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aarondesign
Community Member

Not a fan of bidding and the bidding table

Let me first just say that I love Upwork and I owe my freelancing career to this platform. But, after seeing a few bidding tables and how people are bidding upwards of 500 connects to get to the top of the list, I have to say I'm not a fan. I've been on Upwork for over 11 years, I work hard, my clients are very happy, and I bring a lot of money to Upwork - but now I have to compete with people who are spending money to be seen first. Why does my hard work, endless 5-star reviews from happy clients, 100% success rate, and "Top Rated" status not seem to matter anymore now that people can just bid their way to the top? I feel like people who are assets to Upwork, like myself, should get the perks of being placed near the top versus whoever spends the most money on this new bidding system. It looks and feels a little greedy on Upwork's part and I'd say it's not fair to those who work their butts off to make Upwork money with happy clients.

 

I will not be spending connects to be the first on a potential client's list of proposals. I just hope it doesn't affect my ability to be seen or get hired.

71 REPLIES 71
Anonymous-User
Not applicable

A lot of people feel similarly.

It seems the JSS, Top Rated, and endless good reviews are being bumped out of the way for desperation.

I am not engaging in the connects war either, and if that changes how many contracts I get, so be it, I will diversify and move away.

I have noticed one thing, I have reduced bidding to 2 jobs in the last 2 months, and now only service existing clients.

If freelancers only bid on the clients that have an extremley high hire rate, then Upwork will stop servicing new clients as the freelancers can't tell if the client is real, will hire, or just fishing for cheapest, so why waste connects?

The writing is on the wall.

It's interesting that you think JSS, Top Rated and "endless good reviews" used to determine who appeared at the top of the client's list of proposals...I take it you've never posted a job. 

 

It's also interesting that you consider freelancers who are successful enough to target just a handful of jobs they're especially interested in and who are earning enough to invest in targeting those jobs "desperate." Where do you suppose a desperate freelancer gets all that money for connects? 

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

First of all, why would I post a job if I am a freelancer? 

So yes, I've never posted a job.

If I was a client I would be posting on the client board.

 

I see the desperation of people who are desperate to get on the JSS wagon to try and get a job buying more and more connects, otherwise who else is using more and more connects to be seen?

 

In addition, my client who I have been working with for over 4 years and done a great deal of work for has now stopped posting public jobs, becuase they see an endless list of people unsuitable, just becuase they use connects to get to the view.

Take a look at Samer's post, he is endlessly telling new freelancers, propose, propose, propose, propose, it is unsustainable, and will eventiually drive new talent away, pay to play, is not going to be a fan of Gen Z freelancers who are going to make up a great deal of the new workforce very soon, as us oldies die off or retire.

Take a look at the studies done on Gen Z, you will see it is not somehing they will appreciate.

 

ps, please tell me when the connect war, or the bidding war gets so silly that people are using 100 connects to get noticed? Oh sorry is that now?

IF so many freelancers leave Upwork that clients no longer get bids, then yes, Upwork will have to do more to attract them. But clearly, this isn't the case - I've never seen projects get as many bids as they're getting right now.

 

And IF clients are less likely to hire due to the boost feature, that's another thing that would make Upwork reconsider it. But so far, I've only seen one client complain about it. And as Tiffany says, it's nothing new for clients to see bad freelancers at the top of a list of proposals.

 

I don't like the boost feature either, but I have no reason to believe that I was regularly one of the top 3 bidders before it was introduced.

A great many freelancers, myself included, also hire other freelancers. I'm a writer, and I hire designers and developers fairly often (though not usually through Upwork). I also hire transcriptionists and the occasional other freelancer. 

 

Long lists of crappy proposals has long been the norm. That has nothing whatsoever to do with boosting. Boosting IS a way highly-qualified freelancers successful enough to spend money promoting themselves (like most successful businesses do) can increase their visibility in a list of dozens of cut-and-paste garbageg proposals that most clients won't wade all the way through. In the past, the people who appeared in the top slots were supposedly chosen by Upwork's algorithm, but often were terrible choices...the type of desperate freelancers you're talking about who billed themselves as a business management expert with high profile rates but were pitching for a job creating a PowerPoint presentation and showed low pay and random jobs in their history, for instance. 

dcapdevielle
Community Member

  Aaron,
It will most definitely affect your ability to be seen and therefore hired. That is actually the whole point of bidding and the way upwork believes will increase their earnings. 
We will see what happens long term. So far it is certainly affecting me as a Top rated plus, I am not getting interviews for the past two months.  

So it's your belief that clients only look at the first three proposals in their lists, no matter how many they receive or how enticing the preview is? 

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

So, if clients look further, as I am sure they do, then boosting is not as valuable as some people think.

So why do it?

You are of course not obligated to.

 

But, the answer to your question is that when a client is buried in garbage proposals as Upwork clients often are, most don't spend the time to open every one of those proposals. Some scan the preview and pick and choose, some open the first 10 or so before getting discouraged and leaving Upwork forever because they've picked up the impression that there are no good freelancers here.

