As experienced freelancers on Upwork, you know how important trust is in the marketplace. You’ve established a reputation through getting your profile reviewed, taking skill tests and completing work to give clients confidence in who you are and what you can deliver.
In order to build even greater confidence and trust in the marketplace we’re going to be testing additional verification steps (phone and ID verification) up front for new freelancers. We’re giving you a heads up on this initiative as we begin to roll this out over the next couple of weeks. This test will only affect a portion of new freelancers who create an account on Upwork (note that Elance users who are bridging their profiles to Upwork will not be required to complete these steps). Ultimately, we may expand this test to include all new freelancer sign ups.
If we do expand this effort to experienced freelancers like you, we will be sure share more information ahead of time. Here’s more information on what’s being tested:
In the past freelancers could begin submitting proposals after verifying their email address and getting their profiles reviewed.
As part of this test, new freelancers will now be required to complete the following:
Phone Verification - Freelancers in this test will be asked to verify their phone number. This is done by receiving and entering a 5-digit code (via text or phone) on Upwork. See our Help Article here for more details.
ID Verification - Freelancers will also be asked to upload an image of a valid, government-issued identity document to their Upwork accounts. Our Help Article here has more details including a list of acceptable documents.
We’ll be doing our best to assist any freelancers who come across challenges in completing these steps. Our goal is not to prevent people from signing up, but rather to continue maintaining the highest levels of trust and integrity in the marketplace.
"to continue maintaining the highest levels of trust and integrity in the marketplace."
and in order to continue maintaining this level of trust and integrity, will you be adding additional steps for verifying new clients? (I suppose that's a rhetorical question really...)
Stephen, I respect your concerns about clients.
But I hope you can understand why I don't want to see parity in all things between clients and contractors.
I greatly value the ease and simplicity with which clients can post jobs, because that increases the likelihood that they will post jobs and that means more money for me.
A large proportion of my clientele consists of new clients. They rarely have a photo posted. I often do not know anything about them... No company information, no last name, no history, no verification of identity other than the fact that their payment method is verified by the time I start working for them.
I receive a lot of real money from these clients. I don't need to know more about them.
I welcome your decision to be more choosey about clients than I am, but I hope that my acceptance of anonymity on the part of clients can continue alongside your interest in additional (hopefully optional) verification.
Regarding this announcement: I really can't see a downside for me and other established contractors. This is simply good news.
Any barriers to entry for low-quality contractors and scammers and copy-and-paste contractors who simply steal identities and work from others can only be a good thing for clients, and that is a good thing for me.
This increases the likelihood of clients having a positive experience with the platform, and thus makes them more likely to return here and refer other people to the site. That means more good jobs available to me.
I would be happy to see all new contractors go through these additional verification steps.
If Upwork wants to verify me, go ahead. I have nothing to hide. I am not using somebody else's photo or identity and I am not lying about where I live.
Thank you, Upwork!
I agree, if the freelancers have to do it so do the clients. While the majority of clients I have done work for where on point, there have been a few very shady clients that have been very tricky with their posts. A few weeks ago I had someone who posted about 10 jobs ( I applied to a couple of them because they where each different gigs) and when it came time to finalize a contract they wanted to pay me in bitcoins instead of using the Upwork channels. I did refuse to work with them and blocked them but it still ended up coasting me connects and wasted my time. It would be nice to have some more effective ways to make sure that the person you are dealing with is legit proir to having an interview with them.
@Garrett M wrote:
Starting to wonder if you're a shill Preston
That is unworthy. I suggest you read further before casting such aspersions, even in jest.
Unlike other recent changes and announcements, I'm not seeing many complaints about this announcement.
Who, exactly, would complain about this?
One basically has to posit scenarios such as these:
"I'm planning to open a new Upwork account, with which I'll be offering professional services to clients using a computer with reliable Internet access and bandwidth. But miraculously in the year 2015, I have neither a cell phone nor a LAN line phone, so I don't see how I'll be able to do phone verification. Obviously I was not planning to ever speak to any client on the phone."
"I was planning on opening up an Upwork account with an alternative identity. I think 'Ace Webmaster' is a cool-sounding professional name. It's the name I use on my Facebook account. (You can call me 'Ace'.) I don't have government ID in that name, because it's not my real name, so this new policy be a horrible idea."
re: "I agree, if the freelancers have to do it so do the clients."
I don't think adding barriers to entry for clients will help you or me earn more money. Let's keep it easy for clients to post jobs and pay us money.
We do not need to implement identity verification for clients because of a few bad apples who are exceptions to the rule. Payment verification is quite sufficient.
Much of the money that flows into my bank account comes from clients who are quite anonymous.
If you are not comfortable with the level of information you have about a client, you may choose as an individual to not apply to their job posting.
For writing, the job pool was better when it was odesk. The last few months many of the job offerings that I have been seeing (even with adjusting the search settings to match what I was looking for), are more on par with the rates that you are going to find on content mills. Even if the client puts that their buget is say a 100 dollars, when you end up reading the full gig, the work load to payment is not what it should be. This wouldn't be that big of an issue if the feed wasn't filled up with gigs like this. Personally, if there are ways that might promote better clients posting gigs than I don't see what the issue is going to be.