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JS Score - More (and more) Questions than answers

Ace Contributor
Gwen E Member Since: Apr 24, 2015
1 of 61

The JS score is calculated, according to the official UpWork post, counting Feedback (public and private), LTR & repeat contracts, and contracts without activity/excessive lack of feedback.

If this is so then I would like for someone employed by Upwork to please answer/elaborate on the following:


  • I was told that it can count against me if I close a contract vs the client closing or ending the contract. In fact, I prefer to close projects when the work has been completed on time, the client is busy and I’d like to clean up my project list. Is this true? If so, where is it calculated in when I close a contract vs. the client closing the contract, when the client is the one with no activity? I’ve had several contracts where I worked for a couple of months, got paid well over the original contract agreement due to great work, then the client went silent. I requested that the client close out the contract as “Successfully Completed,” yet didn’t hear back so I closed it to get it off my list of open projects. This also leads to a “no feedback” contract. How many times am I penalized in the scoring, for this type of action?


  • If projects and contracts are set up with a time frame noted in the set-up of the job posting by the client, why would I be penalized due to lack of long-term projects, when I successfully complete the project within the agreed time-frame? I understand that I’m not penalized per se for lack of long-term projects, but it affects my score positively if I do. Therefore, doesn’t it follow that my lack of long-term projects doesn’t positively affect my score? And, if it doesn’t then do short-term projects affect the score in any way? I’m very confused as to how this is calculated and would very much like to have someone address this. I’m assuming that the score for long-term projects is given a +/- percentage somewhere in the calculation. Meaning, if I have lots of long-term projects, I’m given a +%. If I don’t, no % is affected for this area of the score. If this is the case, then doesn’t the lack of the % affect the overall score when all calculations are done? And, if it’s a part of the overall calculation, wouldn’t it be required to have a % for long-term projects, as in: if I don’t have a +, then it must be a -? (or 0, but again I would need to know the precise algorithm for the score) I’m no math genius, but I’d like someone with technical knowledge to please help me with this.


  • 1 more question about long-term projects and JS score. From the UpWork Blog/Jeff Chen: “However, if you don’t have inputs like long-term relationships, this does not count against you because other factors are taken into account.” What are the other factors? How are these ‘other factors’ counted in my score?


  • What is the exact percentage that long-term projects affect my overall score? If I’m working diligently to get my JS score up and see that one of the only areas I can improve is my number of long-term projects, how will I know how many of these I need to start raising my score? If I add only 1 long-term project, how much will it affect my score over the next several months?


  • More from Jeff Chen on the JS score, about contract activity: “It’s important to note that a blanket rule does not apply to negative contract outcomes. We know there are instances when these outcomes are due to factors outside of your control. For example, contracts without activity that are due to a poor client interaction are not counted against your score.” How exactly do you ensure that ‘contracts without activity’ aren’t counted against me? Is this a part of the algorithm so that if a project is opened then closed by me, that this particular project is completely eliminated from my overall score algorithm? And, how do you know if the contract is closed due to ‘poor client interaction?’ Do you read my client messages to determine this? Do you request emails, Skype messages and other back-up to determine this? What guarantees can you give providers that we aren’t penalized for all such types of contracts?


  • Because I allow some of my client projects to go in to "pause" mode, is this what you mean by “contracts without activity?” If I have a client I’ve worked with for 2 months and then I don’t bill for over 30 days, the contract goes in to “pause” mode in your system. Is this a non-activity, or a low-activity situation? Am I penalized for low activity? If I bill 2 months in a row, then don’t bill for the next 2 months but the contract is still in my account, is this client considered long-term? The problem with this is that I don't bill each client on the same schedule, and sometimes the billing is mutually agreed upon, to make my work accessible. I'm highly skilled, trained and certified and most of my clients want to hire American, but can't afford some of the rates. In order to accommodate some clients, I bill on an unconventional schedule. Is this a penalty, non-penalty or handled some other way in the calculations? What is the exact percentage this affects my score, overall? As in, if I wanted to raise my score, how many of my clients must I require to pay on a weekly basis? Or, when is it counted as a low activity contract, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 60 days, etc?


