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Testing freelancer location for job posts

Ace Contributor
Ed O Member Since: Nov 13, 2015
101 of 257

I understand the issues out-of-US freelancers have with this, but I also understand, and appreciate, the reasons why Upwork is making this move. Many of you don't have experience on the client side here on upwork. I have, and I can tell you when proposals come in fast and furious, it's a bit frustrating to see so many overseas freelancers clearly applying for jobs they are lacking qualifications in. It's essentially almost spam.


You all do realize this was ALREADY happening with clients posting "NATIVE ENGLISH ONLY" or "XXXXX-BASED ONLY" job titles? And from what I saw, it wasn't stopping people from ignoring the clients request!

Community Guru
Amanda F Member Since: Aug 8, 2015
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Yes, but someone like myself and many other freelancers are not spammers and deserve our proposals to be read and to view those jobs to bid on. You're from the US, so this is just perfect for you, but not for those who are nearby like myself. The fact is clients do hire people like me and other freelancers who aren't spamming and who have valid proposals for US clients. I've gotten lots of jobs where they said "english speakers only" or "someone in my timezone" that were "US only".  90% of my clients are in the US, so you can see why I don't like this and how it could affect those like myself who have legit proposals. Instead of blocking everyone from being able to bid for those jobs, why not think of another way to do it? This way is aweful and there are lots of flaws, especially if the setting stays on forever....


This a a global marketplace, so sorting through proposals is a no brainer. It isn't difficult to see what proposals are spammers. Nonetheless, I am sure there is a way to eliminate/lessen the spammers or have some sort of search functionality for the proposals. To exclude some of the legitamate freelancers from bidding though because they aren't in the US is just failed logic, especiality if the setting gets set on forever if the client doesn't change it.  

Ace Contributor
Ed O Member Since: Nov 13, 2015
103 of 257
Let me ask you this. Do you think US freelance writers should be applying to Canadian jobs which look for experts on Canadian topics? Like Canadian politics? There are certain jobs where something like this was long overdue.

I understand especially for Canadian freelancers this sucks... but from a hiring perspective, if you'd apply to my job and didn't meet what I'd specified in my job posting.. like location, you'd automatically be disqualified. I consider your success out of the norm. One of my first tests is whether you have followed or read my job post.

Freelancers do have a bad habit of thinking they know better what the client needs than the client itself. I'm guilty of it myself from time to time. But the reality is none of us are guaranteed work here, and I think Upwork isn't interested anymore in the lowball contracts that have come as a result of a more geographically open hiring process.

Both their fee move and this suggest to me that they're trying to raise the bar. And honestly, Upwork is the easiest of the freelancing sites to start without experience. Most sites wouldn't allow access to a lot of folks here.

I do hope they come up with a solution for you guys up north. I'm sure as this expands they'll allow you to specify which areas to open it up to.
Community Guru
Amanda F Member Since: Aug 8, 2015
104 of 257

You can't say a US person doesn't necessarily understand a Canadian topic either that they can write on, or vice versa. {using canada and US mainly as an example) It's actually determined by what they know and not where they are from! Maybe they are interested in Canadian politics and they read about it and know just as much as a Canadian know about the topic.


Look, I am a designer. In actual fact, a lot of the design I do works better for people in the US than it does here in my area Locally, my work doesn't work as nicely as it does with people in the US. This is why the majority of my clients are in the US and obviously if you look at my profile you'll see I'm not lying about that simple fact.  My success is not out of the norm, and nor are many people's success on here. They work for it, read job posts and write good proposals. 


Who said people from Canada for example are low ballers? My rate is pretty close to those in the US, and actually, there are some people from India, etc. who have higher rates too that are equal to US rates because they actually know what they are doing and they built their profiles, and they actually provide valid proposals. So I don't see that logic at all. What we can agree on is yeah, there are low ballers who know their stuff, and some who just don't and they don't know how to be entrepeneurs so they spam people. Well it's the internet, what can you do? I'm sure there are US spammers too!


Actually, freelancers often do know what works best for clients. I think that's how we win proposals, by saying what works best and giving our professional opinions. I've convinced many clients to go with me because I showed them I was worth it, and I could meet their deadlines, etc. 


I don't care about being guaranteed work because I know if I have the chance to bid, I can guarantee work for myself by knowing what I am saying when I talk to clients. But I won't be able to have the chance with some new clients now with this change who select only to stay in th US bubble and possibly leave that option toggled on.  

Community Guru
Catherine M Member Since: Jan 20, 2017
105 of 257

I have to agree with Ed to some extent. When I worked in Human Resources and created a job description, I said what I meant and meant what I said. If I specify what we are looking for and someone doesn't meet that criteria, I don't care how qualified they are (or think they are) I reject them because I feel they did not read my specifications. Same applies here. I have been thinking about hiring here but have been hesitant for some of the reasons he discussed. If I opt for someone in the United States then that's what I want. If I want someone elsewhere, I am not so naive not to know how to go about making that request. Give clients a little more credit. There are still plenty US jobs being posted for global freelancers. 