 

I bid on very few jobs, and only those where I'm reasonably sure that I will be either the best option of one of the two or three best options the client has. Still, I don't usually boost. But, if there's a project I'm very interested in, I'm going to throw some extra connects at it for whatever additional visibility that provides. Since I have connects expiring every month it would be kind of stupid to just let them disappear instead of using them that way, wouldn't it? 

 

Upwork's data, for what it's worth (in my experience, usually not much) says every single proposal of mine that has been opened in the past 60 days was a boosted proposal. Now, if I know that I'm a clear top choice for a gig, why wouldn't I want to increase the chances that the client opened my proposal and found that out? 

deborah-ponzio
Community Member

I am not concerned about all that. In my experience, a sound proposal with sound skills will always reach out to a serious client with budget who seeks appropriate skills.  They may try a boosted and low-cost bidder from time to time, but the experience will often have them reviewing past proposals and getting in touch with the sound ones. Serious clients exist and I am working with some of them. If you don't need to be artificially boosted, don't do it.

Curious about why you're pairing "boosted" and "low cost." Does it really make sense to you that "low cost" bidders are spending significant amounts of money bidding on those jobs? 

Hello Tiffany, thanks for asking. You have a point. I actually wrote my message before learning here that there could be bids for hundreds of connects. I cannot see details of bids myself.

Having said that, I am still of the view that if one believes to need artificial boosting, it is possible that this person is new of the platform and has none or few projects completed in their profile, or can have other issues.

Re. the low bidders, I saw some of them making a lot of money at the end of the day with some low-paid projects in their profiles.  In such cases, they add hundreds and thousands of hours for tasks and projects that, in my view, may take much less. Some of my clients hired a few low bidders in the past for projects of the same type of those that I worked on and, when comparing the number of hours that we added respectively, there always was a huge difference.  Sometimes the hours they add are so many in a short time that they seem to work an unrealistic number of hours each day. In such cases, they won't miss the money to pay for hundreds of connects. What do you think? 

Having said that, I am still of the view that if one believes to need artificial boosting, it is possible that this person is new of the platform and has none or few projects completed in their profile, or can have other issues.

 

I've been on Upwork for about six years. I use the site very part-time and have made more than $200k here. I know based on Upwork's data and the clients who reach out to me that boosting makes a significant difference in visibility (even though I only ever bid on a job where I know I'm the most qualified or one of the two or three most qualified who might bid on it). 

 

In the past 90 days, more than half of my boosted proposals have been opened, compared with <15% of unboosted. 

7f9b79df
Community Member


Aaron A wrote:

Why does my hard work, endless 5-star reviews from happy clients, 100% success rate, and "Top Rated" status not seem to matter anymore now that people can just bid their way to the top?


^^^ This is the real question.

virtualbrix
Community Member

Not much we can control when it comes to this feature, we can:

 

1. Just ignore and submit proposals and hope that your history / feedback / skillset attracts the client (if they read enough)

2. Just go with it and Boost the projects you really like and want, Most of the online companies are doing this.

 

If you look at Google, go search for most things, you will notice that the ads + map ads and others take up the top listings where as the organic ones are way down. the same goes with the social networks, etc. Its just part of it, build the network, have your "stars" help you do it, than capitalize on everything and anything you can. This is what happens when you are a public company, you either continue to grow or else...

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Google is a multi-billion dollar company that most other billion-dollar, million-dollar companies use for advertising, they pay to advertise, do you pay to see those adverts? Or pay to see those job posts? No, you don't people who advertise pay, not the receivers.

I AM NOT ADVERTISING, I am applying, i am looking, and now it seems Upwork is trying to change the narrative of connects/boosts, I am seeing too many dodgy accounts that show up defending an increase with all sorts of illogical answers, are these accounts real?

 

Upwork now makes a lot money on jobs that do not hire, I wonder who is behind these unhiring jobs?

This is sort of a strange way to look at it. You're paying Upwork to do your advertising for you. Upwork spends millions of dollars every month drawing clients to the site so you can send them proposals. 

f1ecd428
Community Member

I still haven't read one single person that's happy with the new bidding feature. I was hoping Upwork would consider the freelancers' feedback, but no...

aarondesign
Community Member

Wow! bidding-screenshot.PNG

 

What kind of job is that for?  What industry/line of work?

This is for web design/development. 500 connects is $75 worth of connects. I see bids in the hundreds consistently on web design/development projects listed and some of them are pretty low budgets considering the industry and how much Upwork fees are.

500 connects? Wow! That's roughly $25 to be one of the Top 3 proposals. 

hedy_w
Community Member

Wouldn't it be $75 if you get 20 connects for $3? 

Interesting to know if this freelancer that used 500 connects got the job, if the client hired according to the connects and/or the talent?

