Job success rate - two problems that are unfair for oDesk long time freelancers

Dear oDesk,


I am a 4 years oDesker with 1700 hours worked here and 4.97 feedback after 17 jobs ,,,,,,,,and with a 83% success rate only. 


I saw a tone of new commers with 100% job success rate after 3 short jobs and 20 hours worked.


Why do old freelancers should care?


Well, odesk launches their TOP RATED program ( details here )  where will be included freelancers based ONLY on job success rate. 


Over the night all our experience here, all stars, everything became irrelevant. I even think that if i delete my profile and start a new one will be even better for me.


Another problem is the way this score is computed.


I asked support today why do i have it so low and they started to tell the usual : conflicts, disutes etc. I said "guys i never had a dispute" They say yes, but 3 years ago you had a finished job that was not paid.

I was like wow....really, my profile is ruined now because 3 years ago in mutual agreement with one of the largest oDesk employer (gTeam ) we decided to not assigm me that job and they closed the contract? 

Also, back than, this was perfectly legitimate and not against the rules. Now it seems that it became outlawed and is affecting my score.


I wonder how many other similar issues are in this success score. B


ecause customer will have no idea that 3 years ago i had a contract that now is no longer ok. The customer will look at that 83 and will say "this dude is an incompetent" So i lose my credit and also money in the future because of this. Me, and a lot of other odeskers.


Please guys, do soemthing about this!


P.S. And this Secret Score will drive a lot of people away and make us suspicious over former employers....and since we are here,,,,why employers doesn' have one either? Unfair again.





I agree that there needs to be some work done on this system. It makes no sense what so ever. There needs to be a more fair way to weigh the score. Also, like a credit report, old things should disapear over time, something that happened 3 years ago should not have an effect on this score, this score IMO should only weigh what has happened over the last 12 months.




I am also very confused.


I have 3000 plus hours with 18 jobs, all 5 out of 5 ratings.


For some reason there is no job success ratio.




I will have to read all the help topics today to understand this.




I agree, the job success rate should be based on the feedback rating. 


5 star equals success ended job.

4 star is not success ended job.



Hi Ramon,


The Job Success score was introduced because it takes into account much more information than the star rating does. Disputes and jobs ending without receiving payment or with a full refund are also important part of the freelancer's overall performance. However, they are not reflected in the star rating. Job Success score on the contrary, provides as much information about the freelancer's performance as possible.

~ Valeria



With all due respect, the algorthim adversly affects good freelancers. Jobs that were not completed due to client changing mind, mutually cancelling a job because both freelancer and client agreed it was not a good fit and MOST importantly, a LACK of feedback received is absolutely ridiculous to be reflected in the freelancers success ratio.


Clients expect a ratio like they are used to seeing in eBay - Anything under 97% is generally considered unexeptable. 


Your algorithm has proven a steady DECLINE in hires for me, since using Elance for years. Elance had it down... Why did yu guys need to change a successful formula??? SMH


PLEASE fix your algorithm. It only hurts freelancers like me, that uphold a 4.9/5 feedbac rating out of hundreds of successfully completed jobs, yet my success rate is 82% - SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE.



I agree with Lindsay. I have been with oDesk/Upwork since 2011, have an experience & education base that requires me to charge in the higher fee brackets in order to continue to work with clients on a freelance basis, and have largely earned 5 star reviews.


In recent years, a couple of clients have learned that they can try to leverage me & game the system by offering bad reviews...thinking that, if they do so, they can get a "discount" to change the feedback. On principle, this is not OK; technically, it is also a violation of Upwork's policy. Still, it is exceedingly difficult to get cooperation to have the appropriate penalties imposed.


Integrity is a big deal in my book. One of the reasons I am willing to contribute the 5% - 20% portion of my earnings to Upwork is that the policies are supposed to help insulate those of us in the contractor community from "clients" who aim to cheat us, and the system.


Beyond that rub, the newer "Job Success" score calculation is deliberately kept a secret...which, in and of itself, is suspect. Ironically, those of us who have been with the system for years (nearly 1,500 hours, in my case) are no longer gaining the benefit of the entire feedback landscape from our tenure; instead, it is as if we are doubly penalized when someone games the system now, since the full impact of our good ratings is lost in the 6 to 12 to 24-month mystery calculation.


I hope and trust that these concerns are taken with more consideration and remedial action now than they have been previously. Due to the unfair skew of these unrepresentative calculations, I am spending less and less time working with clients through Upwork now. I have found other sites and referral sources.


By the way, I was encouraged by those in Upwork Support to bring these concerns to the community. I see that others have tried doing so as well; yet, here we remain with the same unresolved ongoing problems.


