How is the feedback score calculated? A revengeful client's score has drastically reduced my overall score!

I have got 5 star feedback from 5 clients. 1 client has given me 4.8 and another client 4.6. However, a low paying client whom I worked for around 5 months suddenly ended my contact a few days ago and rated me 4. I don't mind the client rating the score, but what I am shocked with, is my overall score! My average score based on those 8 evaluations is supposed to be 4.8 and in any case must be above 4.5! Yet my score is around 4.47 right now and that a reduced score from 4.94, that I held for many months. How can one client's biased rating suddenly decrease our rating so drastically? This means if a long time client suddenly gets pissed off with a contractor a few months, then his rankings can drastically get reduced, right? The score has had a very negative effect towards me. Usually clients ask for score about 4.5 for new work, but because of this low score my application is often rejected! I used to get many offers to interview, but now the offer numbers have declined as well. Why is the oDesk rating system so unfair? We work so much and so honestly for our clients to build this reputation, but then one bad rating and our months of hardwork is rendered meaningless!

It is based on the total amount you earned from that client. It is not an average. [quote] The provider's average assignment feedback score weighted by the dollars charged on each assignment. For example, a $1,000 assignment with a 5 feedback score and a $200 assignment with a 1 feedback score would result in an adjusted score of, [($1,000 * 5) + ($200 * 1)] / ($1,000 + $200) = 5,200 / 1,200 = 4.33. [/quote] By the way, a 4 star is not bad. It means you did good but not excellent work.

Give a refund and the feedback fairy will make it disappear !

It's a lot to expect a freelancer to refund five months worth of work just to avoid a lower feedback score.

The score hasn't dropped that low. Scoring over 4 is good, I don't think that it makes your profile look bad.

...and sorry to break the bad news to you, but it takes a LOT of perfect scores afterward for the score to creep up again to what it was - it's something about the maths of it. The best thing to do is concentrate on putting your absolute everything into getting perfect five scores, and only choosing jobs where you're pretty sure you can achieve that

Yes, now that I'm back onto 5 again, I've had 4 responses in one day, I can only assume it was hiding my applications when I was on 4.97

Most clients do not care if your score is 5.0 or 4.97. Really.

I received offers from 5 clients yesterday, that's more than the total for the last month. I'm convinced the system was relegating me during that period, and is now prioritising me again. It may only be a small thing, but most writers with 4.97 - 4.99 are much better established than me, and, consequently, have made more money for odesk.

Hi, I got a 3 score and its my first job because he wanted a whole lot of stuffs, what can I do and no one is accepting my applications

Yeah - I agree.

However - doesn't it stop you from coming up as readily in search results?

hmmm....Call me "old school," but if I were hiring, I'd only want to look at the 5-star folks.

Hi Marci I am new to odesk can you please help me out ....

Hi Saad and welcome to the Community!


We will be happy to help you. Could you please tell us more about your issue?



~ Valeria

i hope you're treating this as a tongue-in-cheek reply. this kind of advice shouldn't be handed out irresponsibly, most established freelancers on here that i know consider this as sort of a last resort, and not the immediate solution.
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." - Maya Angelou
Try harder, or care less.

Very bad advice Ramon. Some jobs are done perfectly, others leave some room for improvement. Refunding on a 4 star rating would be really silly unless the freelancer feels he did a bad job and does not deserve to be paid. There is the option to respond to the rating. Nirvaya, you have 5 jobs in progress; 5 star ratings in all of those may get you back up to 4.5. You only need .04 - so don't panic yet ;-). The comment is "Good Job" so I don't believe this will frighten off potential clients. Also there is nothing stopping you from applying for those 4.5 star minimum jobs. The client may reject you for not meeting the requirement ... but for .04 points? Not likely.

"most established freelancers on here that I know consider this as sort of a last resort, and not the immediate solution." and "Refunding on a 4 star rating would be really silly unless the freelancer feels he did a bad job and does not deserve to be paid." Couldn't agree more with both


You do know that a freelancer who refunds A LOT, can end up getting suspended? It means many unhappy clients. oDesk does keep track of that. You should not make it a habit. Also many clients do not trust or hire someone with a 5.0. I was burned myself by one who did not even start my job and "refunded". Only problem is she has never had the money in her account so I will be owed that 'refund' till the day I die. Also, if you do not have the money in your account when you refund, your account is financially suspended, meaning you cannot withdraw any money until your debt is paid back. All in all, I would say use it as a last resort.

