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Once again I object to penalizing freelancers for disappearing clients / inactive projects

I had a 100% JSS for a long time. I recently had one job not end successfully and that dropped to 99%. Fine, I'm no longer perfect. But there haven't been any others and now it's down to 97%. The only thing that I have heard of that can affect this that has occurred in that time is a couple of contracts have gone inactive.

 

I object to this metric being part of JSS. It has nothing to do with whether or not I do my work or please my clients.

 

It's UNPROFESSIONAL for Upwork to constantly make me have to nag clients to close projects so I'm not penalized for something that DOESN'T FLIPPING MATTER IN THE FIRST PLACE.

163 REPLIES 163

 


@Renata S wrote:

I'd rather know the facts for what UpWork officially publishes about this issue. And no one has given me a link to anything published that outlines these "facts."

 


 Oh, you're one of those.

 

Yeah, no. No one here is going to take time away from their paid work to look things up for you. They're already sharing their knowledge for free on their own time. You're free to take or leave the advice of people who have maintained 100% JSS for months or years, but if you want something more than that, you're going to have to do your own research...unless you want to post a job for a research assistant.


@Zac G wrote:

I have a client who every month gives me about 10 hours of rotoscoping work (...) I know its hurting my JSS.


Lol ๐Ÿ™‚

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

Earlier, there was a request for official feedback 'facts' from Upwork. So here's one -- even if the article is 2 years old, I believe it's still authoritative:

 

"A pattern of contracts that end without feedback can reduce your score" -- Jeff Chen, VP, Trust & Safety

 

Source: https://www.upwork.com/blog/2015/06/job-success-score-upwork/

 

I've disagreed with this from the get-go, by the way, and would prefer that such contracts be neutral toward JSS, but Upwork masterminds don't see it that way.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

Hi John. Thanks for that. It's a one-liner from two years ago and I bet you probably had to spend some time tracking it down. That's how hidden from view this information is. And it doesn't tell us much about what the cutoff is for "too many." How bad is bad? How many = pattern?  And again, for some types of work, clients disappearing without leaving feedback, usually clients with short deadlines, is a fairly common experience. Once people meet their deadlines, they don't bother. Same thing with actually ending the contracts, which I find weird. 

I appreciate the fact that you say you've never agreed with it. Unfortunately the "masterminds" behind the system who don't agree with you aren't doing that much with your insights. I work with a lot of tech people who really don't understand the demands of what I do. And they really don't see how working works for people beyond what they do themselves (high paid contracts with longer timelines than I'll ever experience). 

The other issue that I'm grappling with is that contracts under $500 are way more common in my industry than they are for someone who's a developer or a programmer. I might do 2 to 3 projects with someone before I break the 20% fee barrier. It really makes me feel like I'm subsidizing the $3 an hour "virtual assistants" that are so common on this board. 


Renata, you too seem to be over-focusing on the inactive / no feedback contracts... 

 

Maybe focus on the ones with poor feedback instead?

 

3 in the last few months and a dozen contracts would knock even the most solid JSS.


@Zac G wrote:

I will also say ontop of your argument that Yes, specific sectors of jobs have different qualifications for inactive jobs - I have a client who every month gives me about 10 hours of rotoscoping work and has just opted to leave the contract open becuase he hates how the upwork interface works - I'm not going to ask him to close it, becuase thats money that I'm passing up, but at the same time I know its hurting my JSS. Hourly contracts shouldn't have a inactivity flag, having a hourly contract open is just like having a freelancer on retainer, its easier for the clients, and it makes freelancers money as well as upwork.

 


Zac, that contract is not hurting your JSS. I say this because I have a long-time client who only logs on once a month to approve the previous month's milestone and to set a new one. Sometimes more than 30 days pass before the client does this. The contract started before I had a job success score and was open ever since (over a year now!) During that time, my JSS went from 90% to 94% to 95% to 97% to 100% and it is now at 99%. The 99% and 100% JSS tell me this contract has not hurt my score in any way. If your client is paying you every few weeks or even one a month, it is helping your score. 