I tend to be very loyal, and have seen merits in this system over the years. At the same time, I must be judicious about where I spend my time. If Upwork prefers to accumulate a glut of new freelancers (instead of also retaining those of us who have contributed financially over time to what Upwork has now become), and wants to work mainly with those whose fees are $25/hour and under instead of the full range of fee structures, I guess I see the writing on the wall. If loyalty and equity are not valued and rewarded here, then perhaps they will be elsewhere.


If, however, Upwork does take these community concerns seriously...I will be interested to hear about the course of action that will be pursued to remedy these concerns. Please also provide a timeframe for implementation of the revised or new policies.


Many thanks, in advance...

You, you have the exact same name as me!!! Tell me young man, where did you come by it???


Cat Indifferent


I don't really have a view on what Job Success should be. But I think what damns the current system is this: nobody seems to understand what it means. Clients don't, freelancers don't, and with no wish to offend, oDesk representatives on the forum don't seem very clear about it either.


Myself, I've only been on here for a couple of months, and I don't have a job success score at all so far. As you might expect, there's no clarity on how I get one, or what it will mean when I do.

John T trust me you are better without any Job success ratio because its all a mess. Mine dropped from 88% to 82% without any reason what so ever. Neither did any contract ended or a new contract started. It happen just like that.. poof

Hi Saleh,


Job Success score takes into consideration all your contracts during the last 24 months. As time passes, some of your older jobs "roll off" this window and the credit for those jobs also moves off your profile. I suspect this is the reason for the change you noticed.


If that is true, that is terrible!


I really hope you guys abolish the success rate or at least perfect the algorithm... A successful job, is a successful job, period. There is no reason, I should ever have an 82% success rate, with 4.9/5 feedback rating. That is ludicrous.



@Lindsay K wrote:

If that is true, that is terrible!


I really hope you guys abolish the success rate or at least perfect the algorithm... A successful job, is a successful job, period. There is no reason, I should ever have an 82% success rate, with 4.9/5 feedback rating. That is ludicrous.





Or, possibly you've gotten some great public feedback coupled with some bad private feedback. It seems that's fairly common. It shouldn't be allowed, but it's part of the equation.


So are refunds, just to name a couple of pieces outside of star rating that impact your JSS. 

Also, I have to agree with Lindsay K.


Someone with a 4.9/5 feedback rating, especially with a lot of client projects in the past, should have a very high score. In fact, someone who has a 4.9 rating over 300 (for the sake of the argument) contracts did a better job than someone with the same rating but with only 3 contracts. Pleasing 300 clients does not even come close as being the same as pleasing just 3.


As mentioned by others: we invest a lot of time and effort into being successful. Which is not easy being a freelancer. So the rating system at the very least has to be fair. Right now it makes no sense and is pretty much unfair. That's not good, no matter how you justify it.


What I'm wondering is how a job from 3 YEARS ago is causing a problem now? It's been mentioned repeatedly and in multiple locations that the "reviews" are from your last 12 to 24 months only. Don't worry, the modS here were posting that exact detail too.


In any case, the JS stuff as of yet has managed to cause more problems than fix. Hence all the complaints that are currently being ignored or given vague responses to. The current setup of things clearly doesn't take into account for everything which does explain its nickname of "Crazy Robot".


For my own track record.....


I've had 1 job that went south but still ended friendly to the point where the client asked me to stay available if something else comes up. I wonder if the "crazy robot" actually knew that this particular client took around 2+ months just to start the job (send me the needed file)? It is one of the reasons we ended on friendly terms.


1 more job that went south becasue the app I was testing didn't work on my Android devices. Any "review" of that part ??


In both cases I SPECIFICALLY told each client NOT to pay me. They didn't get the work that was needed so of course I EXPECTED not to get paid and simply would not have accepted pay for that. It's how I have always worked long before I started here on odesk.


Still got a waste of time warning email. Naturally, no specifc information was given as to what the exact cause of the problem was. Yeah, the "reviews" and "crazy robot" not taking into account for everything would be a pretty credible explination. Nope, can't have that sorta truth now can we?!!


So my JS went from 50% to 82%. That took 2 weeks for it to update. Then just a few DAYS later, it went up to and is holding at 87%. Not that I'm complaning but that's rather magical !!