"By the way, a 4 star is not bad. It means you did good but not excellent work." Thank you for pointing this out. I've had several freelancers all-but demand 5* on every category for only average work. I will now try to avoid hiring anyone with full 5* average because it's clear proof they have not had constructive feedback (and maybe feel entitled to a high rating and will work poorly because of it). Someone with a high 4* rating (while still likely riding inflated scores) at least has had some clients who give transparent feedback and they are still able to maintain a high score (even if through volume of other false 5* ratings). To be clear 4* DOES mean you did excellent work, and 5* means EXCEPTIONAL.

I have a 5 star rating, so far, and I have never refunded anyone. I work very hard to maintain my rating, and I have earned it. The same goes for many other 5 star freelancers, I'm sure. I have never told my clients how I wanted them to rate me. By the way, you know that ratings work both ways, don't you? How exceptional are you as a client? As you have been here for only a few months and already have had "several" contractors causing you problems, you might consider rethinking your hiring practices.

"I will now try to avoid hiring anyone with full 5* average because it's clear proof they have not had constructive feedback (and maybe feel entitled to a high rating and will work poorly because of it" CLEAR PROOF??? I'm glad Marcia got in before me as she is a shining example of how unfounded sweeping negative generalisations are nothing but that. I get sick of hearing how if someone has five stars they are obviously bad and just keep refunding. For a start, oDesk has a mechanism (OK, don't start me 😉 for flagging multiple refunds. And more importantly, it's a pretty suicidal business model to expect to have to regularly work for free. Despite your alleged "proof", the truth is that some people keep their very high scores by the sweat of their consummately professional and diligent brows - nothing else.

Stephen and Marcia have both weighed in on the comment that a perfect 5 feedback score makes them suspicious of the contractor. Okay, I get where you are coming from. I am in the same boat as you guys. I have never discussed feedback with clients, but I have a perfect 5 feedback average on my profile.

It does not bother me that a contractor feels that way about 5 star profiles. I am glad that some clients are thinking about this carefully. I would hope that most clients would look past this and look a little more carefully at the overall profile.

I don't think a few clients on oDesk thinking this is going to hurt me, and even though I would not mind having a lower score, I am not willing to do lower quality work in an effort to decrease my score a bit.

I save my ire for the contractors who distort the system by either engaging in feedback extortion OR giving in to feedback extortion. Yes, I do hold the contractors to a higher standard because I think it is the contractors and not the clients who disrupt the system and cause clients to feel pressured to give perfect 5 feedback scores. Or a client who simply has ridiculous expectations about everything. I think there are very, very few clients like that. I believe most clients on oDesk can be strongly persuaded by a thoughtful, personalized cover letter and will be willing to overlook not only imperfect feedback, but even pst mistakes and complaints, as long as the overall balance of what they see is positive and professional.

Clients may only need one job done here. But contractors are here all the time and we should be the ones who know how oDesk works and who use it properly.

Pressuring clients for perfect feedback is not using oDesk properly. Refunding legitimate work in order to maintain a high feedback score is not using oDesk properly.

And complaining because you got a 4.84 or a 4.5 or even a 4.0 on one project is just wrong.

I think the only kind of client who will insist upon seeing all perfect scores when hiring a contractor is somebody who intends to use feedback extortion to manipulate the contractor he hires, or is planning to ask for a refund. Or somebody who simply has ridiculous expectations about everything.

Right there witih ya.


Five stars from several clients - then BAM - one client rates 4-stars across the board, and my reputation is tarnished.


Have you posted rebuttals to those clients' ratings?  I just posted my first rebuttal - though I don't think it shows up on the oDesk site for others looking over my profile to see.


Or have you asked thos low rating clients to provide you feedback as to THEIR dissatisfaction - so you can make sure you never provide less than 5-star service again (as if you did)?  Worth a try anyway.  Gotta do it within a certain amount of time after contract end though.


I hope you gain enough clients that it brings your rep back up, friend!