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7f9b79df
Community Member

Continuous Spam Links in Jobs

At what point will Upwork begin taking a more hard-line with companies signing up w/ Upwork just to post jobs with spam links?

 

While I've only been on Upwork a couple of months, I've seen quite a few jobs posted that are nothing other than affiliate type links. Some jobs have been posted for a couple of hours, while others have been posted for weeks.

 

For example, here's a job listing that is listed a couple of times, but the only thing that changes is the job title, i.e., "Top Graphic Designers" is swapped with "Back End Develoeprs". And there are other jobs posted by the company with the exact same affiliate link, but with modified spam text.

 

**Edited for community guidelines**

 

Flagging rarely helps. Out of curiousity, I saved a few jobs that were spam links and they remained on the site for weeks on end after flagging them as spam.

 

"Hiding" the job doesn't actually hide it from the job feed, it just collapses the view, but remains in the feed.

 

Before y'all start with the "just ignore the listings", etc... well, really??? This is an Upwork issue that needs to be fixed. This is not a "just search another way" work-around.

 

Why should we as professionals, often times paying 20% of our earnings to Upwork, have to come up with clever solutions for a professionally paid service?

 

Here's an idea: For trusted Upwork Freelancers, provide them "admin" like tools to super-flag a job listing which will:

  • immediately hide the job for everyone
  • prevent any further proposals from being submitted
  • prevent the company from posting any other listings
  • freeze any other listings by the company
  • send it to the Upwork team for immediate review (or top of the queue for review).
  • or something along those lines which makes it much more difficult for these companies to spam the community and prey on the vulnerabilities of a lot of freelancers.

Freelancers who abuse the super-flag policy will simply have their profile disabled (or similar).

 

The point being, Upwork could become a much better place to search for jobs if the feed wasn't filled with so much noise. And this goes beyond spam, but it's a starting point.

48 REPLIES 48
ashrafkhan81
Community Member

Wow! I was just going to reply with "just ignore and move on" sorry that was the plan...

 

But then I decided to run a search based on keywords you provided... found 44 jobs all posted within the last 2-4 hours and 90% of them have 10-15 bids...and what makes it worse is each of the job listings (I checked 10 of them) needed 6 connects!!!! 

 

Now that is a big problem, freelancers losing so many connects!!! 

 

It should be fairly simple for Upwork to stop something like with clear trend and fixed text format! 

 

 

Iโ€™m done complaining about all the scam/spam posts, and flagging them doesnโ€™t do any good and is taking up way too much of my time. After flagging them for the past 4 months and griping about them here, nothing has changed and I donโ€™t think it ever will. Why does UW bother taking them down when they just let THE EXACT SAME POSTS be posted an hour later, EVERY DAY, MULTIPLE TIMES? Anyway, all Iโ€™m doing is annoying people here, so I apologize to you all for that. And if anything, Iโ€™m seeing even more of them, not less. Sometimes when I check for new posts, the scam/spam ones outnumber the legit ones. So whatever, Iโ€™ll just wade through them and deal with it.

You're not annoying anyone here. The more voices we put forth, the more Upwork should listen. Solving this particular issue is not that difficult. Especially if Upwork adds "moderator" type tools to job listings for trusted Freelancers. In the end, Upwork would be getting "free" work, a more involved community, and a more legit job board/listings.

re: "Especially if Upwork adds 'moderator' type tools to job listings for trusted Freelancers."

 

I think this is a brilliant idea.

I think it actually WOULD work.

 

I have suggested something similar to that, for the Community Forum, a couple a few times.

 

I gave up suggesting anything like that quite a while ago, because there was just no way Upwork was considering it...

 

But this REALLY IS WORTH EXPLORING AND TALKING ABOUT.

 

It is sort of a "crazy idea."

But it is a "crazy idea" in the same way that human-powered flight once seemed like a crazy idea. It's "crazy", but it could actually work.

 

Some freelancers can ZAP PROBLEM JOB POSTINGS THEMSELVES. Immediately.

