🐈 Community
» Forums » Clients » Developer did work, got paid but wrote code t...
Page options
scttech
Community Member

Developer did work, got paid but wrote code to spoof google bot

Recently, I have had an upWork developer work on my website to do some web site optimization. There was a before/after check using google pagespeed and gtmetrix. Everything went well & the speed numbers looked good. I have a different developer looking at the site and he found that there was code that 'spoofed' or affected the results of services such as GTmetrix & Google PageSpeed. For example, for Google PageSpeed bots, all loadable styles and scripts were disabled, in other words, this service is given a primitive text page, and for normal users, it's normal.

 

I paid the first developer around $300 for the hack job. Is there anything I can do?

16 REPLIES 16
prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "Is there anything I can do?"

 

Steve:

If you want additional work done on your website, then you can hire other freelancers to that work.

If you have reviewed the original work, and you feel that there are better ways to handle the task, then you can specify that when you hire other people. Specifically tell them that you do not want them to use the first freelancer's techniques.

 

One thing that it is important to understand is that Upwork does not provide web site optimization services. It does, however, provide opportunities for clients to hire freelancers to various types of work.

 

All of the technical issus and techniques you are describing will not mean anything to Upwork Customer Support personnel. You can't tell Upwork that a freelancer used a specific technique and expect to recognize that a freelancer used the "wrong" technique and that therefore some type of action should be taken.

 

If you feel that the original freelancer you hired provided work that did not meet your expectations, then I strongly advise you to not hire that particular freelancer again.

 

In fact, his level of skill and expertise may not even be sufficient to allow him to work on your site even if he offered to do so for free.

For clarification, I hired a freelance developer from upWork. His work was a scam and unethical. I would like to contest with upWork. Is this possible?
yitwail
Community Member


Steve T wrote:
For clarification, I hired a freelance developer from upWork. His work was a scam and unethical. I would like to contest with upWork. Is this possible?

Steve, it's the weekend so might take a while for an Upwork rep to respond, but I happen to be a developer and what your freelancer did is outright fraud. I assume this was a fixed price job and you approved the milestone, so under normal circumstances, you won't recieve a refund, BUT, I sincerely hope Upwork bans the freelancer because his behavior is criminal.

 

ETA: for anyone curious about the technical aspects of what the freelancer did and some of the ramifications, here's an article discussing the very subject: https://pamannmarketing.com/is-your-web-developer-spoofing-your-pagespeed-insights-score/ 

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

re: "For clarification, I hired a freelance developer from Upwork. His work was a scam and unethical. I would like to contest with Upwork. Is this possible?"

 

Steve:

This is a more readily understandable way to express what your concern is.

 

In your original post, you mentioned terms that are very specific to a single type of technology or endeavor ("GTmetrix" and "Google PageSpeed", etc.) Most Forum participants are not going to be familiar with these things. If you talk to Upwork Custome Support representatives, they will probably not be familar with these things, either.

 

Upwork and its employees are NOT going to evaluate the quality of work that was done by individual freelancers.

 

In your original post, you did not use the words "scam" or "unethical." It is good that you provided clarification.

 

Nobody at Upwork and none of us who are regular Forum particpants want any client to have a negative experience while using the site.

 

You should become aware of what your options are.

 

Read

"Get an Escrow Refund"

or:

"Request a Refund"

 

If the work was done using a fixed-price contract, then after the contract has closed you have 30 days within which you may file a dispute. Specifically: "Dispute assistance is available from Upwork Customer Support if the last payment on a contract was within the previous 30 days, or as long as funds are held in escrow on a fixed-price contract."

 

You should understand that because Upwork follows arbitration rules, there are extreme limitations regarding the degree to which they can "decide" anything about the disbursement of funds.

 

It is theoretically possible that you could talk to Upwork representatives and cause them to understand that you believe the freelancer committed fraud, and that such an understanding would lead to them taking direct action rather than using the normal channels of dispute/mediation and possibly arbitration. But it is very rare for that to happen, even in cases which seem "obvious" to a client.

 

Even if I understand completely what happened with that freelancer, I certainly can't guarantee that you would be able to get anybody at Upwork to take this matter outside of the standard channels using "more direct" action.

 

The simplest way to get your money back would be to send a message to the freelancer and ask him to refund the money. It costs nothing to do that.

 

You could, for example, write a short note to the freelancer stating that the work he did was not at all what you intended. You could offer him an opportunity to refund the money he received, and point out that if he does so, the matter will be over with.

 

If doing that achieves the result you desire, you will not need to file a dispute. If that doesn't work, the next step would be a dispute. A dispute does not cost any money to file. If a dispute does not resolve the matter, then the next step after that would be arbitration. Arbitration will ONLY happen if both the freelancer and client agree to pay $291 each (non-refundable).

