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How Client's Lack of Feedback Might Affect Freelancers

Community Guru
Ronald T Member Since: Sep 14, 2009
1 of 5

I have lost track of the issue regarding client feedback in other threads; thus, I seek a reply from a forum moderator in order to obtain clarification regarding the issues described below.


Based on recent commentary in the Community Forum, I was given the impression that if a client did not leave feedback, that issue would be held against the freelancer via some type of  "hidden" metric of which there are many (aka "floating metrics").

Often, what members read in the forums differs from what members learn from other areas within and outside of oDesk. The last time I attempted to "tie the knot" here in the forum by quoting feedback from other sources, I was banned from the forum for violating forum rules (duh....). Hence, I am now trying to be more careful how I word things here in the forum.

Case #1:

Based on recent feedback from a source outside the oDesk forum, I am now of the understanding that if a client does not leave feedback, that issue is NOT held against the freelancer.

oDesk Forum Moderator, is the above understanding true?

Case #2:

oDesk Forum Moderator, is this true? Regarding another possibly existing issue, is it true that when a freelancer receives low feedback, and the freelancer removes it by refunding the earnings of that contract, that issue would be held against the freelancer via some type of metric.

Case #3:

If the above situation is true (That is, negative feedback has already been received), I would agree with that practice. Nonetheless, in the past I had specifically asked if the freelancer suspects he/she is dealing with a questionable client, and the freelancer ends the contract whether having received any monies at all or due to refunding monies that held against the freelancer. I have been told on three separate occasions that in this situation the freelancer would NOT be penalized in any manner.

oDesk Forum Moderator, please comment on the preceding scenario.

Thank you in advance for your reply!


Edited 01/08/2015 RT/lwm

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 5


You seem to be using the concept of being "penalized" in a singular sense.


Keep in mind that some of the things you mention (such as if a client does not leave feedback, or if a contract is refunded) will NOT penalize the contractor, and yet simultaneously WILL potentially penalize the contractor.


So it's not as simple as you may wish it to be.


It may be completely true that a certain event DOES NOT cause any penalty in how a client's job applications are presented or in how they are ranked in searches, yet that same event can trigger an automated review process, which can block job applications from being presented.


So even if you are told that something does not penalize a contractor, and even if that it is true, it might still be something that can have negative consequences.


Some high-performing oDesk contractors even believe that receiving too many 5-star ratings in a row can automatically cause their account to be reviewed, because oDesk's algorithm may flag this as suspicious/mathematically unlikely behavior indicative of inappropriate feedback wrangling.


I don't know at all if that's true. Without access to the underlying source code there would be no way for me to know if that's true. But I'm aware of contractors who believe this is happening.

Community Guru
Suzanne N Member Since: Aug 15, 2012
3 of 5

Here is the thread with most of the answers to your questions Ronald, although I do understand you want something here.

Community Guru
Garnor M Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
4 of 5

Hi Ronald,

You can find responses to your questions and similar inquiries here


Additionally, here's further context on your specific questions.


Case 1:

One, two or even three jobs that end without Feedback being left aren't going to negatively impact your reputation enough that your account will be flagged. Unless, they comprise a majority of the jobs in your work history and other areas of your activity show concern, for example other policy violations. Again, we're looking at your work history as a whole and gauging how often these jobs come up (no Feedback, no starts) in comparison with the rest of your projects


Case 2:

Will the initial "low" feedback count against the freelancer in some kind of private metric? No, there isn't a new "metric" we'll track to account for this. However, a work history that has a propensity for no spending (in this case due to refunds) or no Feedback is going to reflect poorly against a freelancer's Work History.


Case 3:

Similar to Case #1 above, a cancellation or two will not negatively impact your reputation/account, unless that comprises the majority of your Work History. We realize there will be instances where it makes sense to cancel a job and we're accounting for this in our review of freelancer performance. 


The advice continues to remain the same. Pick jobs that fit your skills and when you win/work on those jobs, deliver great results so you can get the Feedback ratings you deserve and the earnings you agreed to with your clients. 


Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
5 of 5

With respect, Garnor, that's putting the whole onus on the freelancer (as usual) and it avoids the elephant in the room of unscrupulous clients (a minority, probably, but still very much in evidence) who will work against the freelancer attaining these high ideals. What you're saying upfront is "Do a perfect job and you'll be OK"; but what you mean is "Do a perfect job and make sure you're not  fleeced by unscrupupous, or just inept, clients, and you'll be OK".


Do you really pay any consideration at all to the quality of client behaviour towards the freelancer when making these draconian decisions?


***No way a guru - just a bloke who cares for other people and believes in natural justice, and who posts a lot on the forum.***