I got this email today from oDesk's support, and I would like to address it here.
**edited for Community Guidelines**
I'm just starting out on odesk, been here for a few months now. Let me start by saying that I've met some great clients, and I mean it when I say that working with them was(and still is) an amazing experience.
Now to the point. As of the moment of writing I've worked with six clients.
- Four of them hired me twice for different jobs.
- One of the four offered me the third job that I had to decline because it needed a different skill set.
- And another one of them, after I did the second job, recommended me to another client who was also very happy with the results of my work.
- The other two said that they will have more work for me in the future. Left one job open so the client could find me more easily when he needs me coming spring.
-There was only one job for which I didn't receive feedback, the client disappeared after I submitted the final results of my work. That was a difficult job too, editing 40 images within a day, with the level of quality I delivered left my eyes itching for a week.
Every single person was both very happy with my work and left a five star feedback. I never ever asked any of them to give me a specific feedback, I always say and I quote "Please don't forget to leave feedback." And at least three of the jobs paid me an additional bonus I never asked for.
So given what I just told you.
- When you say "would like to give you a chance to improve your performance" what does that even mean? Exactly how am I supposed to "improve" when the clients are all happy with the results I've delivered and keep repeatedly hiring me?
- And then you add "Your account will be monitored over the coming months. If client satisfaction does not improve, you may be placed under formal review." Basically threatening to delete my account because reasons. This is insulting, I work hard, I'm respectful to my clients, and they are happy with me. If they weren't they would say so, I've got good communications skills and always listen to the directions and ask if they are satisfied at the end, so far nobody complained. In some cases they wanted some things fixed\tweaked, but that's just part of the creative process and at the end clients were always happy.
When I first came here, I felt like odesk was going to be a good outlet for finding some new clients and earning money with my skills. I was optimistic, and up until today it seemed that I was right, the clients were happy and the work kept coming. And now I get slapped with this threat from oDesk, essentially threatening to destroy what I started to build here, with no clear indication of what I did wrong. Right now I'm afraid to even touch my account, it's bad enough that I have to worry that I might encounter a client who would leave a low feedback intentionally, to force me to refund the money(I heard the stories), now I have to worry that odesk might destroy it altogether. Why should I keep building working relationships here if oDesk might just take them all away?
TL;DR: oDesk treating me like crap, I don't see a reason why I should risk my time and my reputation (what will the clients think when I disappear?) until this is resolved.
First of all, don't let the email you received demoralize you <----- This is what you are doing to good freelancers oDesk!!!
When the suspensions started happening a few months ago, people asked oDesk to send a heads up and to please be clear when sending emails to freelancers about their supposed shortcomings.
Though I am glad that they did listen and started sending warning emails (unlike automatic suspension like before), I don't get why people with great ratings and history are getting the warning messages. Just today a well-loved active forumer got the message and she's like one of the most level-headed people in the forum (not a ranter like me haha ) so this is really baffling.
My 2 cents (speculation) is that the algorithm looks at percentages. Example, you have 5 contracts, only 1 forgot to leave feedback or left an imperfect rating, they think that's 20% of clients not being satisfied with you.
I don't know what to think because plenty of things don't make sense...such as them thinking that if a client forgot to leave feedback or has no idea how to leave feedback it is the freelancer's fault.
I can only hope they begin being transparent about their methods but I doubt they will be because we keep finding flaws (and I got screenshots before the comments about those were erased). I hope someday they send clear emails on what specific area needs to be improved instead of just saying, "hey, we got our eye on you, you naughty freelancer!" because simply saying so creates panic and can be taken the wrong way.
oDesk, this platform is composed of professionals, some of which have far more industry experience than some of the people in your office so of course, criticisms are bound to fly in your direction. Instead of being all-touchy about it, why not be glad that you have a panel of experts who are giving you honest feedback?
We won't still be here if we don't love the platform but lately it's like a case of having a toxic relationship with someone. Is divorce the only answer?
anyway, back to Hovakim.....again, try not to get too affected by the warning email and continue providing your clients with great service. Let us know what happens next
Btw, I got no warning email and I'm not in trouble - yet (except experiencing email bugs but thats normal here these days). I just can't stand it when something is broken and it won't cooperate to get itself fixed.Oh and I appreciate the improvements but yup, there is a lot of room for more
❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄
Thanks for the encouraging words, Dianne, it's nice to hear.
Given what we're seeing, your theory about the percentages makes sense. However, if it's true, it doesn't make sense that they made it that way. Because the damage this would cause to the newcomers like me is going to be huge.