 

Not all freelancers.

Trusted freelancers.

And their work is reviewed, and anybody who is in any way out of line gets removed from the list.

 

But if John, David, Sally and Betsy always responsibly zap bad job postings, then let them do so. Their work is spot checked by official/paid Upwork reps to verify that they're doing it right. Any client can appeal or report a problem if their job post is removed incorrectly. But if only scammers' jobs are being removed, there won't be any appeals to deal with.

Have they been taken down yet?

As of now, I see at least 4 that were posted 10 hours ago. And 1 from 2 weeks ago.  These 5 all use the same URL I originally posted.

 

Then there are 90+ total postings with the same verbiage and similar bitly links.

 

So... no.

So that's not pretty quick. Maybe thet don't want to remove them for some reason.

Any updates on this?

Tally remains at 90+ in the job feed, anywhere from an hour ago to a fews ago.

 

Search for "understand our business goals" - with quotes. Any posting with a bitly url will be the spammers.

 

So, Upwork is aware of these spammers. They have replied to this post. Yet, they allow this one in particular inject everyone's feed. I'm sure this is just one of many.

 

TBH, you kinda have to admire the ingenuity of this type of spam. They are getting 20+ proposals per job posting; at that rate, that's about 2k known click throughs every couple of weeks. And probably 10x higher for those who've clicked, but not submitted a proposal.

 

OK, now I'm just jealous.

Thanks so much for posting this.

gilbert-phyllis
Community Member


Kindler C wrote:

At what point will Upwork begin taking a more hard-line with companies signing up w/ Upwork just to post jobs with spam links?

 

While I've only been on Upwork a couple of months, I've seen quite a few jobs posted that are nothing other than affiliate type links. Some jobs have been posted for a couple of hours, while others have been posted for weeks.

 

For example, here's a job listing that is listed a couple of times, but the only thing that changes is the job title, i.e., "Top Graphic Designers" is swapped with "Back End Develoeprs". And there are other jobs posted by the company with the exact same affiliate link, but with modified spam text.

 

We are looking For [Job Title Here]

Here is our Company URL: https://bit.ly/3lCSg7E

Please take a look at our site to understand our business goals.

This is an ongoing task and should last for several months.

Looking forward to working with you.

Thanks

 

Flagging rarely helps. Out of curiousity, I saved a few jobs that were spam links and they remained on the site for weeks on end after flagging them as spam.

 

"Hiding" the job doesn't actually hide it from the job feed, it just collapses the view, but remains in the feed.

 

Before y'all start with the "just ignore the listings", etc... well, really??? This is an Upwork issue that needs to be fixed. This is not a "just search another way" work-around.

 

Why should we as professionals, often times paying 20% of our earnings to Upwork, have to come up with clever solutions for a professionally paid service?

 

Here's an idea: For trusted Upwork Freelancers, provide them "admin" like tools to super-flag a job listing which will:

  • immediately hide the job for everyone
  • prevent any further proposals from being submitted
  • prevent the company from posting any other listings
  • freeze any other listings by the company
  • send it to the Upwork team for immediate review (or top of the queue for review).
  • or something along those lines which makes it much more difficult for these companies to spam the community and prey on the vulnerabilities of a lot of freelancers.

Freelancers who abuse the super-flag policy will simply have their profile disabled (or similar).

 

The point being, Upwork could become a much better place to search for jobs if the feed wasn't filled with so much noise. And this goes beyond spam, but it's a starting point.


Hold your horses, there. As a FL, I get along just fine deciding which job posts to ignore and which ones might be viable. I neither need nor want some well-meaning but possiby (likely) misguided FL eliminating job posts. What looks like a "scam" to you or someone else might represent an opportunity to me or someone else. There've been plenty of comments in various threads on this topic where FLs demonstrated clearly their idea of "scams" included legitimate posts.

 

Whether it is official Upwork personnel or trusted freelancers themselves who are able to remove job postings, it is important that Upwork ALLOWS REALLY BAD JOB POSTINGS.

