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Boosted Proposals Negatively Impacting My Ability to Filter and Vet Freelancers

As a client this feature is not helping me find the most qualified freelancers. It is really just negatively impacting my ability to adjust the filtering to show me the most recent applicants or to sort by other categories. When I try to filter by newest so I can see and respond to the most recent ones, it keeps the boosted proposals on top, even though I've already both shortlisted those two and responded, and so I have to scroll down even further to see new proposals. I don't care who has boosted their post. I am looking for the best fit, not who paid to annoy me in my filtering ability. 


I understand why freelancers would think this would be useful, but whether or not the proposal is boosted is not going to impact my vetting and selection of a consultant. I look at each of the proposals and vet them based on specific criteria. And where they show up in the list is not part of that criteria. I think most discerning clients would agree. When you force these boosted proposals on top, it means I have to scroll more and makes it harder for me to organize who I've looked at and who I haven't.


Please remove this feature and just let me select freelancers based on how I want to select them. Also, the best match is ridiculous still. I posted for a health coach, and I didn't select any skills related to business coaching, but none of the health coaches are best matches, and all of the business coaches are best matches. 

103 REPLIES 103

Hi Amanda,


Thank you for reaching out and bringing this matter to our attention. Freelancers who were able to be the first in line for projects they're excited about are more likely to land on the work they want. With boosted proposals, they can bid additional Connects on their proposal, entering it into an auction for three boosted slots at the top of the client’s list. It's still up to you by the end of the day whom you wish to hire, which we believe all clients like yourself are looking for the best fit. Your feedback really means a lot to us and we'll pass this over to the appropriate team for review and action if necessary. Thank you.


~ Arjay

Arjay, you just gave me a lot of spiel about boosted proposals. I know what they are; I did not ask for an explanation of what they are. You have not acknowledged the problem I have clearly stated that forcing them to populate the top spots no matter how I choose to sort or filter my results causes me. I don't give two cents about freelancers being first in line or if they land the work THEY want. I care about finding freelancers who I WANT to hire. Anyone can boost their post. That doesn't mean they are a good fit. And you basically have sold away my ability to sort results by doing this, making it ineffective for me and costing me more time as I try to hire. Aside from the fact that being first in line and boosting a proposal are not the same things at all. 


I need a better response that shows you or someone on the product team actually understands the problem. Are you trying to drive clients from the platform? It's my understanding that clients bring more money to the platform than freelancers. I'm less likely to hire someone who has boosted their post specifically because of the annoyance it causes me in trying to sort and go through all the responses I have received. 


Why won't you and the product developers listen to what we tell you? 


ETA:  **Edited for Community Guidelines** I will simply have to start writing in my job posts that any boosted proposals will automatically be declined. They can spend their connects at their own peril. 



Boosted proposals will be pinned to the top of the clients Proposal Manager regardless of the sorting settings or which tab they are in since freelancers use Connects to bid for a chance to have their proposal boosted. We will enforce all of our standard rules for all other proposals and they will be located below, ranked and sorted just like they are today. I'm not aware of any plans to make changes to the way it currently works. That said, as Arjay mentioned, we're sharing feedback we receive from various channels and sources with the product team and have already shared this thread with them. 

~ Valeria

This may be the 16.234.567th time I read these lines. It all starts to sound like a lot of blah, blah, blah.

Marc C wrote:

This may be the 16.234.567th time I read these lines. It all starts to sound like a lot of blah, blah, blah.

It would be nice if the Upwork representatives could acknowledge that I've told them the feature is causing problems in my hiring. "I am sorry this product is causing problems in your hiring process." But no, there is barely any acknowledgement that I've reported a problem, just that they shared the "feedback" with the product team. As far as I know that may only mean they sent the link to someone in an email that will never be read. There's no acknowledgement that someone has reported a problem with a feature and that it was a problem. I mean, I didn't ask about plans to change it, and I don't care if there are plans or no plans. I'm reporting a problem with a feature.  Seems like I will just need to open tickets every time one of these things happens and trying and escalate up the chain since the response here is so unsatisfactory. That or I may simply choose not to hire through Upwork anymore. 


We know they don't care much about our feedback anyhow, since we gave so much feedback prior to this feature being implemented, and they did it anyway. 

I'm a freelancer, and as I'm reading through the forums I see that freelancers seem to dislike the boosted proposals too. Many freelancers think that they must continually spend money on these bids. I don't bid to boost my proposals. I can't understand why a client would see me paying money to be at the top of the list as a benefit to them.


