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How trustworthy is feedback about a client?

Community Guru
Melissa T Member Since: Dec 5, 2014
11 of 25

@Matt L wrote:



Is client feedback meaningless, or is this particular scammer absolutely amazing? I'm almost tempted to work for them, just to find out.

You brave soul! 🙂 


Could the jobs have started out as $200 jobs (just as an example) and the freelancers been brow beaten down to $60? That happens occasionally - the client and freelancer agree to a partial payment for whatever reason. 

Active Member
Matt L Member Since: Aug 17, 2016
12 of 25

Hi Melissa! That's a good question. I haven't looked at every single one of the previous gigs, but there doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern of browbeating or blackmail etc.


- One gig estimated at $100 earned the freelancer $5

- Another gig estimated at $5 earned the freelancer $21 (in total)

- Both of these gigs have the same exact name and description

Community Guru
Samantha S Member Since: Jun 23, 2016
13 of 25

I also wonder whether the freelancers are possibly leaving feedback before they receive any of these "royalties". Usually, we receive the prompt as soon as the contract  is closed. I think we can only leave feedback within 14 days of contract closure. Perhaps the freelancer who gave 5 stars after receiving $1 is still hoping for royalties. Yikes!



Also, it is amazing what people will do to make money online. They may even give undeserved positive feedback to a client because they are afraid of receiving a negative rating themselves (or losing out on those promised "royalties").

Active Member
Matt L Member Since: Aug 17, 2016
14 of 25

I don't know, but that's dozens of freelancers, in that case, making the same mistake. Both newbie and experienced Upworkers.


But to clarify: the writing-for-royalties job has only been posted since June. The 5-star reviews go all the way back to February (and presumably earlier, if they really add up to 89 in total). The pre-June jobs are mostly coding and research-related tasks for $1 to $91, with a few repeat freelancers.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
15 of 25

Some of them like the $1 milestone freelancer are probably taking the work off the platform. It happens a lot.... like a lot. 

Active Member
Matt L Member Since: Aug 17, 2016
16 of 25

That could be it. But interestingly, the 10%-royalties job post states repeatedly that all the royalties will be paid through Upwork. (You could make up to $5000/month, minus Upwork fees! Wow!)


Whatever the case, it doesn't seem like the scammer knows how to appeal to "expert" freelancers -- and yet s/he nevertheless manages to get 5-star reviews. That's what's so strange. 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
17 of 25



You've mentioned some examples of apparently legitimate freelancers leaving five-star reviews. Are those the rule, or the exception?.


Medical quacks commonly hire minions to pave the first two or three pages of Google results with glowing reviews, including refutations of charges—explicitly using the words—of quackery or scams. I wonder in this instance about similar mass production of reviews on effortless "jobs."




Active Member
Matt L Member Since: Aug 17, 2016
18 of 25

Hi Michael! To me, they all look like legitimate jobs, stretching back 6 months, and paying $1 to $91. If they're fake jobs for good reviews, it's a very slow and expensive way to go about it.


Another interesting aspect of the mystery is the job titles. Most of the jobs involve web research, PHP coding, content writing, brochure design, social media messaging, "converting PPT to a proper corporate presentation" ... But what is the client building?


When I google the fake names attributed to the client's Upwork account, I find some email addresses, some LinkedIn pages (zero connections), a Facebook page (a couple dozen likes), some Kindle ebooks, and a one-page text-only website for their new publishing company. Nothing else. Nothing you couldn't do in less time than it takes to hire a freelancer. Yet the client has spent over $3,000 on Upwork -- for what? 


If they're building something else, something more robust and legitimate, why wouldn't they want their fake identity to be associated with that, instead of a crappy publishing company?


Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
19 of 25

I think that many very low-end clients like this one generate positive feedback because they work with freelancers who are having trouble getting work and dangle the possibility of future work in front of them. The freelancer hoping to be hired again isn't going to risk offending the client with negative feedback. Given the similarity of the terms you're describing,the client may even be feeding those freelancers comments.


That said, I'm almost sure that the form of payment offered in the job you describe is not allowed on Upwork. Mods?

Active Member
Matt L Member Since: Aug 17, 2016
20 of 25

Hi Tiffany! That's what I was thinking initially as well. But I'm not so sure. 


For example: one client who earned $1 gave a 5-star review "Thanks! I look forward to working with you again." Poor soul, right? But when I take a look at this freelancer's profile, I see that the job she did for this scammer was #35 or so on her work history. Her previous jobs were earning her $30, $50, $200 ... and job #34 netted her over $1000. What was this freelancer doing wasting time on a $1 job, and why did she give it a 5-star review?


I agree, the proposed payment scheme should be forbidden. But that's only the tip of the iceberg for me in this mystery.