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Frequently Asked Questions on TOS changes regarding information sharing and interviews

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Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
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Hi David,

 

I'm sorry to hear about the issues you experienced during the recent call. I'd like to look into the issues you experience. Could you please check the tips shared in this Help article in order to confirm your audio and video permissions are up to date? If they are, could you please send me a private message and share the browser you were using, and provide more information about the specific issues you experienced? Thank you!

 


@sagewingllc wrote:

There isn't even an obivious link to start a video call - you have to click the old-fashioned telephone and then choose 'upwork call' - really? Upwork is branding the video call? I think zoom/slack/skype beat you to that - just use an icon of a video camera like everyone else. 


Regarding the steps for initiating a call, please note that the second "Upwork Call" button is displayed to differentiate this type of call from the phone call dial-in option displayed below it.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
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This new limited contact rule Upwork has come up with is just not clicking with certain clients and both Upwork and I are losing income as a result.

 

Two days ago I got an invitation from a potential client, but when I told him Upwork required we use the Upwork VOIP app rather than a phone call, I haven't heard from that client since.

 

Today I got the following message (yes, via Upwork) from a potential client:

 

QUOTE

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

I'm about to tell this client, for the second time, that what he is proposing is against Upwork's new rule. He didn't listen the first time; I see no reason to expect he will listen next time.

 

What does Upwork do to ensure clients take an interest in understanding and adhering to Upwork's rules? I don't like having to convince such clients how Upwork requires that certain things be done.

 

And I REALLY don't like losing potential clients because Upwork thinks I and the client are dishonest and will either rip one another off or rip off Upwork.

 

Figure this out Upwork, so I'm not forced to have to try to convince clients who just want to get their project completed what Upwork requires when it is Upwork that should be enforcing its rules with them.

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Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
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Hi Will,

 

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'd like to follow up on the first conversation you've had with this prospective client and confirm that a dial-in option is available in the Messages call feature. Feel free to share this information moving forward.

 

I'll ask our team to contact the client to reiterate Upwork TOS and provide further guidance. Feel free to advise the client they can add the second person to your room or create a group room in order to conduct the interview they mentioned. They can also join the call via the dial-in option by selecting the "Phone Call" option on their end.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
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Hi, Vlad.

 

Thank you for the usual prompt reply.

 

I hope you “reiterate” to this client Upwork’s rules. To “retaliate” is probably not necessary. 😊

 

When I type the word “phone” into an Upwork message I am reminded via pop-up window that the Upwork VOIP app is available. When the client typed the word “zoom” into his message to me, did he see a similar pop-up warning message about using the VOIP app during pre-contract conversations?

 

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Active Member
Jessica G Member Since: May 27, 2020
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Will L wrote:

 

When I type the word “phone” into an Upwork message I am reminded via pop-up window that the Upwork VOIP app is available. When the client typed the word “zoom” into his message to me, did he see a similar pop-up warning message about using the VOIP app during pre-contract conversations?

 


Screen Shot 2020-08-13 at 9.08.21 AM.png

 

I would argue that this popup message does not remind the client that they MUST use the upwork calling feature prior to contract.  Instead, it actually implies that it is NOT necessary but there as a safety option for those that prefer to use it.  This is what came up when I typed phone on a prospective client for which I have no existing contract.  Typing Zoom didn't bring any popup up.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
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Jessica,

 

Why do you think such a pop up window addressed specifically to pre-contract clients has to look like the message you posted?

 

Clearly, to be useful the text would have to be very different.

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Active Member
Jessica G Member Since: May 27, 2020
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Will L wrote:

Jessica,

 

Why do you think such a pop up window addressed specifically to pre-contract clients has to look like the message you posted?

 

Clearly, to be useful the text would have to be very different.


That is exactly my point - you and I agree.  The pop up I showed was a screenshot of what a pre-contract client or freelancer does see (it is actually from a thread with a pre-contract client that I generated to verify that the messaging had not been updated).  It is therefore not doing any good in helping to enforce the new rules and is undermining them by making it seem like it is optional to use the Upwork tools. 

I completely agree the language would need to be different to help better educate both freelancers and clients that may not have paid attention to that one email several months ago that outlined the change in TOS and don't hang out on in the forums.  I believe I read somewhere that Upwork is in the process of rolling out better alert messaging but we are almost two months into this change and I am still educating every single client as they have no idea they can't communicate off-platform pre-contract, or they just don't care.  It is extra work for me during the proposal process since I can't use my established tools like Calendly and Zoom, an annoyance to the client, and honestly seems likely that it will lead to fewer new clients completing the hiring process and overall will lead to lost revenue to Upwork.

This is a very short-sighted decision that I don't think it will give Upwork their hoped results of reducing people taking their work off-platform.  The folks that are willing to break the TOS to go off-platform for payment are the same people that are going to just keep communicating with clients in the way that is BEST for the client and they will appear easier to work with so really it will likely lead to a reduction in revenue instead of an increase.

And to Vlad's point that when additional team members that need to be part of the interview process can be added to the "room", I know he is towing the company line but again, it seems like another barrier to getting through the contracting process which will slow down or reduce the contracts when many of those clients are already well established using tools like Zoom, which are also superior to what we can do with Upwork's tools.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
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Yes, it's a poorly-structured policy, poorly communicated and poorly implemented that probably doesn't come close to actually solving the problem of freelancer or client fraud against one another or Upwork.

 

At the very least, Upwork should exempt from this intrusive policy experienced clients and freelancers who have been active Upwork users for X number of months, X number of projects successfully completed or X amount of revenue generated and shown during this activity that they are honest and trustworthy. 

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Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
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Thanks for the heads-up, Will! Okay, we'll only reiterate as per your request. Smiley Happy

 

While I rather not share specific details regarding the terms which trigger the educational message, I can confirm that we use a number of approaches to advise clients about sharing contact information before hiring a freelancer as well as on other important aspects of Upwork TOS.

 

I edited the quoted message you included in your post because, although personal information has been removed by you, posting private communication is also not allowed.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
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Thanks for the explanation, Vlad.

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