods by receiving reports on the removal of counterfeit products from right holders through the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Program, etc., as well as exchanging opinions through interviews with right holders. Furthermore, Yahoo! JAPAN also cooperates with the police in criminal investigations, and exchange information with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Japan Patent Office, and other ministries and agencies that promote anti-counterfeiting measures. Yahoo! JAPAN also continues activities to raise awareness of users to prevent them from purchasing counterfeit goods.
Yahoo! JAPAN aims to establish a global standard in operating online auction and flea market apps by continuing to collaborate with concerned parties on anti-counterfeit measures and by carrying out awareness-raising activities toward users.
Initiatives in Intellectual Property Protection
Together with rights holders and rights holders’ associations, Yahoo! JAPAN has founded the Council for Intellectual Property Protection on Internet (CIPP) in December 2005, welcoming related government agencies as observers. Yahoo! JAPAN acts as an executive company of the Council. CIPP formulated the Guidelines for Prevention of the Distribution of Intellectual Property Rights Infringing Goods on the Internet, under which rights holders and Internet operators join hands to prevent the distribution of infringing goods. According to CIPP’s report for fiscal 2020, the ratio of infringing goods posted on online auctions that have adopted countermeasures has remained extremely low at 0.28% (out of 1,800) for copyright infringing goods and 0.18% (out of 2,197) for trademark infringing goods.
The extremely low ratio of intellectual property rights infringing goods despite an increase in the overall number of goods listed on Internet auctions can be regarded as a result of the joint initiatives by Internet operators and rights holders.
Since the establishment of the Council, many right holders and Internet businesses have joined, and Yahoo! JAPAN will continue to work to curb the distribution of intellectual property rights infringing goods across the Internet industry.
Measures Against Non-Delivery of Purchased Goods
For all transactions (excluding some categories with a different price system), Yahoo! JAPAN adopts a system where YAHUOKU! temporarily receives payment for goods and pays the seller after the successful bidder has followed procedures to notify their receipt of purchased goods. This system also has a function that allows the winning bidder to cancel the payment if there is no notification of shipment from the seller for a certain period of time after payment. Yahoo! JAPAN has also established and operates a unique compensation system for YAHUOKU! customers who have become victims of fraud despite complying with YAHUOKU! rules when using the service.