UpWork may have a narrow view on this topic because of how many struggling freelancers are willing to pay in an attempt to gain an advantage. I think you're right though that UpWork is overlooking the fact that ultimately they will lose money if they drive people from the platform.


Normally, every new freelancer(such as myself) would see this boosting proposal feature to be very important, but in a long run you will notice  that  ,you have  actually lost about 50% of what you  earned so far.That is 20% for upwork fee, and the other 30% for buying connects to boost proposals and keeping  availability status on.Especially when you dont get Jobs with high  pay after boosting.

The Connects on upwork are somehow too expensive , 10 connects for  $1.5 and no one conplains about it

You're right. The thing is that we're complaining and pointing out the faults of this change. As Amanda pointed out, she wrote to Upwork to state her opinion as a client, but no one seems to be listening what's she's trying to tell them.


It turns out we're having this conversation here, without it actually leading to some results and help for freelancers who are the core of this platform. Something has changed and we're definitely struggling to get a job. 


Our proposals can't even get read by clients if we don't have the money to outbid everyone possible. Ugh, I was very supportive of Upwork and praised it everywhere I could because it supported the freelancer lifestyle.


Now, it's more evident than ever that profit has become a top priority and freelancer support has dropped down in the scale of priorities. 


Fees everywhere and results nowhere. It turns out we have no quality. I have been providing consistent results as a freelancer and got amazing job offers and applied to jobs and got hired, while now I'm struggling to be noticed.



"We know they don't care much about our feedback anyhow, since we gave so much feedback prior to this feature being implemented, and they did it anyway."


Upwork claims to respect the freelancers and clients opinions, yet when they ask for feedback, they totally ignore feedback and say thanks for the response, but we're going to do exactly what we planned all along.


It's worse than just implementing one of their horrid ideas, because it gives people the idea Upwork is listening and actually cares what their customers think.

   This is not the place to look for jobs. You need to use your job feed.

Finally!! A client who understands!! Amazing Amanda, it's time that the other side speaks up about this new change which isn't helping anyone at all!


Remove the outbid, Upwork, this is terrible.

I agree with you, Kristina. I am relieved to see so many complaints from both freelancers and clients regarding this boosting system! It has been very frustrating; I have not landed a job in about six months. I have boosted two or three proposals when the job sounded like something I really wanted, but I typically don't boost. I don't get many connects these days because I haven't gotten any work, and I refuse to spend money I'm not making just to get more connects to boost my proposals (and possibly annoy clients, as Amanda described)! I hope Upwork removes this feature.

Of course Amanda  understands lol, she is a freelancer as well 😛

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Freelancer is Upwork's term. I am a business owner. And I run a business, meaning I both find clients and hire professionals to help run my business, which is what ALL businesses do. I have hired quite a bit throughout my whole career. Please do not mistake the fact that I use Upwork on both sides of my business with a failure to understand client needs. 

I'm a client as well, Amanada. 

Not sure, why are you telling me this.

I was just saying you understand the situation as both the client and freelancer (speaking on Upwork terms) 🙂

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Filip K wrote:

I'm a client as well, Amanada. 

Not sure, why are you telling me this.

I was just saying you understand the situation as both the client and freelancer (speaking on Upwork terms) 🙂

Sorry, must have been pre-coffee, and I interpreted it a more prickly way. But I think Upwork needs to take those of us who are on both sides of the platform seriously. We have unique perspective about how things work, and we aren't just freelancers who hire sometimes (which is how I've heard us described). I frequently hear clients complain about the UX, and they ask for my help and I walk them through how to use it, which I can do because I have a client account and have used it enough to actually know how it works. My brain is mushing around on this right now, but one reason I think Best Match might be a problem is overuse of skill tags. I only use a very, very few on my own profile because it weeds out unrelated jobs. So you can get a Best Match because someone has all those skills, but those skills are too vague and 20 different kinds of freelancers have to have those skills. That's just one example of why Best Match is not useful. The bidding is just an ad spend, and I understand Upwork wanting to monetize yet another aspect of the system, but the UI sucks so bad already, I would much prefer it be a pop up of the boosted bid instead of a forced filter. 

That will be great step, i really wanted to share this issue as a freelancer. Many freelancers use their connects to boost their proposal due to which our organic proposals get ignored. I will consider it as cheating.

We (the freelancers) are not excited at all about this feature. It just makes us spend more money, we have gotten practically no jobs in months and it only seems to benefit Upwork and not the customer. 

That's true. Upwork used to be a great place to find work, it still is, but It feels like they are begin greedy and they are not listening freelancers and client's complaints at all.

Upwork team, please report our discouragement! 

This all connections method is not working for us!!!