I have the same problem. Two years back a client didnt pay the work I delivered. Actually the work was small and I delievered him everything in just first milestone and I asked him to complete the process and release all the funds (60$). I was new on odesk that time and had no idea that how clients rob freelancers. That guy never replied or discussed anything. I left hope and left a 1 star feedback, and moved on. And today, that no feedback is giving me jerks as my successrate shows 77%. I cant understand their special algorithms which are out of this world's to calculate the things. I would say they have messed a simple thing with a highly conceptual algorithmic thinking. I am totally disappointed as who ever will visit my profile will think that I fail every third project I take. While the reality is, I have never failed a project till date (not just on odesk but on other sites as well)

I have been working Elance / UpWork for 5 years. The problem with the ratings is that it is just too easy for the client to wrongfully down grade us. The more serious problem is that when we are downgraded it take away our income. My experience is that sometimes i am without an income / job for as long as 3 months while I struggle to take on even the lowest paid jobs.

My expenses and Adobe creative cloud monthly re-occurring membership plan does not go away for those 3 months. And I have other expense and equipment  $1000’s of dollars purchased cost that have been incurred in order to efficiently provide a service to our customers.


I COMPLETELY agree. MY success rate is at 82% and I have 1698 hours worked between 123 jobs, with a 4.9/5 feedback. HOW IS THIS RIGHT???


It is all because SOME of my clients did not leave feedback - Are you kidding me? So, because some of my clients did not leave ANY feedback, that affects my score negatively? That is a JOKE! I have no CONTROL over whether a client decides to leave feedback!


Change your algorithm upwork, because you are hurting GOOD, LOYAL freelancers!

I couldn't agree more.  I know it's common for substandard freelancers to whine about JSS, but that's not always the case.  I have a 67% JSS, but all my public feedback is 5 stars.  5 stars!  Upwork has confirmed this is due to private client feedback.  So how do I know what to improve when the harmful feedback is private and all my clients tell me I'm doing great?  I was getting jobs two at a time easily, but now with this scuzzy score, I'm getting no jobs so I don't even have the chance to bring it back up.


I also suspect I know exactly what happened.  I was working with several repeat clients and I priced myself too low for the amount of work.  That was completely my fault and I finished the jobs with no complaint and to praises of my work.  They wanted to hire me again.  I said great, but I need to raise my rates, hey I understand if this is outside your budget and you need to look elsewhere.  They weren't thrilled about my rate change, but they hired me with full knowledge of my increased price.  I think that's why I took a hit on private feedback.  That is inherently unfair and poor business practice, in my opinion.


So I'm basically up a creek without a paddle now.  Upwork has turned from a great experience into a disaster for me. I've complained about it here several times now, though, so this is my final rant.  Pinky swear.


I've had the same experience with a price hike with current customers. They are automatically pissed.

Not sure what the answer is there. I honor my old rate with current customers but if they disappear and come back it seems they are pissed about the change and it kinda reflects in my score.

Its never a good outcome because it's like they feel that they need an extra pound of flesh from you but that's not how it goes. Bad times all around.

Same here. The client wouldn't pay more and started changing how he did business. I guess he thought I would write for him forever. He knew not to leave public feedback that was negative because I could reply. But my JSS took a 2 point hit from the private "would not recommend" ding.  Correction: My "would rate" score took a 2 point ding. I haven't seen what that will do to my JSS yet. 


As with other issues that are going to hurt, such as closing contracts, I spread these situations out across JSS calculation cycles when I can.


Dealing with that now. I just want to get rid of this friggin contract and get paid. I already know I'm getting hit.

It makes no sense to ditch old customers but this happens every time. New price. Angry customers. Good times.

Better than elance days. Elance had a "cost" section for ratings. So if you were high priced the customer would rate you low because you were higher priced instead of rating you for what it was for which was adhering to your original estimate. Lol

Wow, I didn't know that about Elance.  I'm glad Upwork doesn't have that rating.


Hi Upwork


On the Job Score Client private feedback score lets not let new clients be able to hit high rated freelancers so hard?


On Elance i earned  8 time more than i earn at Upwork. This is my personal experience having worked here for 6 years. 

..................................................................THIS IS THE PROBLEM ..........................................


It is Elance / Upwork that determines how much work YOU will get.  ( regardless of your RSS ) Upwork knows exactly how good you are at the job. 


Upwork have decided to distribute the work load a lot more thinly in order to provide jobs to a greater number of Freelance members.  


Its the membership fees that Upwork needs. 

At at the moment Upwork membership is 14 million. Elance was never more than 7 million.


We all understand that Upwork needs to bring in a certain amount of money for itself each month. Nothing wrong with that. 


Problem is, Upwork's new business formula is great for there own membership fees income but a disaster for Freelance workers.  It reduces the income to Freelancers and takes away there work opportunity's by building a large membership without attracting enough jobs.


It really has become an almost hopeless place to work. The images and advertising does not correctly portray the misery Freelancers feel at there hopeless situation. 