What type of job is this? What's the budget?

So top place cost $33 and no refund unless someone else spends even more and pushes the bid out of the top three. Upwork must love freelancers like that.


Robert Y wrote:

So top place cost $33 and no refund unless someone else spends even more and pushes the bid out of the top three. Upwork must love freelancers like that.


I'm sure they do, because those are the freelancers who are aiming for jobs worth many thousands of dollars and paying significant fees to Upwork on those jobs. 

But even if they don't get the job, they pay for boosting their proposal if they get into the top three bids. 

Sure, but so what? If I spend $20 on connects for each of five proposals and get hired on one that pays me $17,000 across a few months, that was a wonderful investment. In fact, it was a great investment even if I spent $20 on each of 20 jobs and only landed one.

abixbg
Community Member

You are basically describing a Slot Machines in a casino. Do you realize why this is wrong!?

Technically how is this even possible? An agency plus account can hold a maximum of 400 connects at any point, if the max is 400 connects how did someone bid for 500? 

 

Just the other day I saw a post about people boosting 399 connects, and that got me thinking about the limits Upwork has on connects are 200 (freelance account) and 400 (agency account). If those limits are still active freelancers are at a disadvantage as they can bid for a max of 200 connect while agencies can bid Upwork 400, now we see 500...

 

Can someone from Upwork clarify how did he manage to bid for 500 connects? or if the limit re still in place?

davis-michael
Community Member

this must be the reason why my job offers on posts dropped to zero

ericaandrews
Community Member

I have to agree with this comment.  If Upwork is all about increasing profits, then it seems to me, that they would take the freelancers that are already bringing in "Cinncinati bank rolls" of money for the platform and put them at the very TOP of the proposal lists (provided their skills match to the job) because those freelancers are more likely to get hired and produce even more money for the UW platform.  Why waste the client's time by 'promoting' junk proposals to the top of the list?

 

When clients get a list of proposals with the top 3 'boosted' proposals being junk  proposals, they are actually more likely to simply 'close' the job post or 'abandon' it and not hire anybody at all. Yeah, maybe Upwork makes a couple bucks off of desparate freelancers spending excessive amounts of 'connects', but Upwork potentially lost thousands of dollars UW could have made if that client had been shown quality freelancers first and made a hire, especially a long-term hourly hire or a large fixed price contract hire. As a business strategy, it's penny-wise and pound foolish: Sacrificing long-term recurring revenue for a one-time 'quick buck' right now.

 

When I see people bidding over 500 connects for a single proposal submission, that tells me a couple things.  Upwork needs to limit the maximum number of connects any freelancer can hold in their account at one time (maybe 200 max), and then limit how many connects a freelancer can buy in a single month. If a freelancer is spending hundreds and hundreds of connects per day simply 'spamming out' proposals everywhere and not getting hired anybody, that's a good indication that there is no market for whatever they are trying to 'sell'.  The connect system shouldn't be allowed to be abused in such a way that freelancers can buy an unlimited amount and simply endless 'spam out' proposals everywhere in desperation.  The 'connect' system should be about a freelancer having a chance to 'connect', not a 'right' to 'spam'.

I don't think I agree with this because those freelancers are already getting hired and generating fees for Upwork. If they promote them, then they're just shifting which projects they're working on, not actually increasing revenues. If they can get clients to hire freelancers who aren't going to be working and paying fees anyway, that's a new revenue stream.

18d41e19
Community Member

Hi Aaron, 

Great post! I am new to Upwork and have noticed disdain from legacy Upworkers about the boost/bidding system. As a new freelancer, I don't know what it's like not to have to boost proposals. However,  I do not boost my Proposals because I don't come across the type(s) of opportunities that I am willing to pay to play.

Perhaps other freelancers see boosting their proposal as a business expense (i.e., marketing, branding, lead generation, etc.). If so, allocating resources for business development and marketing is a customary and usual business expense. 

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Boosts is not a business expense.
You are gambling, does gambling cone under business expenses?
Need to check.

This seems to be a drivel story that the Upwork Defence Volunteers use.
I'm extremely suspicious of those folk that think gambling on the
possibility of getting an interview is seen as a legitimate business
expense.

Do you pay for the recruiter to put your resume forward? It's unethical.

Hi Pete, 

 

I am not defending UW nor am I accusing them. I just offered my opinion about how some freelancers may view the bidding system. For the record, I have only been on the platform a few weeks. I landed a few contracts (without boosting) but can empathize with what others are saying. 

Edited to add: I don't plan to purchase boosts because, for me, it's a terrible business expense on top of the other fees already associated with being a freelancer. 

How is boosting more of a gamble than spending connects to bid in the first place? 

 

 

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Because you cannot see what happens behind you, You don't know anything, you are just trying to trump the current bid, and then it becomes a never-ending story of who has the most connects or who is desperate enough to get at the top.

Gamble away, I will watch from the sidelines.

 

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