Yes, they lost their ability to listen somewhere along the way. Upwork was wonderful and supportive before this terrible change. I miss those times and I wish they could listen to those who make this platform what it really is: the freelancers.

I'm very curious about when they were "wonderful and supportive." I started using Upwork around 2015-16, and customer service has been beyond useless and often actively counterproductive that whole time. They've ignored both freelancer and client requests and invested in implementing features that no one asked for the whole time I've been here. 

Dear Upwork (Arjay),

I never bid for jobs I don't want! Wasting 50 to 70 connects on one project with no idea if the client will hire anyone is just crazy. THIS IS HARMING THE UPWORK PLATFORM LONG TERM. Just to be at the top of the list only means some freelancers don't mind throwing their money away.  It does not mean they are the best for the project, it does not mean they are keener. It does mean they are desperate...


Community Member

Still no response that makes any sense? 

Community Member

You mentioned that you shortlisted and responded to the top boosted proposals. I suppose their proposal was good enough to consider them. Imagine you had to scroll/check 50+ proposals to actually see these boosted proposals.

My guess is that if you decline or archive a boosted proposal it will no longer be displayed at the top?

I would have shortlisted them anyways. It had nothing to do with where they were placed. I review each applicant based on certain criteria, and where their proposal is listed has nothing to do with it. Sorting proposals allows me to manage the hiring process more easily. Boosting doesn't help me make that choice or give them a better chance. On my additional rounds of review I have now eliminated all the boosted proposals entirely. So no one who was boosted got this job. So no, didn't help them. And I did not shortlist ALL the boosted proposals, so for some people who boosted, it only highlighted what a bad proposal they submitted. 


Have you ever actually hired? Sometimes you aren't ready to make a decision on a proposal to archive or decline yet. From your suggestion, I should just archive and decline all boosted proposals. Enjoy wasting your connects. 

It's been a very long time since I even posted a job. After a few hires I've realised my budget was too low for what I had on mind to accomplish. Some criteria are just out of Upwork's control.

I don't know if boosting a proposal is actually a waste of connects. I know it's a double-edged sword. I submit proposals occasionally, I wouldn't use the booster for every job, it's just business. Maybe some freelancers didn't boost for your post but they do/did it on others.

In a comment I made last year on the booster announcement post I said that it may look or feel like intrusive, unsolicited, and maybe Upwork should offer the clients the option to turn off the boosting feature. It got no kudo! 

Anyways, it would be great if more clients posted feedback about their experience with boosted proposals.

I think it you happen to be that magic fit then it's genius but I also think it's a huge risk to do so. It also depends. I think clients should have the option to hide boosted posts at least if they are filtering by newest or oldest, that still means when you open the page every time the boosts are on top. Give us at least SOME option to sort our candidates without having to just archive those right away to get them out of sight. 


I think that if you are applying to a gig that is a rush job or short turnaround, then it might be of some use and a good strategy, but otherwise, it can look different to different clients. I think we can all agree that unless you really are the right fit from the client's perspective, it's a waste. 


ETA: sorry hit post before I finished my thought. I was saying it's a waste because freelancers boost from their own perspective that they are the best fit, and most freelancers really aren't reading carefully and considering carefully if they are actually the best fit. Especially we see new freelancers blowing all their connects on jobs that are vague and they come here and say "oh I know I only applied to those that I was the best fit!" 

Claudia Z wrote:

You mentioned that you shortlisted and responded to the top boosted proposals. I suppose their proposal was good enough to consider them. Imagine you had to scroll/check 50+ proposals to actually see these boosted proposals.

Imagine you had to scroll/check 50+ proposals

Upwork is used to sort the proposals depending on how much they match the job description and requirements.

Community Member

Good to know. As a freelancer I never liked this feature, makes me feel like it is a competition of spending the connects rather than skills and knowledge someone has. 

Yes Tottaly Agree with you!

So true. I'm very confused when see that someone spends more than 30 connects on one job😲

Yes, and the others one spend more than 50 to get the job, it makes mem, Huh 😑

Don't be confused.  Just come to the community forums and read the different posts in both the client and freelancer sections.  You'll begin to understand why some (many) people feel the need to bid on jobs using rediculous amounts of connects.

Some possibilities:
1. New freelancers trying to land their first client - if this is the case, there will always be a stream of overbidding that heavily skews the bidding feature.  The good news is that new freelancers won't have any reviews or work history and that will offset their overbidding.  Freelancers with history and reviews still have a chance in landing the client.  The unfortunate part, is that this stream of new freelancers overbidding on jobs will lead to seasoned freelancers spending 2-3x the connects just to get a spot in the client's top 3 roster.  