  • Provider penalties vs buyer penalties. How are buyers penalized when they don’t hold up the original contract details? For instance: A client sets up a project with an “Est Time” of 1-3 months, for part-time work. The details of the contract are discussed at length and agreed upon that this will be an on-going project with up to 15 hours per week billable for up to 3 months (depending on how long it takes to get all tasks completed). I accept the project and begin work. The first week the client comes back and says they can only allow up to 5 hours per week to be billed. I’m now in a very bad position. I decide to complete the agreed terms, knowing I can’t successfully complete the project without working much more than I bill each week (lots of projects are time-sensitive on a weekly basis in order to be successful in the overall). I communicate my concerns to my new client and they become offended and the relationship is now strained. In order to keep my end of the deal, I do the work, bill what’s been allowed and complete the project in 1 ½ months, so that I can end this contract with a terrible client and save myself prolonged abuse. The client then communicates they aren’t completely satisfied and ask for further free work in order to close out the project successfully. I agree and do the additional work. I have been paid each week for the hours worked, provided ample back-up of my work, and completed additional work requested. The client closes the contract, gives me a mid-ish star rating and probably terrible private feedback.  How many times is this buyer penalized? Where is the score I can look at that tells me he/she is questionable in this manner, prior to accepting this contract? Not the star-rating (we all know at this point that the star-ratings are only for show), but the success score for this buyer. Not the hire rate or the total amount the client has spent, but the score from private feedback? How many times am I penalized for this scenario?


  • More on this from the blog: “A client that repeatedly receives poor feedback from freelancers will be flagged, and their inputs omitted from your score.” How is this guaranteed? How is it calculated or “flagged” so that I can see that it’s not included in my score? And, what if I’m one of the first provider a client dupes, and then the client is flagged later? Do I still get a penalty? Or, is this penalty then removed from my score, after the fact?


  • “The Upwork system takes frequent snapshots of your 6, 12 and 24-month history in the marketplace and calculates a score. We choose the best score out of these rolling windows.” Why am I not given these scores, including the historical data? If I’m being scored on these items, wouldn’t it be more helpful if I could see the areas I need improvement? Why is it not completely transparent, yet makes or breaks my success on UpWork? I think I may need a lawyer on this. If my score suddenly drops, I’m basically being accused of poor work, with no evidence or way of defending/protecting. Please explain why this score, along with all its calculations, history and contributing factors are NOT COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT to the provider you are scoring?


  • On the “My Stats” page of my account, why can I not see historical data? I need to be able to see my historical data to get a better idea of my current standings and where I can improve. Unless, all of these numbers are primarily affected by my JS score, please allow historical data.
    1. My “Marketing Effectiveness:” Is any of this data accounted for in my JS score? If not, why is this data highlighted here? The number of views my profile had is based on search terms on your platform, and my standing within the results of that search, primarily. The number of times I was hired in to projects I interviewed for, typically comes down to cost. If I’m a terrible interview, seeing this graph is motivation for me to improve my interview skills, improve my job skills or lower my rate. In any case, links in this graph to resources UpWork has in these areas would make this much more effective, positive and proactive for the provider. 
    2. My “Profile Views:” This is a very disturbing graph for me. Please offer historical data here. I was getting amazing movement in my account up until a couple of months ago. Please explain this. If my lack of views is due to my lowered JS score, please offer ways in which to get back in to the ‘general population’ of UpWork search traffic. Aside from improving my JS score, is UpWork lowering my results in your search algorithm? Am I penalized in the search results due to my JS score? Please discuss how my JS score affects my ‘searchability’ for clients.
    3. Why is my star-rating based on 12 months, but my JS score is 24 months? I can’t get a handle on this one. If a potential client sees star ratings based on a different time frame than the JS score, won’t that potentially affect the intent of these numbers? Please make these calculate on the same time frame. I’m looking for consistency and transparency. Please respond to this.
  • If I’m penalized for ended contracts with no feedback, why isn’t feedback required across the board? A whole lot of providers need help with this. It is amazingly difficult to get some clients to leave feedback. Even when a project has been glowingly completed. The buyers don’t have a clue that lack of feedback causes so much turmoil, so why should they care? This issue seems a no brainer to me, but I can’t figure why it’s so difficult for UpWork to fix this. I don’t much care if a client leaves feedback. For the bulk of my clients, when I’m paid and the job closed, I’m done and I assume the client is also. Done. No big deal. If there is negative or private feedback, that should be the indicator that they weren’t happy with my work. But UpWork wants me to be double-penalized. I’m not ok with this. If a contract is paid, closed and a star-rating issued (and any private feedback), this should be the extent of the clients’ input to my score. If they choose not to leave public feedback, that’s just a personal choice. If this is an issue that is not up for debate, then can UpWork please make the feedback rate for clients available to providers? We need a way to see if a potential client has a habit of not leaving feedback, when choosing our projects. This is a reasonable request, please reply.


  • Why do some freelancers have a JS score on their profiles, and some don’t? I did a search for freelancers on my buyer profile and used criteria I would to find someone like myself and the top profiles that came up have no JS score, have been active in the last 30 days, have over 1,000 hours billed, and the hourly rate they charge. Why is this? Where did it go? Why doesn’t it show?