Many Freelancers have gone to great expense to work here. Purchased new equipment, there Internet connection fees, Adobe fixed monthly software programs.  And all the other expenses that go with it. 


What is the solution ? 


I have to agree with the OP. I have 7200+ hours listed in my profile and 18 jobs (no clue why, since I have had only 16 contracts...). My ratings are exclusively either 5 stars or not rated. So my effective rating is 5 stars.


That's all nice and dandy and I'm sure it will help when I will be looking for a new project, however, what bites me is that I am beeing put in the same group as those people that just created an Upwork account an hour ago!


Does Upwork then see me as the same type of contributer as someone who never even looked at jobs on the Upwork website? That really makes no sense in any way. I see this whole 'Top Rated' freelancer program as some sort of marketing stunt with no real value in any way.


Like Sebastian says: star ratings are not the only thing that should be factored in. Logged hours, date an account was created, etc. should be taken into account as well. I was tempted to include money made, but that would not be fair towards those that have lower pays, so I would definitely leave that out.


Also, unless a real dispute has been filed with Upwork/oDesk in the past, I would consider all contracts successful. If Upwork wants a more fine grained way to determine the success of a contract, they should supply the tools to indicate that. And yes, anything beyond a certain time frame should be ignored. If someone has a spotless reputation for 1-2 years on end, but had a dispute before that, I think it is safe to say that this person cleaned up his/her record.


I read somewhere that clients cannot be rated anymore (been with the same client for some time now, so I have little awareness of those changes). If that is true, it should immediately be put back. The whole point of a service like Upwork is not just to protect Clients, but also to protect Freelances.


In short: I personally don't take the current rating system very seriously. Makes it quite a bit harder to find out who is more qualified though. I have often been in projects where I was asked to hire people through Upwork (or oDesk at the time) so I know how important it is to be able to quickly tell if a freelancer has a good track record. Seeing what people are relating here, it is no longer possible to reliably tell who has a valid background and who doesn't since someone who created a new account 1 hour ago is rated the same way as someone with 1700+ hours with only 5 star ratings. A bit odd, no?


I have just had my "Top Rated" status yanked away from me for not having landed enough jobs in the past few months.  I do think you have made it very difficult for freelancers to land jobs on your site.  I was able to get hired much more easily on Elance.  Raising your rates has made it even more difficult.


You can take away the "Top Rated" line of text but you should not take away my stars from the profile.  That is just completely unfair.  It is difficult enough to get noticed when there are so many thousands of freelancers competing for jobs.  But this makes it almost impossible!  We all deserve those stars and I think you should reconsider that part of this "suspension" for all freelancers you have suspended. You need to help us, not penalize us! 


At least allow us to keep our hard earned star rating clearly visible at the top of our profiles!


UnWork is build so it favors the client not the freelancer.
3 months ago my score was 75% and now is 60% During this time I started 2 contracts. For one of the jobs, UpWork told me not to start any work because the client is suspended and the other job is doing OK , completed 3 milestones.
But my score dropped for a reason that is not my fault.
UpWork just doesn't care about freelancers, he only care about the clients...they are the ones with the big $$$ even if the fee is paid by the freelancer.
Unless UpWork wakes up and threat us fairly, I tell all my friends to avoid UpWork at all costs

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Cip,


I'm sorry about your score's decrease and the frustration it had caused you. I see our team advised you regarding your suspended contract and will follow up regarding the most recent action you've taken. Please note that your score is based on the outcome of the contracts you've had and I can confirm that successfully completing more contracts/having ling term clients will help build your score back up.


Can we at least don't call it “Job Success Rate” The name is kind of misleading.

For example if a freelancer has “Job Success Rate” 70%. For some clients this could means 30% jobs FAIL which is not what this number mean. What I am saying is if a client didn't leave a feedback, it doesn't mean the job is “ not success/fail”. You call it a “ success rate”, but the way you calculate the number is more complex than it sounds.


Can we give this number a more accurate name please? Something like “ Contract History Index” maybe?

They don't. They call it Job Success SCORE, which is very different from rate.


The description you get when you hover over it, though, is quite misleading.

Call it the vague upwork scoring system.  VUSS.  What's all the vuss about?

@Jian C wrote:

Can we at least don't call it “Job Success Rate” The name is kind of misleading.

For example if a freelancer has “Job Success Rate” 70%. For some clients this could means 30% jobs FAIL which is not what this number mean. What I am saying is if a client didn't leave a feedback, it doesn't mean the job is “ not success/fail”. You call it a “ success rate”, but the way you calculate the number is more complex than it sounds.


Can we give this number a more accurate name please? Something like “ Contract History Index” maybe?