 

I think I have had inactive contracts temporarily hurt my score. I say this because my score went up when I started closing those inactive contracts one by one (not all at once). Those contracts were inactive for at least 3 months before I received a score (it took me a few months to earn my first JSS). So I couldn't observe when they started to negatively impact my score.

at this point its impossible to say what effects our JSS's , since its a secrect formula and we really don't know what classifies a inactive client as a inactive client.

 

 

I was merely using that one as an example, I have 20+ closed, no feedback contracts that had clients go dark, they were all ones that sat in inactivity for a long time


@Zac G wrote:

1) at this point its impossible to say what effects our JSS's , since its a secrect formula and we really don't know what classifies a inactive client as a inactive client.

 

2) I was merely using that one as an example,

3) I have 20+ closed, no feedback contracts that had clients go dark, they were all ones that sat in inactivity for a long time


 1) It isn't actually that hard to take an educated guess. A few weeks inactivity is not an issue at any rate.

 

2) You claimed to have a contract which is open where your client gives you about 10 hours of work every month and that you leave it open and that it is hurting your JSS when you don't actually HAVE an open contract like that at all. So essentially you lied outright.

 

3) This also isn't true...

 

Of course it is so much easier to blame the "no feedback" contracts rather than the ones that didn't go quite to the clients' satisfaction, isn't it?

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

All,

 

Some posts have been removed from this thread. Please, refrain from making personal attacks. Be respectful toward other members and mindful of the Community Guidelines when posting.

 

Thank you.

~ Valeria
Upwork

I'm done. Have fun on the safespace forum.

Fast foward two weeks...

 

I had three idle jobs. Contacted all the clients. One closed it, favorable feedback. Other two did not.

 

Waited another week, contacted both again. Waited another 5 days, and then closed both jobs.

 

JSS updates.. still 97%.

 

Color me baffled. So does this mean the idle jobs weren't counting against me? Or closing them after they've counted against me doesn't help? Gee, we can never know the answer because it's like Colonel Sanders's 11 herbs and spices. Sigh.

 

ETA: I didn't read the entire discussion/argument that ensued over the last week. I only have two comments on the larger issue: first, I maintain my original objection, because an unclosed project does NOT mean that the project was unsuccessful, and second, I wish there was a little less of people bending over to make excuses for Upwork on this JSS matter, which is nearly uniformly seen by freelancers as poorly implemented and unfair -- even if it doesn't affect certain individuals as much as others. I understand and agree with the need for a metric of this type. However, the way it has been done, and the cloak-and-dagger attitude taken surrounding it, I believe are, as I said at the start, unprofessional and unacceptable.

Contracts with no feedback ALSO count against you, so you may have just balanced out the impact. And, we don't know what other factors may have come into play in that period.

 

 

Wow that's  c r a z y .  That's like saying zero is a negative number.


@Tiffany S wrote:

Contracts with no feedback ALSO count against you, so you may have just balanced out the impact. And, we don't know what other factors may have come into play in that period.

 

 


 


@Ken S wrote:
Wow that's  c r a z y .  That's like saying zero is a negative number.


@Tiffany S wrote:

Contracts with no feedback ALSO count against you, so you may have just balanced out the impact. And, we don't know what other factors may have come into play in that period.

 

 


 


 Not exactly, Ken. Upwork bases Job SUCCESS Score in large part on client reports of a great experience. If 10 of 10 clients have rated you well, that's a good indicator that your clients are happy. If 1 of 10 client gave you a great rating and the other 9 gave no feedback, Upwork obviously doesn't have the same data-based indicator that you do great work and your clients are happy.


@Tiffany S wrote:

Contracts with no feedback ALSO count against you, so you may have just balanced out the impact. And, we don't know what other factors may have come into play in that period.

 

 


Great. ๐Ÿ˜• Some "experts" here -- and Upwork personnel too -- specifically told me (and not always politely) that I could solve this problem easily by just closing the contracts myself. They said because I had very few contracts without feedback that it wouldn't be an issue.

 

Upwork -- How much of this BS do we have to put up with before we get some straight answers on something that so directly impacts us?

