Gumtree Australia Reduces Fraudulent Marketplace Activities by 25%

4 min read
Emily R.
Emily R.
Published May 14, 2024

Challenge: Gumtree Australia, a leading marketplace, needed to replace its outdated in-house messaging system with a more efficient and reliable solution.

Strategy: After rigorous evaluation, Gumtree selected Stream's chat solution, driven by its user-friendly SDK and AI-powered Auto Moderation capabilities. The integration process involved a dedicated team of developers over seven months, ensuring seamless deployment across platforms.

Result: Gumtree observed immediate improvements post-implementation, with users no longer reporting lost messages. Critically, Gumtree also immediately saw around a 25% drop in fraudulent messages with Stream's Auto Moderation. Overall, Gumtree's experience with Stream's chat solution has set a benchmark for safety and efficiency in online transactions, earning a wholehearted recommendation.

Stream, a leading provider of chat and activity feed APIs, has been instrumental in revolutionizing the marketplace industry, offering solutions that enhance safety and boost efficiency. This case study explores how Gumtree, a prominent Australian horizontal marketplace, leveraged Stream's chat functionality, and Auto Moderation to significantly improve user communication and security.


Gumtree Australia is a widely recognized platform connecting buyers and sellers across various categories, such as cars, pets, jobs, houses, electronics, and garden. With approximately six million monthly active users, Gumtree sought to enhance its chat functionality to foster safer and more efficient communication between users.

Challenges Faced

Gumtree's previous in-house messaging system, inherited from its former owner, was becoming obsolete and lacked the necessary features to ensure secure and seamless communication. Paul Russell, Gumtree's CTO, explains that the platform needed a modern solution that could facilitate text-based chat and enable users to share images while ensuring robust moderation to combat fraudulent activities.

It really just made sense to buy a commercially available product. We're not in a 'build' business. We're in the business of building marketplaces, not of building chat products.


After a rigorous evaluation, Gumtree selected Stream's chat functionality, coupled with its advanced AI-powered Auto Moderation, to address its communication challenges effectively.

We went through a rigorous evaluation process, quickly getting down to the two leading platforms, and chose Stream.

The ease of integration, superior chat SDK usability, and the platform's machine learning-based moderation capabilities influenced the decision to adopt Stream.

The SDK was much easier to use, so we were really confident we would get it to market faster. We really needed a very significant product that was going to help us analyze those chats and make sure we kept our customers safe.

Implementation Process

Stream's chat functionality integration involved a collaborative effort between Gumtree's development team and Stream's experts. Stream's professional sales process and responsive customer support impressed Gumtree.

The sales team was nice and professional. Customer support has been good. We have a dedicated Slack channel to raise issues, and they get jumped on immediately.

A proof of concept (POC) was quickly developed within a few weeks to assess the solution's feasibility and functionality. Subsequently, a core team of eight developers worked for seven months to complete the integration across Gumtree's web, iOS, and Android platforms.

We were replacing an existing product provided by our former owner, and we had a very fixed end date to move out of it, so the project timelines were very tight. Therefore, we had to keep the scope of that replacement really tight. The most important thing is we had a reliable messaging system up and running and providing robust moderation before our time ran out with the old system.

Key Benefits

Through the adoption of Stream's chat functionality and Auto Moderation, Gumtree experienced a range of key benefits that transformed user experience and safety on their platform:

  • Enhanced User Experience: Gumtree users experienced a seamless transition to the new chat system, with improved message reliability and image-sharing capabilities.
  • Increased Safety: Stream's Auto Moderation reduced fraudulent activities around 25% by employing advanced machine learning algorithms to detect and block suspicious messages.
  • Efficiency Gains: The streamlined integration process and comprehensive support from Stream's team ensured minimal disruption to Gumtree's operations, allowing for a swift deployment of the new chat solution.

Russell reflects on the benefits of Stream's Auto Moderation specifically,

We have lots of buyers and sellers communicating with each other, and a very small percentage of those fraudulent people are looking to scam the other person. So it's really important that we actively monitor all those messages and make sure we weed out people who are trying to commit scams.

It used to be easy for scammers to identify how their messages were being identified by our moderation solution and how to work around it. We needed something that was that next generation of moderation. With Stream's Auto Moderation being machine learning based, it meant that we could establish much broader parameters, and it would understand what people were trying to circumvent it. We have seen it be much more successful in identifying and blocking fraudulent activity on Gumtree.

Our previous solution had automatic moderation, but it was all regular expression-based, which is too simplistic. Meanwhile, with ML-based moderation, it's much harder for them to do that; even if they change the words, the sentiment is still the same, and it still gets picked up. It has proven to be much more effective.

Results and Impact

Gumtree has observed tangible improvements in user engagement and safety since implementing Stream.

The Stream Chat feature is how our buyers and sellers communicate, and we do our best to keep our buyers and sellers communicating within the platform so that we can try and keep that communication as safe as possible.

Users have stopped reporting lost messages, indicating enhanced reliability, while the platform successfully mitigated more fraudulent activities with the help of Auto Moderation.

Stream's Auto Moderation significantly reduced fraudulent activities by employing advanced machine learning algorithms to detect and block suspicious messages.

Future Plans

Looking ahead, Gumtree is exploring additional features Stream offers, such as its Video API for audio rooms and video calling, to further enrich the user experience. The platform remains committed to leveraging innovative solutions to drive continuous improvement and meet evolving user needs.

Stream's collaboration with Gumtree exemplifies the transformative impact of modern chat solutions in the marketplace industry. Gumtree has successfully positioned itself as a trusted platform by prioritizing user safety and efficiency, fostering secure and seamless interactions between buyers and sellers. As the industry evolves, partnerships with innovative providers like Stream will drive future growth and success.

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