 

Upwork should remove job posts that violate specific Upwork rules.

It should not remove job postings that match one freelancer's specific preferences.

 

Examples:

A job posting that is actually spam trying to get people to visit a website? Yes, remove that.

 

A REALLY BAD JOB POSTING that describes a blog article that needs to be written, but fails to specify the length of the article? No: That should not be removed.

The idea is not to allow the freelancer to remove the job post, the freelancer with those superpowers will flag it in some special way that will highlight and push the post up the queue for review by the Upwork team. 

 

And then Upwork takes the call! 

 

 

Actually, the idea is to allow a trused Freelancer to immediately remove the post. If the Freelancer false flags n-times, then their privelge is removed. The permissions could also be related to specific tags the Freelancer has in their profile. There are a lot of ways to make this work w/o being overly complicated, while still curating a community of Freelancers that will help clean up the job listings.

martina_plaschka
Community Member

It's not the worst idea, but I don't see upwork letting random unpaid freelancers mess with their job posting process. That would be crazy. 

I don't know what happens now when a posting is flagged, but they could have a system when a posting is flagged X times, it gets a temporary hold until it is checked by a real person and released or deleted or reverted back to the job poster for improvement/corrections, etc. 

"random freelancers"? Not at all. Again, trusted Freelancers. Where permissions are denied or account suspended if the Freelancer abuses the system. As it is now, flagging is ueselss. 

Well, that's all pretty subjective. I would not volunteer for an unpaid task that could risk my profile for any reason. Not going to join the NO REASON crowd. 

re: "I would not volunteer for an unpaid task that could risk my profile for any reason."

 

Your Upwork profile would be in no risk whatsoever under this plan (as I envision it).

 

If you remove job postings and then are found to have done so outside of guidelines...

Then your privilege to remove job postings could indeed be revoked.

But you don't have that right now anyway. So you wouldn't be at risk of losing anything that you have right now.

 

This program would NOT affect your freelancer profile at all. It can't "enhance" the status of your public profile, and it can't put your profile at risk.

 

YOU would be able to see your own "headcount": How many ToS-violating job postings you removed. And you would receive encouragement and congratulations when achieving certain milestones.

Account suspension? Really? For unpaid work? Let's say even if you get 2-3 or 4 chances account suspension is not justified in any case! 

 

If a freelancer abuses the special privilege, only his special privilege should be revoked! 

 

 

Still, the freelancer can never have to power to zap job postings. That would not be a viable concept. 

Not viable? That's your opinion.

 

Here's an idea, if you do not like this post/idea, don't comment. Just ignore it. The same way you can just ignore job postings. See how that works?

Nah, I'm still going to comment if I feel like it. 

petra_r
Community Member


Kindler C wrote:

Here's an idea, if you do not like this post/idea, don't comment. 


Oh? So as far as you are concerned only people who agree are allowed to comment? 


Or what? 

 

I am also certain that this will never be implemented.

 

That said, I find that job posts I flag are mostly removed quickly.

This idea is totally insane...

 

And yet...

This is the same thing that many major websites and resource do.

 

Such as Wikipedia. Say whatever you want about Wikipedia... but the articles ACTUALLY ARE WRITTEN and edited by regular unpaid users.

 

There are many sites where "crowdsourcing" is used effectively, including for the purpose of removing postings which violate site guidelines.

 

Freelancers on Upwork are ALREADY ALLOWED to flag/report job postings which violate Upwork ToS. I believe many freelancers would be even more enthusiastic about participating in the work of keeping the platform clean and safe if they were actually able to immediately remove a ToS-violating job posting.

Yes. Finally the bigger picture is seen. +10 kudos to you sir!

ashrafkhan81
Community Member

Ok, I again ran a search with the keyword "Please take a look at our site to understand our business goals." and now there are 84 jobs with that posting and most of those jobs have 20-50 proposals and almost all of them need 6 connects to send a proposal! 

