oDesk client readiness test is sorely needed

I think it should be mandatory for new oDesk clients that have not hired their first contractor to pass an oDesk Client readiness test before being able to hire someone.


I am meeting a lot of new clients that really don't know how this platform works at all.


I have to baby them in all aspects of oDesk.


Recently when this one client realized he could not get all his money back (on a contract I had with him with money back guarantee, where he had previously said I was doing a good job and thanked me) - he ended the contract and left bad feedback.  This contract went south overnight, going from a good working relationship to utter disaster in the space of 24 hours.  I was absolutely shocked by his reverse in attitude.


I really hope there is a client account review going on, like the contractor review.


Who you going to believe - someone thats successfully helped hundreds of clients, or the newbie client who left bad feedback on his first hire!??


Yes, while it feels really good to know that you are recognized as a quality provider (due to MBG)  I had a lot of challenges related to MBG contracts .With that said, I had a lot of lovely , amazing clients on MBG as well, but I just recently had the worst experience ever and I think I 'll focus on fixed-price contracts  from now on and do an hourly MBG just with clients that I already know.It is a nice gesture from oDesk  really , I mean trying to give me the wind at my back (and I really appreciate it!) but it just seems to me that I work much better with clients who choose me because of me , without that special guarantee included.

Also, I would just remove that disclaimer from oDesk profile overview if I were you (I know you are upset!) I mean you don't want to look sour and to show that one negative experience has defined you (again, this is just a suggestion.)



Totally agree


We need this sooooooo much!


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Hi John B,

Thanks for the feedback. Two points on your discussion thread here:


1. We are going to do more to provide education for clients along the way. In fact, we've been doing a lot of work to build out our Client Quick Help videos here and will be doing more soon to integrate these in the hiring experience directly and via email. I don't see us implementing a client readiness test in the near future, but this is a step in the right direction.


2. Yes, we do also review client activity in the marketplace and we have implemented an ongoing process to not only review these accounts but also intercede and in some cases, implement account restrictions when that client activity isn't up to our standards. We're going to be doing more in this area soon as well.



I'll believe this when I see the Client forum filled with "Why am I suspended?" or "Why am I under review?"


I just don't believe it. I don't believe reporting clients does anything, I don't believe reporting suspicious descriptions does anything and I don't believe oDesk care about integrity.


I've just seen a job description asking for 100 bank accounts. If such a description appeared, it should've been deleted immediately and the account suspended. 


Please prove us wrong!


Most of the very dubious jobs are from non-payment verified clients. Perhaps limiting the posting ability of clients until they verified their payment methods is the answer.


I personally find it very taxing that oftentimes, I need to help new clients to verify their payment method just to ensure they can pay me. It can easily eat up 30 minutes to a few hours of my time depending on how techy the client is. Hours which I am NOT paid for assisting the client on how to use oDesk and hours which I could have used for other purposes. Assisting the client on how to use oDesk is the platform's job not mine. 

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For posts like the 100 bank accounts one, oDesk should be doing more than suspending the clients. They should be reporting them to the proper authorities.

Completely agree with Marcia. I personally think oDesk should employ a couple of people to approve job descriptions before they go live.


I mean, how many people have seen the job: "Typing from PDF to Word", then the description (I remember because I see it so often) - "we're in the process of digitalizing old books, newspapers...."

ODesk told me they do filter job ads before they go live and that's the reason why when posting a job, it takes a few minutes before it goes live. I was told that TWICE on live chat.


I'm not sure if that is still true these days as that conversation was before the E-O merge so maybe things are different now (can the mods confirm?). I did notice that the quality of ads went significantly lower this year. It's like a completely new marketplace.

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WOW just wow. I've read what the client did to you and I'm just surprised you have so much patience. I thought my experience with the bad client I posted about last week was bad. This one takes it to a whole new level. Why would he even hire you and place he is willing to pay for the highest paid freelancer in his job if he would later say he can't afford you and then completely went nuts over $85 is crazy, especially that it seems you spent hours upon hours trying to help him for FREE. New clients like this deserve the guillotine. 


I hope the platform hurries up in their plan to clean the site of clients like this. I know at least 3 freelancers (charges $100/hr ave.) who all have left the platform because of bad clients. They need to act faster or we'll all be gone too despite oDesk being my favourite.