 

This is embarrassingly unprofessional.

 

Counting contracts as "unsuccessful" when there are no complaints, work has been done, and payment has been made without protest or objection, simply because the client doesn't close the project -- this is absurd, bad for both clients and freelancers, and needs to stop.


@Charles K wrote:

@Tiffany S wrote:

Contracts with no feedback ALSO count against you, so you may have just balanced out the impact. And, we don't know what other factors may have come into play in that period.

 

 


Great. ๐Ÿ˜• Some "experts" here -- and Upwork personnel too -- specifically told me (and not always politely) that I could solve this problem easily by just closing the contracts myself. They said because I had very few contracts without feedback that it wouldn't be an issue.

 

Upwork -- How much of this BS do we have to put up with before we get some straight answers on something that so directly impacts us?

 

This is embarrassingly unprofessional.

 

Counting contracts as "unsuccessful" when there are no complaints, work has been done, and payment has been made without protest or objection, simply because the client doesn't close the project -- this is absurd, bad for both clients and freelancers, and needs to stop.


 Charles, Upwork has repeatedly given you and others a "straight answer." You just don't like the answer.

 

Upwork disagrees with your assessment of the meaning of a pattern of no feedback contracts. Upwork believes that should be factored in as a negative. Upwork intentionally created an algorithm that treats a pattern of no feedback contracts as a negative. Upwork moderators have repeatedly affirmed that this is intentional and there is no anticipated change with regard to that aspect of JSS.

 

That's pretty damned straight.

 

As for the CS rep's advice...this IS a real problem on Upwork. CS reps consistently provide inaccurate and conflicting information, creating problems in a variety of ways. It's hard to imagine that you've spent the amount of time you have in the forums without knowing that. It's IMPOSSIBLE to imagine that you didn't know no feedback contracts had a negative impact, since you've been involved in many prior JSS discussions and there are roughly 16,538 threads about how freelancers don't think no feedback contracts should be treated negatively.

 

The bottom line is that you don't have to "put up with" this. Use of Upwork is wholly optional. But, you're likely to be waiting a very long time if you're expecting this aspect of JSS to change to suit you.

"Charles, Upwork has repeatedly given you and others a "straight answer." You just don't like the answer."

 

No, they have not. A straight answer would include information on how long I had to close a contract, how many contracts had to be open before it became a problem, and what I could do to fix the problem.

 

I fail to see how this information would harm the "integrity" of anything. I'm not talking about gaming feedback. I'm talking about accounting. If a client is unhappy they could and would still provide negative feedback. All this is about is whether a contract is open or not.

 

"Upwork intentionally created an algorithm that treats a pattern of no feedback contracts as a negative."

 

I wasn't aware that 1 or 2 projects out of close to 100 constituted a "pattern".

 

Has that been clarified "pretty damned straight"? Not that I've seen.

 

This is literally the first time I have EVER had ANY contract stay open and idle more than a few weeks. And it's been closed. So why is the JSS still where it was?

 

"The bottom line is that you don't have to "put up with" this. Use of Upwork is wholly optional."

Gosh, thanks. Very helpful.

This is a mechanism for feedback. I am providing feedback.

I'm a good freelancer. I make my clients happy. I make Upwork money. And I am unhappy about this aspect of the system. So I am expressing that unhappiness.

What I really wonder about is what exactly the people defending Upwork think they are accomplishing here. I don't need anyone to give me Marie Antoinette-like platitudes about how I don't need to work here. I know that. I don't need people to tell me that they are likely to ignore me. I know that also is probably true, but not expressing dissatisfaction means nothing CAN change.

What WOULD help is a rational explanation for why this makes ANY sense at all.

Can you do that? If so, you have my thanks. If not, then I am not sure what YOU are trying to accomplish. If you want to change my mind on this, you can -- but you'll have to do better than that.

My personal theory is that they take your feedback into consideration too with the jss. If you read the whitepaper that they published on determining bad contract outcomes, they go as far as to listen to "bad phrases" in messages as a signal of bad outcomes.