2. Some freelancers are likely to believe that by bidding with connects, the highest bid determines who wins the job.  In an effort to "buy" work, they overbid and create an atmosphere where legitimate bidding can not take place.  This causes seasoned freelancers who do not "bid to buy" stop participating in the bidding process.  This also likely runs counter to what Upwork intended for this feature.

This is the resulting condition that I believe we are seeing.  I arrive at this opinion due to the overwhelming number of freelancer posts that are desperate for work.

3. Upwork claims that the bidding feature is to "help freelancers who have a particular interest in a job or project be more visible to the client".  This is a terrible narrative.  Just because a freelancer bids 200 connects on a job does not mean they will get the job.  It only puts them on the top of the pile for review by the client.  The client is going to select the best fit for the job, regardless of who is on the top of the pile or not.  

And for the elephant in the room...

Upwork implemented this bidding feature in an attempt to provide greater visibiity to freelancers who are interested in some jobs.  Upwork's primary business model is the derivation of profit and revenue from clientele hiring freelancers - nothing more and nothing less. 

By implementing the bidding process, Upwork has introduced an additional roadblock to that profit and revenue stream.  When freelancers with good reviews and work history start seeing a decline in the amount of work they are able to secure, they are faced with three options - 1. bid more on each proposal, 2. stop bidding altogether, or 3. leave the site altogether.

When seasoned freelancers regularly see jobs with 20, 50, 100, or even 200+ connects, outbidding becomes impractical and discouraging.

When seasoned freelancers stop bidding, it creates additional and unnecessary work for the client to review each proposal (from what I understand).  This slows the turnover of contracts on the site, slows the revenue and cashflow for Upwork, and can easily drive clients from doing additional business on the site.  

When freelancers leave the site, other freelancers win by having a smaller pool of competition.  However, the supply of freelancers is so great that this is an unreasonable way to thin that supply.  When clients leave the site, so does Upworks revenue and profits.  Losing clients hurts both freelancers and Upwork - this also causes there to be a greater ratio of freelancers to clients which negates the purpose of thinning the freelancer supply through bidding.

If you were a client that needed to get a job or project done, your primary concern should be hiring the best fit for the job.  I think most clients would agree that they would rather hire someone with experience and good reviews that provides them with value over someone who simply spent 100 bids to be on the top of the pile.

In order to remain competitive, Upwork needs to stop trying to manipulate supply and demand.  As with economics, the supply and demand of both freelancers and clients needs to be allowed to reach equilibrium.  This is the optimal point in which both freelancers and clients are most successful.  Tipping the scale in either direction results in price ceilings and floors, which can severely damage markets and labor pools.

Thank you Jeremiah, for your explanation. I believe the method needs some tweaking somewhat.

I believe upwork needs to eliminate it completely.  

This is going to be widely unpopular to say, but if Upwork wants to thin some of the freelancer volume, they need to raise the price on connects. 

One caveat - Raising the price for connects AND having a bidding feature are not compatible with one another.  

By sticking with the original business model (paying for connects, no bidding feature), and raising prices for those connects, it will push out the least successful and least productive freelancers.  This attrition is not happening at a high enough rate, leading to a surplus in freelancers.

Community Member

Upwork can earn even more if you allow clients not to see boosts for money. There are already a lot of extra paid features that should be free (for example, the Available label). There will be one more.

Amanda, sorry for the jokey post in your thread, but some of the stuff Upwork has done really non seriously.

Community Member

I fully agree that Best Match is a joke.  I rarely am matched with anyone qualified.  Rather, Upwork "Best Matches" me with someone cheap... why?  Because Upwork wants me to hire SOMEBODY.  They don't care if that person is actually qualified, or even if that person is in the field in which I'm hiring.


Upwork: fix this broken platform!  

Community Member

Sometimes freelancers have split specialisms, so maybe they forget to change from a 'health coach' to a 'business coach,' When bidding. Freelancers definitely need this feature, if used responsibly it can really help them. Or they are just never going to get anywhere with this platform. 

Julian D wrote:

Sometimes freelancers have split specialisms, so maybe they forget to change from a 'health coach' to a 'business coach,' When bidding. Freelancers definitely need this feature, if used responsibly it can really help them. Or they are just never going to get anywhere with this platform. 

Julian, I'm both a freelancer and a client, and yes, they may have specialized profiles, which is why it is IMPERATIVE that freelancers apply with the RIGHT profile and make sure that the profile they apply with matches the job description. When clients are quickly culling proposals, one of the easiest ways to do so is right off the bat with profile titles. 

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