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Hi Dianne,


you should have seen how upset I was yesterday morning. 


Trying to get to sleep (around 10am in the heat) was so difficult.  Finally fell asleep but did not get up to 11pm on Saturday night.   So much for going out on the weekend!!


Anyway I am going to close down some existing ( non-active ) contracts and see what other clients have to say about me.  Maybe I can bury that bad review. 


To think on oDesk November 2012 was the last time a client gave me a nasty review.  I've had a couple of average scores in that time but nothing like this last one or that one in Nov 2012.


Plus I had another client pay a second milestone yesterday which I was worried about cause it was one of those new crazy fixed price jobs....


Got to try to stick to my motto - Onwards and Upwards!

Hi John, 


I know how it feels. I've experienced the same a few times during my early days here and I almost gave up. It seems that the only way to get rid of a totally unfair feedback is to refund the client in full and I had to do that before because the client lied and at that time, there was no respond to feedback feature yet. It was an expensive lesson for me but sadly, no matter how 'seasoned' we become, bad clients will always find us.


There really should be a feedback dispute system for certain cases such as when the client says they like the work but somehow leaves a very negative feedback later just because of some minor misunderstanding especially if the misunderstanding is the client's own fault. Also, whoever is processing cases such as asking for a refund and getting it should be a lot stricter.


This isn't Walmart or Costco where you can get refund even after months of using a product. No one can refund or return a freelancer's time!



Clients shouldn't be given the power to use it and only pay if they want to. I've seen cases of fixed price contracts and hourly ones being refunded months after the client said they love the work being posted all over the forums these days. One recent refund I've read about happened because the client changed his mind about his business' approach. How unfair is that?


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This is a great idea because I have to spent an hour every time I have a new client who hasn't been on oDesk before just trying to explain him how everything works. I should be payed for playing costumer support.

Ditto to what Valerija said. This past week I hired two contractors who were new to oDesk. Both started working hourly contracts without having any idea that they should be tracking their time with Team application. I had to send them detailed instructions and walk them through downloading, installing, launching, logging into the time tracker.

Apparently this won't be happening any time soon, or ever. I'm going through the same situation. A new client contacted me directly, making an offer for a transcription job, When I saw the offer I was only able to see the first milestone funded, she said it was for the first audio (4 in total) I asked her how long was the first audio, how many speakers, if it was clear or not. She said it was 30 min, 2 speakers and clear audio so I accepted because the funded milestone was appropriate for that kind of audio. Then she wouldn't communicate quickly so I didn't get the audios until after a couple of days and to my surprise the audios were bad quality and I told her this. She sent me backup audios so I basically had to do extra work listening to 2 audios for each interview, both bad quality, to try and understand something. Also, the lengthtime of the backup audios was different so I had to look for the exact time where the original audio started. A total waste of my time but since I had already accepted the offer I felt obliged to go through with it.

When I finished that first transcription I told her we had to discuss about the price for the other 3 interviews, She said she had made a full fixed price offer (which I didn't see when I accepted, I only saw the 1st milestone). The bid was lower than I would have charged but accepted for the 4 files I had.

It's worth saying that she didn't release the first milestone even after I had sent her the file through the messaging system and through the milestone itself. But I still had to continue to work because she was in a rush and like I said, she didn't communicate effectively.

Now she's saying that I didn't do an additional audio (one interview was split in 2 which I took as 2 separate interviews) and that the transcripts are not good enough because there are too many unintelligibles (due to the bad audio) and she wants me to go over all the audios again and fill in the blanks or she would deduct money from the 2nd milestone (which she was able to set up after I told her how to release funds from the 1st milestone after she suggested paying through paypal). I told her if she had told me in the beginning that the quality of the audio was bad I would have never accepted the offer, but instead she said it was clear, which was a lie.


I don't know how this will end, but I think I can be certain that my 5.00 star feedback will be ruined. It was a mistake to take that job from a new client, never again.

Marissa, for future reference, all you need to do is have the client send the audio file BEFORE you accept a hire contract.


I do this ALL THE TIME.


I don't do transcription, but the same principle applies. 

You want me to design a database for your data?


Okay. Send me the data to look at first or hire me on an hourly basis.


If they want a fixed price quote, they need to send me the files I will be working with.

Same thing for you. Get the file first. Check it out. Send a bid for how much you will charge.