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jenmhutson
Member

Disallow clients from using feedback extortion.

I've lost count of how many times I've seen posts with the phrase "Apply if you'd like 5* feedback on your profile." Not surprisingly, these jobs almost always offer appalling rates.

 

How is this allowed? This is clearly feedback extortion and takes advantage of new freelancers. Ultimately, it kills the marketplace.

 

Odesk rules are very clear about feedback manipulation and this is no different. Feedback or any promises of a high rating should be completely prohibited in job postings.

 

I implore oDesk to make a rule that disallows clients from mentioning anything about feedback, as this is EXTORTION and MANIPULATION.

 

Please oDesk, do the right thing and stand up for your contractors, for once. You are promoting a toxic, unhealthy marketplace by condoning these atrocious practices and this has gone on long enough.

20 REPLIES 20
lyambarreau
Member

I think they should look at feedback blackmail too. 

Both clients and freelancers have attempted to use "feedback blackmail." As a freelancer, I have received intimidating private emails from a recent client threatening bad feedback and ratings because I had requested to re-negotiate contracts as a result of the client requesting work well outside of the previously negotiated scope of work as documented in the contract (aka "scope creep").

The client had also threatened to report to oDesk and attempt to get their money back via the oDesk Money-back Guarantee" program. Fortunately, in my case, in addition to documenting my side of the situation via oDesk Support, I was able to deploy other measures to thwart that client's unwarranted attempts at what appeared to be extortion.

Edited 01/09/2015 RT/lwm

Ron aka LanWanMan
anne_ginger
Member

Talk about extortion, I logged in because I got several invites but they all turned out to be from those who wants to outsouce their homework and someone was even promising 5 stars if he gets an A. I asked for details (reported the client to his university as well and contacted his professor) and then withdrew from the job. These people needs to be taught a lesson.

 

24 hrs update: The professor replied. Someone's in deep trouble now ๐Ÿ™‚



โ„โ„โ„ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines โ„โ„โ„

Hahaha, good job!

Kudos for Dianne, she is always ahead of the pack! New issues, humorous results; always something new and often entertaining...lol....

Edited 01/09/2015 RT/lwm

Ron aka LanWanMan
vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Jennifer, youโ€™re right. Coercing Freelancers to submit free work under threat of negative feedback is indeed a serious violation of our policy. We encourage members to reportany job posts asking for free samples or free work, so we can review and take appropriate action.

 

Our Marketplace Quality team is working hard identifying and removing job postings that manipulate feedback like that, and we really appreciate usersโ€™ help reporting them.

~ Vladimir
Upwork

This has nothing to do with clients asking for free work, and everything to do with clients promising 5-star feedback to freelancers with the lowest rates or new freelancers.

 

Example: "Easy 800-word article on medical niche, new freelancers welcome. Apply if you want some 5* feedback on your profile." Pay rate $1.50.

 

These clients extort new freelancers for good feedback, in exchange for cheap articles. They are crooks and gaming the system.

 

There should be a rule that prohibits clients from posting ANYTHING related to getting good feedback if you apply to their jobs, because that is feedback blackmail.

 

It's utterly ridiculous that they're even allowed to mention feedback at all in job postings. Where is oDesk's interest for its contractors?

The freelancer policies state:

 

"The following should not be included in a job application:

  • Any offer of services for the sole purpose of building good feedback."

The client policies have no such provision, so it's okay for a client to do it, but not for a freelancer to offer. Makes no sense.

KU, I might agree with that as long as the expression "sole purpose" is included in the text.

I never demand or make any unethical attempts to obtain positive feedback and good ratings; however, especially with questionable, prospective clients (For example, clients with questionable oDesk history, newbies, etc.), I might point out the importance of positive feedback and good ratings for both clients and freelancers. I also go to great lengths to ensure complete customer satisfaction in hopes of securing positive feedback and good ratings.

Edited 01/09/2015 RT/lwm

Ron aka LanWanMan

We agree Jennifer, and as mentioned this violates our User Agreement. Please report the job post so we can take a look.

