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Community Member

Is it unethical or against Upwork policy for a client to ask for a research report on Upwork itself?

Hi Everyone


Got an invite from a client in China who wants a very in depth and detailed "marketing" research report on Upwork itself as a freelancing platform.


This is what they are asking for:


Conduct in-depth research on Upwork, including its features, user interface, and overall functionality. Stay updated on the latest trends and developments within the Upwork platform. Identify and analyze the profiles of successful freelancers and clients on Upwork. Assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with utilizing Upwork for freelancing and hiring purposes. Provide insights into the competitive landscape of Upwork, comparing it to other freelancing platforms. Collaborate with the team to gather information on Upwork's policies, pricing structure, and user satisfaction. Prepare a comprehensive research report highlighting key findings and recommendations. Present findings to the team and stakeholders, offering actionable insights for optimizing the use of Upwork.


As Upwork freelancers I feel like we have access to info that is available to Upwork users only and therefore doing the above could constitute as "insider" knowledge.


What I feel quite confident about is that the part about top freelancers - not ethical with identifiying markers - so only if anonymized.


Nevertheless - just want some input from experienced freelancers or Upwork Community leaders.


Best Regards



Hi Varuscjcka,


Thank you for sharing your report with us. Please know that I'm already checking with our team to see if there are any violations here and will respond here as soon as we get an update.

~ AJ
Community Member

Thank you Annie. 


I just don't want to go against any terms and conditions. Much appreciated. 

Community Member

Upwork is a publically traded US company so most information is pretty visible.  Although over the years, some freelancers may have had advance knowledge of possible changes, any such information would have been covered by a non-disclosure agreement.  I doubt any of us have proprietary knowledge of the platform that is not already public.

Community Member

I can't see anything wrong here. Moreover, i actually hired people in the past to do the same using Upwork - then oDesk - API (and gained a lot of information that both helped me going and boosted my confidence). There's nothing wrong or unethical about this as far as i can tell. Everyone wants to know more about the market they are working with. Thus, they improve the quality of the platform and make life better for all of us.


I see this project as "go and find out what makes successfull freelancers and agencies successful, statistically, and we'll try to figure out how to improve our agency actions based on those findings".


In fact, this is a good thing people are doing this. Instead of just putting N people on blatantly spamming every job post with a canned cover letter hoping to rake in cash.

Community Member

The analysts on Wall Street who cover UPwork and the professional investors in Upwork's debt and equity securities do this all the time.


There is nothing unethical or illegal about it as long as they or you don't provide or use or try to find significant non-public information about Upwork or its competitors in your research. All of that is a major violation of US securities law. 

But this job description rather openly states that the goal of this is not to trade Upwork stock, but to use Upwork more efficiently (last sentence). Essentially, "what should be put on our agency profile page and what we shouldn't, now much of a difference a nationality/race/location of the contractor or staffing manager makes, how long should the cover letter be", and so on - based on some actual research, supported with statistics. That's what the expected result is - "people who do this and this hit it big, others just get drowned in spam, or get banned".

I think you guys are trying to see something creepy where it isn't 🙂

Community Member

The purpose of the work is not relevant in terms of its ethics (or legality), which is what the original poster was asking about. 


And Upwork must expect that prospective clients will want to know how Upwork works and how freelancers use it.


Nobody other than you mentioned any part of this activity or the question being "creepy."

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