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Availability Limits Freelancers' ... availability!

Community Guru
Ronald T Member Since: Sep 14, 2009
1 of 7
I always try to see the positive side of things. Nonetheless, it's getting harder to be that way. I joined oDesk in September of 2009, and all was fine until the last quarter of 2013 and especially the first quarter of 2014 when oDesk made changes (e.g., hidden applications and new client search for freelancers algorithm) that resulted in far fewer invitations and less hires due to not showing up in clients' searches. Now, today I learned about the NEW freelancer "Availability" setting. There is a new setting for freelancers; Availability: Full-time (30+ hrs/week), Part-time (10-30 hrs/week), or Less than 10 hrs/week. I asked chat support "Does any selection I make exclude me from any other selection in clients' search results? For example, Does selecting Part-time (10-30 hrs/week) exclude me from showing up for clients in search of full time?" oDesk chat support replied "Yes, it does. Availability is part of the search algorithm. This means that if you indicate your availability as part time, your profile only show in the part time search list." I asked chat support "OK. Does selecting Full-time (30+ hrs/week) exclude me from showing up in the other two availability categories?" oDesk chat support replied "Yes. Availability is a factor in matching freelancers to relevant job postings and vice versa." Now I have to guess what jobs are in demand in order to show up in search results. A combination of part time jobs equals full time work. How can we [freelancers] use the NEW "Availability" setting to our advantage? What am I missing here? oDesk Freelancer with an oDesk 5.0 RATING and 2,800 PLUS HOURS Ocala, Florida USA
Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
2 of 7
"How can we [freelancers] use the NEW "Availability" setting to our advantage? What am I missing here?" What you're missing is that it's a new feature by oDesk based on an idea someone had, rushed untested into being with no consultation, and based on an arcane mad robot algorithm full of holes - par for the course recently, I'm afraid. I have my availability set to available full time - because I am if the right job comes along. A few days ago I was invited to interview for a job with a tight two-day turnaround, while I was working on as project that had to be finished in two days. If the job I was invited to had a later deadline, or the client would agree to push it back, then I would be available - but it specified the strict deadline. And it would make perfect sense, if I'm working on a job that finishes Tuesday, that on Monday I pick up a job that I can start on Wednesday and finish on Friday - instead of waiting till Wednesday to start looking for jobs, and lose however many days. So, I reluctantly clicked the decline interview button, with a reason of "not available". And what do I get? - a big flasher informing me that it would be turning my availability off!! So, I wrote some generic text and clicked "other" for reason, and got around it. OK, that's a ramble - but it's just another example of what's happening on here recently - they're trying to automate everything that's really not automatable, and make assumptions of human intentions based on simple clicks of buttons. When will they realise that algorithms can't deal very well with the complex subject of human intentions, because they're only algorithms. Now I'm talking here about even good algorithms - but these are oDesk mad robot algorithms, seemingly written on a Friday afternoon in a rush to get to the pub, then forgotten about till Monday morning, when no-one can remember what they're about, so they just launch them anyway. Other examples that have been launched recently that IMO are totally user-unfriendly, complex, unintuitive and un-asked for: 1)the famous hidden applications mad robot - probably the maddest of them all, and the one with the best history of messing up people's livelihoods, and also of being the most universally hated. 2) the price guarantee on jobs - with no input from the freelancer as to whether they want the guarantee or not, and no way for the freelancer to know until there's a contract 3) the fixed-price "guarantee" - which isn't really a guarantee, but a way of holding up the flow of money for maybe up to two weeks, with even then no guarantee of being paid 4) a star membership club that gets its sums wrong regarding how much you've earned, and rewards high earners or diligent workers with access to support!! So now, the availability button can in my mind take its place alongside these. What's going to be next? Maybe an algorithm that applies for jobs for you without telling you? or a lottery that randomly takes 50% off your earnings depending on what day of the week you finish a job on? Nothing would surprise me any more...
Community Guru
Ronald T Member Since: Sep 14, 2009
3 of 7
It's official, at least we have a name for it. "oDesk mad robot algorithms"! Thanks for the reply!
Community Guru
Natasha R Member Since: Aug 2, 2010
4 of 7
This happened to someone. While I was submitting my application, this message came up: "You do not meet all the client's preferred qualifications You may still submit an application, but the client will see that the application does not meet the following criteria: English: 4" It turns the job post is saying the English level should be at least 4 out 5, and since her English level is 5 she got the warning. :-|
Community Guru
Margaret P Member Since: Jul 7, 2007
5 of 7
oDesk does no testing or QA on the code that is put out. They just toss it out there and run away.
Community Guru
Bojana D Member Since: May 2, 2011
6 of 7
Well if my code was as decent as what they implement on here, I'd run too.
Active Member
Jacobus S Member Since: Jun 5, 2011
7 of 7
I agree with this. Yes, perhaps the client would like to see how much time the contractor can spend on his or her tasks. This may make a nice addition to the profile, under the description banner of the contractor. Perhaps an option to sort by availability. Or to sort by rating and then availability. Or whatever. But selecting one of the options should CERTAINLY not exclude the others. What madness is that? I am quite sure that a full-time contractor is also available part-time? I have just a moment ago commented on a post, likening such crude tools to using hand size to judge pianistic talent. This is exactly what oDesk is doing with their blind use of nonsensical data in algorithms. Some part-time workers can do more work than some can do full-time. Some full-time workers can do part-time work. Some part-time workers may want to have one full-time contract. Whatever. It depends on the individual contractor and client. However, everyone may take a piece of the blame pie at this point and stuff their faces with it. A lot of clients are too lazy to read profiles. They then blame oDesk and contractors when they don't get what they want. A lot of contractors are too lazy to complete their profiles and share relevant and proper information with whomever reads it. They then blame clients and complain to oDesk when they don't get paid. And, apparently, oDesk programmers/mathematicians are too lazy to design a proper algorithm. And then they... well, I don't know what they do about it. That being said, the complete and mad algorithmization of every single thing has to stop. This is not a factory producing canned tomatoes. Communication, not automation! These poorly employed half-baked ideas are as useless as stupid ideas.
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