 

I think there is more to closing contracts yourself. I think they take into consideration what you write as a review. When both sides give feedback, they probably weigh client's feedback heavier but what do they have to go on when the client leaves and doesn't come back and only the freelancer sends feedback? 

 

There are two possible outcomes. The client was happy and just left or he was unhappy and didn't want to deal with it. If the freelancer leaves a negative response like 3 stars and chooses something negative from the dropdown, then chances are the contract didn't go well. I can't think of a reason why a freelancer would leave terrible feedback other than something went wrong. If there is one, if it's in the minority then they probably don't care. So this is why I always rate well and choose positive signals to send the algorithm when I close my own contracts.

 

 

Charles,

 

As we've shared multiple times here in the Community, Upwork Blog and Help Center articles, there are a number of factors that can cause fluctuations in the Job Success score everytime it updates. Private feedback, inactive contracts, a pattern of contracts without feedback, outcomes falling off of the calculation are among them. To prevent abuse, we can't reveal details and exact numbers for each JSS calculation or affect of each contract on JSS.

 

I understand your frustration, however Job Success score has proven to be a much more effective system for evaluating freelancer overall performance than the average star rating system we had previously. Ultimately, it does benefit successful and hardworking freelancers like yourself as your outstanding performance is reflected in your high score.

~ Valeria
Upwork


Valeria K wrote:As we've shared multiple times here in the Community, Upwork Blog and Help Center articles, there are a number of factors that can cause fluctuations in the Job Success score everytime it updates. Private feedback, inactive contracts, a pattern of contracts without feedback, outcomes falling off of the calculation are among them. To prevent abuse, we can't reveal details and exact numbers for each JSS calculation or affect of each contract on JSS.

 

And as *I* have said multiple times, this doesn't cut it.

 

You guys have all the power and will do what you want, but this aspect of the JSS is unfair and unprofessional, and I don't care how many times any number of you quote the boilerplate at me about the great "integrity" of your wonderful system.

 

I just had a client I did work for who disappeared for two weeks. He returned, was happy with the work, paid me, I asked him to close the job, but he disappeared again without closing it.

 

How is this my fault?


What can I POSSIBLY do about it?


What on earth does it have to do with the success of the job, which as I just said was completed successfully? For a return client?

 

There is no excuse for penalizing freelancers who have been paid by happy clients simply because the clients don't close the project.


NONE.

 

There is also no excuse for forcing freelancers to nag clients to close jobs to keep their JSS up.


NONE.

 

It has NOTHING to do with job success.

 

It has NOTHING to do with the integrity of the system -- if you weren't counting these open jobs against JSS, there'd be no complaints and no need for people to ask what is going on in the first place.

 

As I said, I get the concept behind JSS. But this aspect is arbitrary, capricious and utterly inaccurate.

97% is a fine score. But not when 3% of the 100% of clients who say they'd recommend me is missing and I have no idea why, but everyone suspects that it is due to things I cannot control.

I feel very unprofessional asking for feedback in the first place.  


@Ken S wrote:

I feel very unprofessional asking for feedback in the first place.  


 tbf, I never do. I don't even ask people to close contracts. I prolly should but I feel weird doing it. If I was happy and a random on Upwork, I would probably ignore the requests too cuz it's a pain.

 

I'd suggest that freelancers are able to send a template email that's triggered by us when we want it sent that has a button that takes them right to the contract to close, but of course the scourge would ruin it and send 1 every hour.

Charles,

Bravo, well said.

JSS is beyond broke.

 

Im a hard working freelancer who score dipped to 89%.

I have several clients who disappear and i have to nag them to death to close and pay contracts, that is not my fault.

Where is our disappear button for clients who drop off the face of the earth?

 

Keep up the good fight Charles.

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

Thank you

 

 

 

 

 


@Stephen R wrote:

 


I have several clients who disappear and i have to nag them to death to close and pay contracts

 

 

 

 


 What kind of contracts do you have to nag someone to pay?

 

Hourly = automatic pay on a weekly schedule

 

Fixed price = automatic pay 14 days after milestone submission

 

What type of work requires action from the client?