  • When searching for a freelancer, what is the “experience” level and how is it calculated? In filters to find the most relevant provider there is an ‘experience’ level you can choose: $, $$, $$$. What do these represent? How do I know what mine is? Why am I not shown this on my profile, if there is a category I fall in to for it? Please explain in detail what this is and how it’s calculated. I did several searches based on this and found that when I searched for ‘$$$’ I got a provider who charges $7/hour and when I searched for ‘$’ I got a provider who charges $20/hr. So, I may be way off on what this means, but I need to know, as a buyer and a provider, what this means in your search filters.


  • In the search filters to find a freelancer, I put in all the criteria that would display my profile. Why is it NOT THERE!?! I used every single criteria to make sure I would come up and several times could not get my profile to display in the results. In fact, the results were ZERO. I really need to know what’s going on here, because now I think I have reason to think you all are scamming people. When I take the “Experience” level out of the filters, I show up again, but with it I don’t show at all for the other criteria. WHAT IS EXPERIENCE LEVEL…AND WHY DOES IT EXCLUDE ME FROM YOUR SEARCH?


Thank you in advance for clear direction on these concerns.

Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
2 of 61

I'm sorry Gwen but I don't have an hour to answer all those questions but I will tell you...get that Job Success score up and do so quickly. At 70% you are at risk of having your account suspended and probably closed. Your currently at 78% and that is getting a little too close for comfort.


You're not going to like the answers you get but work on getting some quick 5* and 100% feedback quickly.


...and for goodness sake, get rid of that overview where you're criticizing everything about Upwork.

Ace Contributor
Gwen E Member Since: Apr 24, 2015
3 of 61



I aprreciate the completely useless reply. If I'm suspended, so be it. I will not "play ball" just because I'm threatened with losing a completely useless account, at this point. 3 months ago I was a "Top Provider" and I believe this was done to most great providers who have a long history of work here...then they yanked it away by impementing a very damaging algorithm. If this is any indication of where UpWork is heading, I prefer to go where real work is done by real providers. So far, all I'm seeing lately are spam posts and nearly non-paying jobs. This used to be a great platform, but I won't be recommending UpWork to anyone until these issues are resolved. I won't be bullied and I won't be manipulated to conform to a system that won't be fully explained, and justified to the community it's put in place to benefit. 


Now, with that said, I would very much appreciate some productive advice. If you don't have time to answer my questions now, would you have time in the future to address each of these issues please?



Community Guru
Suzanne N Member Since: Aug 15, 2012
4 of 61



Jean is not a moderator here. She is just another freelancer like you and I.


You may have to dig, but all of the questions you have ask have already been ask and answered on the forum.


You won't find much but generic answers to most of your questions, especially about the JS score. Many of us have lost faith is the way things are being done for lack of transparency.


The JS score is weighed very heavily on private feedback from your clients. But many of the other questions you have ask have been ask and some answered in the last few months.



Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
5 of 61

You could do any of three things:


a) set aside a few hours and search the forums for the answer (or closest thing to one) to each of the issues, all of ehich have been done to death over the last few months and left regular forum contributors battle-weary to say the least;


b) wait for a moderator to come along and point you to a couple of vague posts, and use a lot of words like should not, might not, a lot, a few, may, may not, etc.; or


c) Ask customer support.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 61

re: "You could do any of three things"


d) hire a qualified Upwork expert on Upwork to answer all of your questions.

Community Guru
Ronald T Member Since: Sep 14, 2009
7 of 61

Preston, is that an advertisement for services? J/K....

Ron aka LanWanMan
Community Guru
Mr M Member Since: Apr 27, 2013
8 of 61

@Suzanne N wrote:



The JS score is weighed very heavily on private feedback from your clients. But many of the other questions you have ask have been ask and some answered in the last few months.



 As i think no one can provide a Good answer to any question regarding to JS rate System 😉

"One thing I know, that I know nothing. This is the source of my wisdom"
Community Guru
Angela L Member Since: Oct 20, 2009
9 of 61

@Gwen E wrote:



In the future, if you don't have time to address a post, please refrain from replying altogether...until you DO have time. It's not helpful and does tend to upset some folks.


Thank you for your attention to this in the future!


Wow, you posted an incredibly long post full of a number of questions and another freelancer takes time out of their day to at least acknowledge your post, and this is how you respond? Incredibly rude! At least she did respond, most people wouldn't make it through the first bullet-point before their eyes glazed over from the sheer length.



Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
10 of 61

🙂 I tried hard but gave up early in the second paragraph.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----