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Connects Reimbursement

First of all, I've only been a member for less than a month so my views are going to be heavily influenced by that fact.


In my first few weeks, I've sent proposals to 10-15 potential clients and my experience so far is that very few people actually reply.  Probably my profile is unimpressive, perhaps my proposals were lacking in comparison to others.  However, as a test, in one case, I saw the job offer 3 minutes after it was posted, and within 10 minutes I had completed the task and produced a short video showing it working - the client still did not reply.


So... I understand the reason for not allowing more connects is that we don't want clients to be inundated with bad proposals. But if I had purchased these connects and had been ignored, I would definitely question whether purchasing them was worth it.  In addition, on this forum I have read that there are an increasing number of fake job offers which would be another opportunity to lose connects unfairly - admittedly I have no evidence of my own to know if this is true.


My proposal is hopefully a compromise that improves the quality for everyone.  Clients should be required to explicitly reject a proposal.  Each time they do, they are essentially stating that they feel the freelancer did not fulfill their requirements and either should not have made a proposal or should have provided better information.  In doing so, they are helping to improve the quality of proposals.  However, if they do not reject the proposal and simply ignore it, perhaps because they have already received another proposal they wish to action, the connect is returned to the freelancer after X number of days so that they may try again.


In my humble opinion, I believe this will improve the quality of proposals / clients, yes it may reduce revenue of purchased connects in the short term but in the long term, it will encourage good quality freelancers to persist with the website longer and ultimately do more work and thus earn more revenue for Upwork.

Community Member

Hi Ross,


Thank you for sharing this here. Your feedback and suggestions really mean a lot to us to improve our service. I believe you're referring to the "Connects" as "Credits", which is being used when sending proposals or applying for a job. Please note that we return Connects when a client closes their job without hiring or we find a job post has violated our Terms of Service


The team will surely review your suggestions and we'll keep all users posted whenever we have updates. For the time being, feel free to check this help article for you to be more acquainted with how Connects works


~ Arjay
Community Member

Thank you Arjay, the help article did teach me some things I didn't know about other ways you can earn "connects" but returning connects only when its effectively spam doesn't quite cover the point I was trying to make.


As it stands, the system unintentionally penalises those who make themselves available and those who have a broad set of wanted skills and I just don't think that's in the interest of anyone, hence my suggestion.

Community Member

Let me ask you this: when you go through your job feed and collapse a posting, which reason do you select from the drop-down menu? How much time do you spend on selecting the best reason?

I certainly don't spend any thought on it. I use the one at the top, or the bottom, depending which is closest to my cursor.

If clients were forced to turn down proposals, they would do the same, so I doubt that the reason you get will give you actionable information. Clients can already decline proposals, and you know or will see how rarely they use this function. 

Connects used on a fake job posting are returned when upwork takes it down. 

You should see a decline of those postings anyway, since upwork changed their free connects policy when they realized that lots of people were gaming the system for the free connects. It worked like this: Somebody creates a client account, posts a job, his buddies apply, he responds, they get free connects. Fake client never hires. Not only did these people cheat the system, they also cheated their fellow freelancers who had no idea this never was a real job post. That is the lowest of the low, IMO. That problem should get better when they all realize their little game is up. 

Thanks for the feedback Martina.


I have never actually used the feature to collapse the job feed, honestly I didn't really realise it was there so thanks for bringing that to my attention.  However, I would have to disagree that if I were to use it, I would actually take the time to do it properly but I appreciate everyone is different.


I would also like to clarify that I'm not suggesting we force clients to turn down proposals.  Obviously it would be in their interest if they helped clean out the poor proposals and actually incentivising them to do so would be a good idea.  All I'm suggesting is that if they completely ignore a proposal, perhaps not even open it, then those connects from those applicants should be returned.  I should also caveat that I've never actually seen the client screen so I don't currently know how this works.

I was unaware of the practise of fake jobs, that is sad.  In theory, had this suggestion been implemented though, even if people had posted jobs and then just accepted their friends one and ignored the rest, at least the ignored would have received their connects back.

If a client closes a job post without hire, you get the connects back. I don't know if the scammers did that, but I doubt they are that considerate to their fellow freelancers. 

The best strategy is to consider connects as what they are - a cost of doing business, just like your internet connection and office space. If you sent a job application by snail mail with a postage stamp, and you didn't get the job, are you going to the post office demanding a new stamp?

Some connects come back, most don't. They are not a commodity that can be traded back and forth endlessly, they are supposed to be used. It's the price you pay for the connection (hence connects, I assume) that upwork facilitates between client and freelancer. Personally I have not bought connects in years, so they aren't even a cost factor for me, and I believe I'm not an exception. 

I do like the analogy of the stamp.


But you said it yourself, you have not needed to buy connects in years whereas after less than a month I have already found the number insufficient - our situations are clearly quite different and maybe that's indicative that users experience might be influenced by their line of work or the number of people competing in their field.


Currently, connects for me are like stamps, cost prohibitive, I need them to be more like an email newsletter but we still need to avoid spam.


At the end of the day, I'm a very experienced software developer and I'm struggling to find a way to use Upwork as a freelancer, I therefore expect that other less experienced developers must also be having this problem and I'm highlighting it in the hope of coming up with suggestions on how to improve it.


As it stands, it doesn't sound like simply increasing the connects is the right thing to do so an "Unread email" connect being returned seems like a fairest solution.

Community Member

I somewhat identify with Ross C ... some learning points there as I am relatively quite new to Upwork. Thank you for the post.


It seems true now, some clients don't explicitly decline a proposal. Can I assume after say 5 to 7 days I do not get a response (and I see the client has already has at least 1 hire) that I will not be considered further? As such, if I go back in and withdraw my proposal, do I get Connects returned / reimbursed - especially in some cases where I see a notice that says 'job is no more available' yet I do not get a 'decline' message from the client ?

No, they are not returned in that case. 

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