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Steve, 


I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you, and for your experience with your freelancer. I checked your account and wanted to confirm if you are referring to the contract that was closed last December (Contract ID 23279070)? Please let me know so that I can look into this further.


~ Avery
Upwork
scttech
Community Member

Yes, that is the correct Contract ID, 23279070.
Thank you
scttech
Community Member

Correction on the amount paid out. It was $225.
varungs
Community Member

This isn't just "bad work", this is a scam. You should fight this case as far as it goes, and I hope you get your money back.

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Steve, 


I'll go ahead and share your concern with the appropriate team so that they can get in touch with you and assist you further. 


~ Avery
Upwork
politidis
Community Member

Hi Steve, I'm a buyer on UW too. If there is still time (within 30 days from the contract end) I would send an email to **Edited for Community Guidelines** asking them to initiate a dispute with that freelancer because of the reasons you've found out to be wrong (including some data too). Additionally, if the project run on milestones I'd make sure to click on the last milestone for a refund.

 

As awhite-hat website speed optimizer (freelancer) I guess the tactic you describe is depending on the user:agent. When theGTmetrix bot is detected it hides the scripts/styles he can't manage otherwise (and there are many white-hat ways to do it if the freelancer is not lazy) and serves a slimmed-down version of the site to trick the tool "cloaking" - black-hat tactic.

 

Cloaking is defined by Google as “the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines,” and is specifically prohibited in their Webmaster Guidelines.

Any action like this that violates Google’s guidelines puts a site at risk for SEO penalties, where the site can be demoted in, or even removed from, Google search results.

re: "I would send an email to..."

 

But what if you send a message to that email address, and absolutely nothing happens as a result?

I have never seen any evidence that Upwork wants people to initiate contact with Upwork Customer Support using email.

 

I advise all Upwork users to use Upwork's preferred methods for contacting Support. Such as a Help Desk ticket. Not email.

That's strange, because I have used this method 3 times already and it works great.

The last one was on Aug 26
[Screenshot from 2021-09-04 09-21-43.png]

re: "That's strange, because I have used this method 3 times already and it works great."

 

I a glad for you if it worked when you sent a message to that email address in order to initiate contact with Customer Support.

 

But note three things:

- The email address you posted here in the thread... an Upwork moderator REMOVED it from your post. It is actually a violation of Community Forum guidelines to post that email addess in the Forum.

 

- That email address can not be found on Upwork's website, at least not anywhere that is easy to find. If Upwork wanted people to contact Support using that email address, they would post it prominently.

 

- It is common to read posts in the Forum from users who have tried to send a message to Upwork Customer Support, but say that they have sent multiple messages over the course of many days and never received a reply.

 

I don't think anything bad will happen if somebody tries to initiate contact with Upwork Customer Support via email. If it worked for you or others, that's great.


But for nearly all questions or concerns that a person might have, it will be faster to search for an answer in the Forum and in Upwork's Help section. And if an answer isn't found, a faster and more complete answer is likely to be found by posting a question in the Forum. For those few matters that really need the help of Upwork support personnel, I recommend using a Help Desk ticket or using the "Get Support" button to activate the chatbot and using that to contact live chat.

 

If the thing you want to contact Support about has to do with managing a freelancer or a development project, I strongly urge clients to rethink that. Instead of thinking that contacting Upwork Support might be a solution for you, you will be better off learning how to use the available Upwork tools without needing direct intervention from Upwork personnel. This is a general statement. There are specific situations in which it may be appropriate to contact Upwork Support. But most of the time managing projects and freelancers is something that should be done by you and your project manager.


Preston H wrote:

For those few matters that really need the help of Upwork support personnel, I recommend using a Help Desk ticket


 

Preston, sending an email to the email address in question automatically creates a Helpdesk Ticket.

 


Preston H wrote:

It is common to read posts in the Forum from users who have tried to send a message to Upwork Customer Support, but say that they have sent multiple messages over the course of many days and never received a reply


Maybe they used the wrong email address.

Spoiler
I have used this method 3 times already and it works great.

The last time was on Aug 26.

**Edited for Community Guidelines**




Theodoros P wrote:

Hi Steve, I'm a buyer on UW too. If there is still time (within 30 days from the contract end)


Steve's situation happened 18 months ago... so he's well out of time if he hasn't done so now. The time-limit as to how long (and even if) you can dispute also varies dramatically between different contract types. 

 

With fixed rate contracts it is within 30 days of the last milestone having been released. NOT when the contract ended.

With hourly contracts it's the 5 days after the work week ended.

 


Theodoros P wrote:

Additionally, if the project run on milestones I'd make sure to click on the last milestone for a refund.


Clicking on the last milestone doesn't get you a refund. And again... You are (for some reason), responding to a post from January 2020...

Latest Articles
Upcoming Events
Jun 22
Upwork Virtual Community Hour
Community Hour English
Learning Paths