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From Frequent Invites to Feeling Invisible. Upwork Became a Huge Disappointment.

Hey fellow freelancers,


First off, a bit of background. I've been around here since the platform was called oDesk. Yep, that’s over a decade! I've seen it evolve, change its name, and introduce a ton of new "features". I adapted, I learned, and I grew alongside it.


I've gotta admit, those early oDesk days were golden. It felt simpler. We had our challenges, sure, but there was a genuine connection between freelancers and clients. Over the years, I put in the hours, went the extra mile, and was pretty darn proud when I got those Expert-Vetted and Top Rated badges. Not to mention, grinding to that 5.0 feedback & 100% Job Success Score weren't a walk in the park.


But here’s the kicker: lately, it feels like all that hard work's lost in a sea of algorithms or something. I'm not getting those interview invites like I used to. Heck, it seems my proposals are just floating out there in the void, with nary a view. It's honestly kinda disheartening. On the other hand, I am using my agency account to check how search results work and there are a ton of people from my field with less experience, shown at the very top of search results, and having "Likely to be hired soon" badges, as they "Received 200-300 invitations recently". What a bummer, as I am getting 0! Meaning there are people, who still getting enough attention from customers. Am I shadowbanned for some reason?


Another thing that's got me puzzled is the low view rate on my job applications. Considering we now spend Connects on every proposal, it stings a bit to see that maybe 1 in 10 gets viewed by the client.


I’m reaching out here because I know there are others like me. Are you guys experiencing the same thing? Has the platform changed in ways I’m not catching on to? I'm just trying to make sense of it all and figure out where to go from here.


Anyway, thanks for letting me vent a bit. Hoping to hear some of your experiences and maybe, together, we can find some answers.

Community Member



The Behance and Dribbble portfolio links you have shared on your profile as below:


contain easy ways to contact you directly, off Upwork. Is that allowed?


Upwork mods, what's the rule? Isn't that forbidden?


First of all, thanks for your suggestion. During the Expert-Vetting process, you get multiple profile reviews by Upwork representatives. This info there wasn't an issue by any means.


I suppose it's prohibited to use links, but what I am having is just a mention of my handles on different platforms. Moreover, when you apply for jobs, the most frequent question in job postings is "Send your portfolio links" anyway.

Community Member

Sorry to hear you're experiencing this. I'm newer to Upwork and learning all the ways these algorithms work! Eager to follow along this thread to see if anyone more experienced than myself might have some valuable feedback for you. Best of luck.

Community Member

You're dealing with an issue many freelancers are experiencing these days. Here are a few things I've seen that could be causing it:


1) Total Active Freelancers - The total number of active freelancers on the platform moves up and down (mostly up, it seems) but it's probably somewhere between 4-8 million. By "active," I mean those who use the platform daily, weekly, monthly, etc. The total number freelancers affect search results, and the more freelancers here, the more profiles we have clogging up search results.

2) Competition - More freelancers mean more competition. Even though you are Expert-Vetted, you are still in a competitive niche, so a drop in invites might be attributed to more UI/UX freelancers. Many new freelancers do not have a comparable skill set, but clients are still exposed to them, and many clients do not properly vet freelancers before hiring them. Upwork eliminated most barriers to entry, so almost anybody can create a freelancer profile these days.

3) Search Results - Profiles are not stationary in search results; profiles are moved up and down occasionally to allow everyone a chance to be seen by clients. Hundreds (if not thousands) of freelancers are joining and leaving the marketplace every day, which creates more fluctuation. This means fewer clients may be seeing your profile at random intervals, which results in fewer invites.

4) Boosted Profiles - More freelancers are boosting their profiles. Boosted profiles appear at the top of clients' "Invite Freelancers” page (under the "Invite Freelancers" tab). If more freelancers are boosting and you're not, it could mean your profile has slipped below the boosted positions—even if you are Top-Rated, Top-Rated Plus, or Expert-Vetted.

5) Cautious Clients - I believe clients are more cautious these days. When clients encounter fake profiles and receive dozens of automated, trashy proposals from unqualified freelancers, they get fearful about being scammed and wasting their time. The idea of time-wasting and losing money will keep many clients from spending time and/or money here.


You probably know or suspected all of these, but I think it's a combination of them and maybe a few other things Upwork won't tell us.

Community Member

There's really not much philosophy to it. If you don't pay, the "algorithm" will not put you anywhere. Main algorithm on this platform right now is how much you spend, nothing to do with experience, skill, profile completeness, JSS or other things that used to matter. No skill needed if you can just buy your place on the list. Bots and fake accounts flooding the platform surely are an issue but as long as Upwork is fed with $$$ there is no incentive to change anything.

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