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Free samples: client asked if it's against policy.



I've told a client it's against odesk policy and he's quite reasonably asked to see the information pertaining to it. Can Preston or someone else knowledgeable guide me to the specific passage? I feel like I can make a positive change here!



Ramon, this is NOT an obscure rule. It is listed on the main client policy page in the oDesk website.

"Requesting free work of any kind is prohibited, including contests in which freelancers submit work with no to very little pay, and only the winning submission is paid the full amount."

Also, this is not just oDesk policy, this is ALSO your personal policy.

So regardless of oDesk policy or the client's interpretation of oDesk policy, YOU do not provide free work to clients. Because you are a professional.

It's in the TOS, free work of any kind is prohibited.


oops, its on the client policies which can be found on the side bar of the TOS page.


Tell your client to come see us here at the forum so we can drill some sense to him.



❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄



I'm in  a rush but looked for two minuted and couldn't even find the site T&Cs. That says something *and not just about me  Smiley Wink  )

This is the new TOS page Stephen:


Fresh and newly everything as of February 17, 2015

Wow, How come we didn't get notified about this?

❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄

Brilliant. Thank you all so much. I'm pasting this onto a document and messaging it every time I'm asked from now on Smiley Very Happy


I can't find anything about samples being against the policy. There's a big difference between a sample and a custom piece. I have no issues with providing the client with a free sample - which consists of something from my portfolio or work I have done before, or would take me no more than 10 minutes to create. When I worked as a translator, some clients did ask for a sample translation of a short paragraph, which I would encourage any client to do actually. As long as everybody is translating the same short paragraph, and the client isn't trying to get the work done for free, I really don't see any issues with it especially on larger scale projects. I'd actually prefer doing a sample than jumping through the hoops in a multi-step interview.



You have made a good point.


I can easily see how asking for "free samples" DOES NOT mean asking for free work. But then there's the whole issue of "free custom samples" versus "free samples", and when does asking a contractor to do something as part of an interview cross the line into asking for free work?


I don't know.


I don't offer translation or writing services, so I'm really going to abstain from further comment on the more nuanced aspects of this topic.


No client or prospective client has ever asked me for free samples, and with the type of work I do, I don't expect anyone will ask anything like that from me.

I agree - depending on the field of work a sample may or may not make any sense. Asking someone do a sample sale for example would completely be asking for free work, whereas asking an applicant to edit, proofread, or translate a 5 sentence paragraph could qualify as a sample, as long as it's mentioned in the job post or job post's question section (this ensures that everybody is asked to provide the same sample and the client isn't trying to split up the work to get it done for free). 


I think everybody has to draw their own line and apply common sense and do what they're most comfortable with. I personally love doing a quick sample. It gives me an opportunity to shine and so far, I got every single job that asked for samples. I'd rather risk 10 mins of my time working on the sample, than spend 45 mins in an interview - but that's just me.



You're right.

I too have a fair share of mistakes on Free Samples. A month ago, a US client interviewed me and to gauge my skills, he asked for a sample. The client had spent more than 5k and had 4.5 Star. It's a Translation, English to Tamil, which is one of the toughest language pairs. The client sent me a 300 words sample file, tough piece, took me 3 hours. I realized that the sample was indeed an Organization profile of one of the popular banks in India. With some sizable doubt, I sent him the completed sample.


Now you would have guessed what might have happened. Yes, I never heard from him again. I followed up with him every alternative day for 10 days. No Response. No Hires on the job post. My Bad. That's a 75$ work. Whoever the client is, whatever the project size is, free sample is bad.



Yes, it's often difficult to know what they're planning to do with it, they are, after all, just an invisible stranger. While Stephen might be right in that it does sometimes get you jobs, it's really soul-destroying feeling that you've been taken advantage of.

Well I'm not doing them anyway. The kind of clients who want them are usually not worth the effort and very few send only 10 minutes work. 

Ramon,  you might be missing a trick. Whatever they send you, you send them ten minutes' worth back to them, telling them that's all they need from you ( which it will be if your quality is high enough).

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