I feel like a fool asking for feedback.  As long as the client is happy I don't care if they leave feedback or not.  And from past experience the feedback I've gotten when I don't ask is much better and real than the feedback I've gotten when I asked for feedback.  I'd rather just have a few totally awesome feedbacks than a bunch of feedbacks that people left just because I asked.  It's half-hearted.  


@Ken S wrote:

I feel like a fool asking for feedback.  As long as the client is happy I don't care if they leave feedback or not.  And from past experience the feedback I've gotten when I don't ask is much better and real than the feedback I've gotten when I asked for feedback.  I'd rather just have a few totally awesome feedbacks than a bunch of feedbacks that people left just because I asked.  It's half-hearted.  


 

Why in heaven's name would you ask for feedback?

 

I never have and I never would.

 

Just manage your contracts in such a way that the client is encouraged to end the contract. When the client ends the contract they HAVE to leave feedback.

 

No need to ever even mention feedback.

I'm somewhat new here but I can see that after the work is done if they aren't a long time users of upwork they tend to be on their merry way and not return to close a contract or leave feedback.  They are happy the work is done and they are on to the next thing.  These are mostly other web developers or web site owners I've dealt with.  

Petra,

 

I think you are assuming alot.

I constantly have to ask clients to leave feedback. Even clients who i have amazing business relationships with.

When work is done I thank them and politely ask for feedback and I will do the same.

Clients are to busy half the time to close the job and leave feedback.

 

"Why in heaven's name would you ask for feedback?"

Answer...

The real brick and mortar business world does not rely on a feedback system to succeed.

You pay for goods, the business delivers and you will be back if you enjoyed you experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Someone mentioned something on here that if you have ten customers and only one leaves feedback they consider that negatively.  I've been running other businesses besides what I'm attempting to do here on Upwork and if I get awesome feedback from one out of every ten customers and no negative feedback I don't consider that to be a negative experience.  All I need is a few awesome feedbacks that are genuine and from the heart to display to potentials and I'm good to go.

 

 

 

 


@Ken S wrote:

Someone mentioned something on here that if you have ten customers and only one leaves feedback they consider that negatively.  I've been running other businesses besides what I'm attempting to do here on Upwork and if I get awesome feedback from one out of every ten customers and no negative feedback I don't consider that to be a negative experience.  All I need is a few awesome feedbacks that are genuine and from the heart to display to potentials and I'm good to go.

 

 

 

 


 Ken, I think this overlooks several elements specific to Upwork. You may disagree with the systems that bring those elements into play, but the impact will be there whether you acknowledge it or not.

 

Of course, the fact that your JSS will be abysmal if you get feedback from one in ten clients on Upwork is the most obvious (and the one you presumably disagree with).

 

It's not the only difference, though. If you have 1,567 clients and seven of them leave you really great feedback, you put seven testimonials on your website. Visitors to your site don't know how many clients you've had. They also don't know whether these are the only seven pieces of feedback you've received, or you chose the top seven out of hundreds, or you're rotating through several dozen. They see an unbroken string of positive feedback.

 

Since all feedback is visible on Upwork, receiving feedback on one job out of ten could mean that a client has to expand your work history multiple times to find four or five pieces of feedback. It also means that the messaging (conscious or unconscious) is that a tiny handful of your hundreds of clients gave you positive feedback, since the client will have to scroll past several "No Feedback" notations to get to one positive rating.

 

I'm not sure what your field is, but I have 10+ years in online marketing, and I guarantee you that a prospective client perceives an unbroken string of positive feedback, or a list dominated by positive feedback, very differently than he or she will a long list of nothing with the rare piece of good feedback interspersed.

That's not true.

 

I know in the real world most people don't take the time to leave any feedback unless they are overly joyed or overly annoyed.

 

So if I see someone had 10,000 customers and they have 12 awesome feedbacks and 1 negative I would have no problem using their services.

 

 

 


@Stephen R wrote:

Petra,

 

I think you are assuming alot.