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
106 of 257

I've been busy this week, so I picked up on this topic right now. For starters, this is a tough break for Canadian freelancers like Amanda. although given that it's being 'tested' on 'new' cllients only, the initial impact might not be as pronounced as when it becomes available to all US clients. Since I reside in the US, from a selfish perspective it should benefit me, except that in my case most of my clients are from the US anyway. Living in Hawaii as I do, the Americas are the closest population centers where time difference isn't vast, although I have a few long-term clients in other continents. I understand Upwork's reasoning: if a client states a geographic preference, then it ought to be respected, but I for instance have applied to jobs specifying North America, even though Hawaii is in the middle of the Pacific! so there's something to be said for flexibility.


I'm also a bit surprised that no one with a US agency has commented, because they're also excluded from US only jobs, which is a curious inconsistency. And someone made a good point, that in excluding freelancers from the rest of the world, a US client might receive few competitive proposals and prematurely conclude that Upwork freelancers aren't up to the task. So perhaps this feature could be enhanced so that the client can choose to 'open up' the bidding to non-US freelancers after a certain period of time and have the job relisted as though it were a new job, thus making location more of a preference than a requirement: not saying this would work, but it's my attempt at improving the location selection feature. 

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Guru
Corinne L Member Since: Jun 3, 2013
107 of 257


You all do realize this was ALREADY happening with clients posting "NATIVE ENGLISH ONLY" or "XXXXX-BASED ONLY" job titles? And from what I saw, it wasn't stopping people from ignoring the clients request!

 Ed, that's just the point. I was just stating in another thread that I noticed a new trend where like 70% of clients who want an English to French translation choose "English native". Now, I've applied to 3 of those jobs and was not selected. I'm deliberately ignoring the client's requests and it's his right not to choose me.

Now, if there was a client requesting a French native to translate his website from French to English, would I apply? Of course not!

So, yes, I think that I know better than the client what he needs, because I'm a translator and I know that you only translate to your native language. But, as I said before, it's his right to choose an English native to translate to French or a French native to translate to English if he wants a translation that sounds amateurish and foreign.

Community Guru
Amanda F Member Since: Aug 8, 2015
108 of 257

Yes, and I respect your thoughts on it, Catherine, but while you may decline those who apply who aren't from the US and write in your post you don't want someone else, that isn't how all clients work. Like I said multiple times, there are some clients who think they want someone from the US for various reasons, but change their mind when they see certain other freelancer's work, skills, timezones, etc. and who may be suited better for their job. 


It isn't that I'm not giving clients credit at all. They are the people I work with, so credit goes out to them all from me, but it is true that sometimes they are not sure who to go with and may select the US as a safety precaution because they are new to the site and may be a little unsure. Obviously those are not always the cases, but the way that this new function will work will be so freelancers like myself will not be able to even see these jobs. Futhermore, a new client to the site can select this US only option and it will be set on forever until they toggle it off themselves. Many clients are not going to bother to look for that option to do so. I read every post when I am bidding and write custom bids, and if I see a client posts a job for US only and says "I need you to be in my timezone" I will still try to bid on it because my timezone is very close to people in the US and my skill matches with what they need. I've actually gotten some of those jobs. What I am saying is sometimes clients say US but they will consider a broader area of those nearby or with certain skillsets that they need. 


Ace Contributor
Ed O Member Since: Nov 13, 2015
109 of 257

Catherine -


That is my point. Yes, at first this hurts Canadian freelancers quite a bit, but likely by CLIENT request this functionality has been added. The bottom line is, clients run the show here. I don't care honestly how much a freelancer thinks he or she knows what I need. I am the hiring party. I'm open to suggestions of course, but to ignore portions of the job description is just kind of outputting. 


This decision was bound to affect more than others. And I never said the lowballers came from Canada, they don't (in fact, I often see Canadian jobs look to pay and probably ask to pay more, likely do to currency conversion etc). But the site has an issue with too many freelancers working for peanuts.


In a hiring decision, when you see somebody come in with a lowball offer, it's not always a good thing. Most clients know what they want to pay, and what a good freelancer should ask for. When the flood of lowball offers come in, it doesn't look good on Upwork -- it gives the impression of work being "cheap" not only in price but in quality.


I really don't know what to say, but I don't find the decision surprising at all. 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
110 of 257

I just tried to look up for a freelancer with my FL account and got this:




First, I'm not in the US, I checked and I confirm: my IP address is geo-located in France. But at least now I can see what US clients see when they search for freelancers.


I selected Anywhere and now, every time I return to the search, it doesn't ask me any more, it remembered my answer. Now at the top of the search results I get:



"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless