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Fake projects, fake feedback conspiracy theory

matthew24857
Ace Contributor
Matthew C Member Since: Feb 4, 2020
1 of 8

Hey, clients, you've heard that some freelancers have fake feedback, right?

 

And hey, freelancers, you've noticed that some project ads look fake right?

 

Well, what if there's a connection? It's quite simple: an unethical freelancer creates a fake account (or gets one of his/her friends to create a fake account), posts a fake project, hires himself/herself, and gives himself/herself fake feedback.

 

And all the real, ethical people lose: real freelancers waste connects on those fake projects and real clients might be duped into hiring freelancers with fake feedback.

 

(I was looking just now at a project I lost where someone was hired with no "Interview". That seems suspicious. No interview? Then I looked at other projects posted by the same person, and the feedback between both client and freelancer was very generic, like "Great freelancer!" and "Great client!" It occurred to me there might be a scam going on there.)

 

tinker_bell3
Moderator
Joanne Marie P Moderator Member Since: Nov 26, 2017
2 of 8

Hi Matthew, 

 

Could you please share the job post link via PM so I can check with the team? Additionally,  if you see a job or invitation that looks suspicious or inappropriate, you can flag it using the flagging option. You can read more on this help article and also, please check out Tips to avoid questionable jobs.

~ Joanne
Upwork
tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
3 of 8

Matthew,

I can tell from your posts that you have a very analytical mind and enjoy exploring all the details of how Upwork's ecosystem works. And, I believe you are correct, there are freelancers who attempt to game the system by acquiring fake reviews. I imagine if you did a search using your web browser, you would probably eventually find sources where you could sign up to be a fake client or freelancer (but I've not tested this theory.) 
The bottom line is: It is what it is. Yes, some people will cheat. There are hundreds of thousands of freelancers using Upwork and similar platforms. There are many clients who never hire anyone. There are guarantees and individual protections are limited.

So you have a choice to make. Given all the negatives, injustices, and ways to game the system, can you still find legitimate work that pays well enough to justify the financial and opportunity costs of purchasing connects and sending proposals? For a lot of people, the answer is no. Test the system out, accepting that it is imperfect and see if you can make money. But try not to get too caught up in the many ways in which it is flawed. If you look at the existing posts in the forums, you'll see that the flaws have been present for a very long time. We may not like them, but the most successful freelancers learn to work around them. GL


ETA: I have found that most of Upwork's job search, proposals and other stats are delayed, inaccurate or just plain don't make sense. So, I wouldn't assume that no interview took place prior to the hire based on what you can view on the job history. 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 8

Matthew C wrote:

I was looking just now at a project I lost where someone was hired with no "Interview". That seems suspicious. No interview


So? Maybe the client just hired from the proposal or had worked with the freelancer previously. Not everything requires an interview.

 


Matthew C wrote:

... the feedback between both client and freelancer was very generic, like "Great freelancer!" and "Great client!" It occurred to me there might be a scam going on there.)

 


You tend to run out of things to say.... With my repeat clients I also just keep it short, especially for small contracts.

 

There **ARE*** instances of feedback building, but generally the feedback for fake contracts is the opposite. It is overly gushing, elaborate and unrealistically enthusiastic. The value is generally very low.

moonraker
Community Guru
Jamie F Member Since: Mar 7, 2010
5 of 8

I've been hired with no interview. 

As for feedback - there was somebody in this group just a couple of weeks ago with what looked like very suspicious feedback. You'd think the freelancer had just saved the world rather than just doing the job they were hired to do.

 

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
6 of 8

Jamie F wrote:

I've been hired with no interview. 

As for feedback - there was somebody in this group just a couple of weeks ago with what looked like very suspicious feedback. You'd think the freelancer had just saved the world rather than just doing the job they were hired to do.

 


🕵️‍♀️ Goes to check feedback to see if it is 🔥

Nope. Don't think it's me. 🤔

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 8

Jamie F wrote:

 

As for feedback - there was somebody in this group just a couple of weeks ago with what looked like very suspicious feedback. You'd think the freelancer had just saved the world r


over and over again....

 

and funnily, all the client's other freelancers (all from the same country) were also saving the world over and over.... and those freelancers' other clients left the same kind of feedback and so on.... a whole happy-clappy web of freelancers and clients from the same country... all singing each others praises in the most elaborately overly gushy terms....

jasongribble
Active Member
Jason G Member Since: Feb 6, 2017
8 of 8
I agree. Without question I have been applying for projects lately with lower bids, extensive detailed proposals and some even done the work, submitted in the proposal and still don't receive even general messages.

For a time filtering by payment verified helped, but now you can click on the client look at past jobs and see they are still open for months. Meaning they haven't technically spent money for fixed-price projects.

I stopped speculation on why or who is posting these.

The only certainty I know is that after numerous people complaining, Upwork has chosen to ignore the problem and attempts to only target individual posters after the community reports them, and investigates one by one.

This seems like a simple problem to address. Verify the posters, limit freelancer proposals to each project until they are reviewed, require weekly reviews of a project or archive it. Use algorithms to monitor IP addresses and isolate known VPNs for human follow-up.

If Upwork wants to survive the competing services they should make this top priority.

But that won't happen.
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