Regardless of whether this new policy is good or bad for us freelancers (I'm not sure yet), according to this page, they're already planning to do what you suggested:
Do you ever return Connects?
Yes, we return Connects when a client closes their job without hiring or we find a job post has violated our Terms of Service.
I had the same concern as yours before I found that answer
Yes if a "client closes their job without hiring" the connects get refunded. The issue is that the vast majority of jobs never hire anyone and remain open because the client abandons it. In these cases UW does nothing about it and since the client did not actually close the job no connects are ever returned.
This would be the most sensible recommendation. And just for reference, for the past 5 projects that I have placed a bid on, 3 of the clients did not actually hire anyone eventually (my field is translation).
For any members on the Upwork management team who may be reading this page, here's my 2 cents (ahhh, $0.15 per connect actually costs more than my 2 cents! Touché!):
I have been on Upwork for a few years, have earned over 50k on the site; so I have contributed to the site considerably in fees. I have only three repeat customers with a lifetime billing that allows me to enjoy the 10% pricing tier for Upwork fees. Just in the past year alone, I would estimate that at least 7000 USD comes from newer clients that Upwork is already charging 20% in fees for. I believe that this amount is significant enough (if not downright staggering), and charging $0.15 per connect on top of the service fees we are already paying, means you are penalizing freelancers for forming the core of the platform. Well, guess what, without freelancers, this site does not offer anything at all.
In any case, I know for sure that once my connects have run out, I will not hesitate to leave Upwork. I will keep the account alive to connect with my existing contacts, but If I am paying for the connects to bid on projects, then I think Upwork needs to justify that cost by bringing in more clients that are paying better.
We don't need you. You need us.
I get wanting to limit application spamming and I'm sure that some clients feel overwhelmed with the amount of low-quality or bogus applications they receive. But instead of actually solving the problem, you're just making the hard-working freelancers on your platform pay for it. On top of the money you already take from both freelancers and clients.
I've been a loyal freelancer on your platform for years now, but it effectively feels like you couldn't care less about me as long as you can make money off of me.
What about the huge amount of issues the job search process has that other freelancers have raised in this thread alone? There doesn't seem to be a drive to attract quality clients, there's so much spam, job postings are extremely vague and want hours/days of work + perfection for $5.
As other freelancers on both social media and on here have suggested, there are other ways to tackle this issue (and address other issues to improve the process for both clients and freelancers) without resorting to us having to pay for the opportunity to apply for a job where the client might not even look at our proposal.
Quite frankly, this just plainly looks like a cash-grab and a bid to appease shareholders/make stocks look good.
A site that asks you to pay way before even trying it out?
I guess with the near 50% cut you accumulated over the years + your investor's money, you hire your own freelancers from china to serve your clients then, cause at this rate what's a freelancing platform w/out the freelancers?
Upwork might as well post fake job ads with high hourly rate so the last few who bought connects waste it.
Voice your opinion and ideas (specifically lowering job contract % fees to freelancers in lieu of Connect fees). I'd love to hear their response to this proposal. I don't believe freelancers were taken into account when this idea was implemented by management. Today is the first I hear that it's "a go" beginning in May-June timeline. Why wasn't there a poll taken?
Anyhow, if anyone hasn't yet seen the following link to register, I've provided it below.
Guys, we have to understand one here - they arent making this to protect anyone nor to lower the amount of spam proposals (both of these points could be solved in other ways way more efficiently) but they are making this to just earn more money for themselves. Thats the reason why we cant do anything to revert this.
Another reason why this is getting in place just to earn them more money is: Why they didnt first polled all freelancers and clients via email (or in a similar way)?
To further show how they dont care about us is that they disabled comments on their Vimeo video presentaion - KNOWING THEY WOULD GET FLAMMED BY THE COMMUNITY!!!!!
There sitll is 0 evidence that they care about freelancers actually.
The problem is that we do not know the real goal.
1. If the goal is to raise more money for shareholders. It's OK. No problem. I fully understand.
2. If the goal > With paid Connects, we expect freelancers will submit fewer proposals... Oh dear... There are a dozen parameters and filters for freelancers: test scores, feedbacks stars, job success rating, numbers of hours worked and finished jobs, and etc.
No any problems with filtering spammers and find the right person.
Well, or you have to admit that all your recent efforts, as for example, raising talents or hiring assisting simply does not work. And you just wasted your money for those efforts.
You must get rid of "cheap" customers at first (as I said before). Not from freelancers. Without "bad" customers you will not have "bad" freelances at the end as well.
Of course, if the goal is not paragraph 1.