That being said, I'm interested in working and delivering results, not playing a stupid game of who should close the job and how many of the clients decided to skip giving me a feedback. This is a waste of time, working around an arbitrary system that no one even knows how it works.
As for the criticism one might receive from the clients, it should be an opportunity to learn and grow, not a death sentence. Negative experiences happen, that's just how things are. They happen in "real-life" studios, they will happen here too. Threatening the workforce that makes them money seems to be the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot, or maybe even both feet. What they need is a better system that would tell the clients exactly what the given freelancer represents.
It seems that there's a very strong bias in defense of the clients while the freelancers are left to fend for themselves. Among other things, I see a lot of shady listings, even some that should be considered illegal. While the clients do bring the money, oDesk wouldn't see a penny of it if it wasn't for the freelancers. We are the only resource oDesk got. And beating us with a stick isn't the way to improve anything, other than the prospects of a mass exodus somewhere else.
I really hope they'll clear this up so me and everybody else here would feel safe enough to go "all-in" again.
And the email bug, I experienced that a month ago, cost me a job because the client decided to go with somebody else when I "didn't respond" mid-interview.
Just a quick update: I just decided to follow Dianne's advice and apply to a couple jobs to see what happens. I found myself secretely wishing that I won't be the one to be chosen because of the added pressure this situation created. And I don't think this feeling is going to go away anytime soon. And it might affect my performance too.
Time will tell how the jobs will turn out, but this whole thing is a giant dark cloud over an otherwise positive experience.
The email is just a reminder (although a poorly written one because it sounds very threatening) so please try to don't let yourself be burdened by it.
I remember feeling the same when most of my hourly jobs turned out to be 'Money Back Guarantee contracts'. I was sooooo stressed and I was always thinking that all it takes is one bad client to ask for a refund and I'd be blacklisted....
Well, it has been a year now and so far I'm doing okay given everything. It did make me much, much pickier when dealing with clients but I think that also has a silver lining as I tend to get bigger and better projects with a few people i've carefully selected.
TIP: Simply think of it as a wake-up call and maybe to indeed be better. Maybe ask clients something like "is there something else I can help you with"? at the end of every project just to be sure they are satisfied.
By the way, that tactic landed me several more jobs...oftentimes a client would ask for my opinion about another project or idea they have and end up hiring me again. One girl who just wanted me to edit one blog post ended up hiring me to write for her site; ghostwrite her book and now we are talking about another book. So basically I turned a $30 small contract into something worth lots of $$$$$$
Dark days makes the brightest lights shine
All the best!
❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄
I decided to wait a little before replying, to see where things would go with the jobs and if there will be any response from the odesk management.
With the jobs, I took two small ones, "feedback builders" as some call those. One was literally 10 minutes of work, the other one a little longer. But both clients left me hanging without feedback after I delivered the results. In both cases I delivered exactly what the clients asked for, but apparently this is going to look bad on my profile because they didn't show the courtesy of leaving a feedback even though I asked them to. So much for "feedback builders."
One of the jobs is still left open, should I close it myself, or leave it hanging like that so it won't count as a no-feedback job? Or should I be forced to refund the jobs I completed simply because the damage of them being without feedback is too severe?
I shouldn't have to worry about this gamified mess, and be forced to hunt for feedback. The only thing I should have to worry about is delivering good results.
As for the administration, they're still silent on this. I think they're just waiting for the issue to die down on its own by not talking about it.
TIP: Simply think of it as a wake-up call and maybe to indeed be better.
This goes without saying, I always try to be better and strive to learn more. Any artist or a professional who doesn't try to better themselves will eventually fall into obscurity. For people who take their work seriously there shouldn't be a need for a wake-up call.
Maybe ask clients something like "is there something else I can help you with"? at the end of every project just to be sure they are satisfied.
Thanks for the suggestion. I ask similar questions, but always frame them to relate only to the current job. And yes, I make sure they're satisfied. I'll try asking in a more generalized way next time. This is a very good suggestion.
I understand your being nervous, Hovakim. However, as long as you do your best and strive to improve, I am sure you will be alright.
I will suggest though that you ask your client to close the contract first and give them some time to respond.
You are right, currently, the system requires the party that closes the contract to leave the star feedback, but the comment is optional. I will share your concern with the Team. Thank you!
I have a question:
With my understanding if the client have some misunderstanding or if he not satisfied with our working style. If client have some change in the description. If we send back the money to client or because, I am not interested to work with client attitute. So, its mean I ma blacklisted. It is honesty or greedness?