I constantly have to ask clients to leave feedback. Even clients who i have amazing business relationships with.

When work is done I thank them and politely ask for feedback and I will do the same.

Clients are to busy half the time to close the job and leave feedback.

 

Closing a contract and leaving feedback takes less than 90 seconds. A client who is "too busy" to do that is simply a client who doesn't care about conducting business in an orderly manner. Sure, once in a while someone is going to forget or get wrapped up in something and not get back to it, but are you really suggesting that the majority of your clients can't spare 90 seconds across the roughly three months it takes for an inactive contract to start impacting your JSS?

 

 

Answer...

The real brick and mortar business world does not rely on a feedback system to succeed.

You pay for goods, the business delivers and you will be back if you enjoyed you experience.

 

This is absolutely false. More than 60% of consumers do online research when shopping for goods and services, and ratings are one of the top measures they use to choose a provider. Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals routinely ask clients/patients to rate them on whatever sites they're targeting, and it's a common element in many marketing plans to have cards with URLs for ratings to distribute in the office, as well as links in email newsletters (and sometimes even in the footer of business correspondence).

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tiffany,

Thanks for your feedback.

 

"This is absolutely false."

 

 

Every consumer makes decisions differently. We are all individuals.

Some people purchase quickly and some people will spend hours on simple decisions.

I only need a couple of reviews for a product or freelancer to help my make my decision.

Do you really need to read all 248 of my job reviews? Do i need to read all 600 product reviews when i buy a vacuum? Nope, I dont.

 

Also for you to understand ALL clients is ludicrous.

Once they get what they want, they are gone. 

Sure it may take you 90 seconds to close a contract but for many first time clients it takes longer.

I hear it time and time again. Upwork is confusing.

How do i close a contract?

If i don't give feedback why does it hurt your JSS score?

 

The doctors and lawyers i see don't ask for any reviews. I tell them in person if I am satisfied with their service.

Its called word of mouth. Not everybody sits in front of a computer worried about 5 stars and some lame feedback.

If im not happy with my lawyer or doctor I don't jump on Yelp and tell the world. I don't have the time and who cares.

 

 


@Stephen R wrote:

 

If im not happy with my lawyer or doctor I don't jump on Yelp and tell the world. I don't have the time and who cares.

 

 


 Well, according to reams of data from a number of credible sources, at least 2/3 of consumers shopping for products and services, and a similar percentage of business decision-makers.

 

YOU clearly don't care, and that's fine, but that doesn't alter the fact that the market is changing and a growing percentage of "shoppers" DO care.

 

 

Again Tiffany thank you for your feedback.

 

Try to stay on point.

The focus of this thread is the JSS fiasco that many of us are trying to understand.

The focus of this thread is not my online shopping habits.

This is not Amazon and I am not selling back scratchers.

I don't care about data and shoppers don't hire me.

If you know me, you will hire me. A couple feedback reviews, a stellar portfolio and years of experience

gets me hired. My clients don't have any idea the hoops freelancers jump thru to try and stay "top-rated."

 

Obviously there is an issue with the JSS and feedback.

Maybe your happy with it but many are not.

My feedback has bounced from 89% to 100%. Not sure why?

But once it dips below 90% all of a sudden your a leper.

Your then banished from Top rated status which affects all the so called top rated perks you get.

 

The bottomline is freelancers will not be happy.

Upwork will do nothing and freelancers will look to other avenures of income.

"Nothing personal, it's just business."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The percentage of buyers that leave feedback after purchasing on amazon.com is very very low.

 

 


@Ken S wrote:

The percentage of buyers that leave feedback after purchasing on amazon.com is very very low.

 

 


The percentage of people leaving a feedback on my Upwork profile is very high.

 

People who by USB sticks on Amazon and people who buy professional services on Upwork are doing totally different things and the level of seller/buyer communication is totally different.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

I think the main issue here is that if no feedback is left that's not any type of solid indication that the job was not completed successfully.

 

 

 

 


@Ken S wrote:

I feel like a fool asking for feedback.  

 

As well you should. Fortunately, there is zero reason you should ever do so.