 

Just an hour ago there were 44 jobs with that keyword! 

 

Let's see how, Upwork deals with this...

 

 

Best case, they remove them and don't let these people repost them. But that won't happen, especially the letting them repost them part. What's the point in flagging when the same clients are allowed to repost the same spam/scam posts over and over again? And THEY ARE the same clients, and THEY ARE the same posts.

It is in fact not from the same client. A group of few people, if we look at the filter options the actual "text" of this SPAM job is from an actual job post by a Bangladesh-based Client who has $6K in total spend on the platform. So the spammers have copied his text and posted the same text and just changed the URL. 

 

A few of them have $5 in total spend

 

 

 

 

 

I applaud you, sir. But I was talking about the bigger spam/scam picture and did say "people" and "clients," plural. I know that there are of course more than one of them.

kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Hi Kindler,


Thanks for sharing your feedback and suggestion. I'm not aware of any plans to enable specific Upwork freelancers to hide or remove job postings from the marketplace. However, I'd like to note that all user flags are reviewed by Upwork Trust & Safety team. 


I understand that spam, scam and jobs that violate Upwork TOS are something that many of you are very concerned with.  Senior Product Manager with Upwork Trust & Safety, Jason, just recently posted a blog post here with more information on how his team is approaching this issue.

~ Valeria
Upwork

I read the blog post and it is very helpful, so thanks for that. But it does seem to beg the question of why UW allows posts that contain all these red flags to be posted in the first place.  


Peter G wrote:

it does seem to beg the question of why UW allows posts that contain all these red flags to be posted in the first place.  


Who says that Upwork "allow" it?

 

Peter G wrote:

Iโ€™m done complaining about all the scam/spam posts


Is that a promise?

 

re: "I am also certain that this will never be implemented."

 

I agree that it seems highly unlikely that this will be implemented.

 

Despite the fact that it is a great idea which really could work.

 

re: "That said, I find that job posts I flag are mostly removed quickly."

 

I agree.

And I think that this is a crucial point in this discussion.

 

There would be more need for freelancers to directly remove TOS-violating jobs if Upwork was not already doing so promptly.

 

I think that frustration among freelancers who comment about this topic stems from VERY SPECIFIC types of problem job posts that crop up.

 

And not because there isn't any process in place. And not because the process isn't effective.

 

For most types of ToS-violating jobs... flagging those jobs as inappropriate leads to quick action.

 

But then there are exceptions, when a large number of ToS-violating jobs evade established filters and protocols... That is when freelancers feel that Upwork is not doing anything. These situations may be the result of new techniques by scammers, which Upwork personnel have not yet become familiar with.

I'm sure UW will adjust accordingly.

Yes. Will you promise to keep saying that UW should do no more than they already do to stop them? And I'm sure you noticed that the blog post from UW with the list of red flags to watch out for is very similar to the list I posted a couple of weeks ago which you said was not helpful. Do you feel UW's list is helpful or not, and should they keep posting things like that or not?


Peter G wrote:

Yes. 


Thank you!

 


Peter G wrote:

Will you promise to keep saying that UW should do no more than they already do to stop them? 


What are you talking about? I never said anything of the sort. Ever.

But really, THANK YOU for promising that you are "done complaining about all the scam/spam posts". 

 

I'm sorry, but I really interpreted many of the things you have said that anything more UW could do that would prevent so many span and scam posts would harm freelancers ability to find work and therefore shouldn't be done. You've shot down every idea anyone has made about how to do that. So I guess I'll just ask you a yes or no question: Should UW do more than they already do to prevent so many scam and spam posts?

roberty1y
Community Member

I see posts from dozens of disgruntled freelancers here every day who are mad at Upwork for various reasons, justified or otherwise. Give hundreds of thousands of people the power to remove job posts and there'll be chaos. There'll be people removing legitimate jobs out of spite against Upwork for what they see as its failure to provide them with steady employment. People who aren't getting any jobs anyway have nothing to lose.

I would encourage you to read the suggestion again. 

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