JH, I agree that clients should not be allowed to make overt promises of positive feedback and 5.0 ratings in exchange for services. On the other hand, if the client were to use appropriate and ethical wording to point out that they recognize the importance of positive feedback and 5.0 ratings, I would not object to that.

I would interpret that as the client attempting to emphasize their good character. Of course, a very thorough review of the job description and all information available about the client is necessary in order to determine the client's true intent.

How does the phrase go, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck. Ref.: Duck Test http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_test

Challenge (Probably should have been posted under "Coffee Break): Take the creative writer challenge. One variation for clients and one for freelancers. The Client Test and the Freelancer Test...if it....


Edited 01/09/2015 RT/lwm

Ron aka LanWanMan
anne_ginger
Member

Jennifer I've reported similar posts in the past and all I got is either the same reply posted by the mod above or something along the lines of just flag it. One time a support agent said it isn't feedback blackmail so I said, fine, it is feedback manipulation then the agent said they will investigate but only IF many people complain. I said no need for that just read the job ad, it's pretty obvious! The chat disconnected. Sad.



โ„โ„โ„ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines โ„โ„โ„
jenmhutson
Member

Garnor, I report these posts all the time and nothing is ever done about them. They continue to stay up and the clients that post them are usually ones that are not new to oDesk.

 

What is the point in reporting them, if your customer servcie team allows them to stay up?

I agree. It's highly frustrating to flag the same job post over and over againโ€ฆ Recently, I asked myself why is it that I bother to do that when oDesk seems not to bother at all... I mean, no action seems to take place except for saying 'the job is no longer available', but then, a few minutes later, there it is againโ€ฆ 

One solution for oDesk would be to come up with one of their famous algorithms to determine trusted members whose reports would go straight to the top of the pile.

 

I suspect there is a lot of reporting and it may not be accurate. But let's say you find that I've made 10 accurate spam reports. Seems the next time I report spam - oDesk should feel pretty comfortable that it's a good report.

 

I've seen this type of thing used well on Yahoo Answers, for example, where a bad post would take three reports before it is removed OR just one report from one of the trusted members.

Knowing oDesk's robots, the one assigned to this  would notice that you write"spam" a lot, and so decide that you must be a spammer, and secretly hide all your job applications..

No offense but please not another algorithm Smiley LOL

 

Edited 01/09/2015 RT/lwm

 

Ron aka LanWanMan

Hi Jennifer,

We will review these reports and do our best to consult with the clients to fix the violations or where egregious, remove the job post ourselves. Your efforts to report these posts are helpful in identifying any cases that made it through our reviews. 

Garnor,

 

I've flagged jobs like the OP described in the past and even went as far as contacting support. I have flagged one client about 15 or more times over the course of a few days and the job ads was never taken down. The client simply recycles them and reposts them again and again.

 

How come something like that is allowed if it is indeed true that job posts are investigated when we flag them? That person is still very much active and I stopped flagging his/her ad. Why? Nothing comes out of flagging them in my experience.

 

How many times does a client has to get flagged for posting jobs like that before they are told to revise their practices? 



โ„โ„โ„ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines โ„โ„โ„

Flagging job posts has not seemed to work. Creating support tickets describing the issues have not seemed to work. Support tickets seem to have resulted in requests from support to support ticket initiators to perform more research and provide additional information to support. Whose JOB is it to do that type of research anyway?

Of course, my understanding of oDesk rules might not be precise. Is it against any oDesk rules to offer or request service skills like hacking or and to do something unorthodox? In other words, offering or requesting unethical, possibly illegal services.

 

Maybe they were just kidding around trying to get more attention from readers. After all, I admit that all other writings concerning those individuals seemed above board and in good order.

 

ADDED Dec 26, 2014. Let's see if the "Report Inappropriate Content" feature here in the Commuhnity works...content ie., job desc. in wrong place....


Edited 01/09/2015 RT/lwm

 

Ron aka LanWanMan