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Private message advertising Freelancing site

Today I got a Private message advertising another freelancing site. I cannot flag it as it is not related to any job post.


Did anyone else got this? 


I do not want to be contacted about things like this. I got excited thinking I had been shortlisted for an interview!




Yes, I received one of those as well. I plan to report it to support later today. I really hope the o-desk message system is not going to turn into a spam system. 


Yep, me too - didn't think it was possible to PM someone here unless they are a contractor who has hired/interviewed you...


And me.


I'm a "top professional", dontcha know?




Just now got this message and rushed here - thought may be someone knew something about..

What the hell is that?

Even without Odesk mailing system I have enought spam getting in my regular mailboxes - now Odesk mailing joining the club... Smiley Very Happy Smiley Very Happy


Congrats guys...


P.S. Say honestly, it was very pleasant hearing that I'm one amongst other top guys... Smiley Very Happy

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi All,


Thank you for reporting it. I will escalate it to the appropriate team and they will investigate it further.

~ Valeria

I got it too. Was very surprised, since this is the first time something like this happened.

ATTN. GARNOR -- oDesk Community Managers: ADDED: No reply publicly or privately as of May 1, 2015 (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada).

I received a similar message via the oDesk core site messaging system with the same subject "Freelancing reimagined - A new way to win more work online!"; except it was from someone named "Belinda" not "Jemma" as shown in the image (since removed by Community Mods I.A.W. Community guidelines) included with the original, oDesk Community post.

Since my oDesk messages are forwarded to my personal email system, I first thought the email was an "official" email from someone that works "officially" for oDesk (either in-house or remote). Seeing the message again in the actual oDesk core site messaging system, I noticed that it was not related to any job posting.

QUESTIONS: Does Belinda, Jemma, or both individuals officially work for oDesk either in-house or remote? Can persons that do officially work for oDesk send members (clients and freelancers) messages via the oDesk core site messaging system without a related job posting? Are the messages in question officially from oDesk?

I have requested on numerous occasions that persons officially working for oDesk, either in-house or remote, be required by an official oDesk "established and documented" internal policy to sign their communications, as a minimum, with their first name, last name, and their oDesk title or position (Also, refrain from including salutations with random, unneeded slogans, tag lines, and other non-standard [unapproved] notations). In other words, use professional style saluatations in officlal oDesk wriitings.

In addition, as a reminder, many Community members have requested that an icon or similar graphic be added to Community members' appearing in the Community in cases where they work in-house or remote officlally for oDesk (this includes "quest" contributors and other non-management roles). Such designations are needed so that members (clients and freelancers) can distinguish various roles e.g., gurus, leaders, etc,) from those that work officlally on behalf of oDesk.

QUESTIONS: Does oDesk trade publicly via a US based stock exchange, or is venture capital acquired thru private investments? In the former case, is oDesk subject to the "Sarbanes Oxley act 2002"? Albeit a grey area, are not the disclosures discussed herein required by the US FTC (similar to requirements for other US owned websites, blogs, etc.)? Has the official oDesk messaging system been SPAMMED? Whether yes or no to the previous question, is oDesk subject to PCI DSS Data Security Standards? Again, whether yes or no, are members' (clients and freelancers) confidential data (credit cards, etc.) stored on the same servers / systems as the oDesk core site and Community?


Please note that in the past, I have tried to obtain answers to many of my questions via non-open channels and my own research to no avail.... Please feel free to answer publicly or privately.


UPDATED May 1, 2015:  As of this date, based on oDesk replies in this thread, oDesk does not yet know the facts surrounding the main topic of this thread; hence no affiliation officially claimed by oDesk. ADDED Question: After further research, I must ask is Elance, oDesk, or both (or its owners, management, etc.) affiliated in any way with the website referenced in the message received via oDesk that this thread is about?


UPDATED May 1, 2015: Although my questions in this post are relevant to the issue(s) brought forward in this thread (e.g., questions involving official information from oDesk (core site and Community roles), disclosures, security, regulatory requirements (governmental, industry, and other requirements), and other pertinent questions), once again I have not received any replies from oDesk whether publicly or privately.

ADDED May 1, 2015: No sense in starting another thread regarding another issue relating to the oDesk messaging system, emails, and other information sent by oDesk: Today, I received a flood of emails from oDesk that were duplicates of emails about payment method conformations and withdrawal confirmations dating back from March 2010 to November 2012. Now, what [who] prompted that activity? Not me....


Being SPAMMED by oDesk? An attempt by a person or persons to flood personal email? Does the site use a firewall and filters to control both incoming and outgoing email and messenging? Site allows open mail relay perhaps? (nah, no one is that careless). Failure to adequately control these things could result in the site being blacklisted!

ADDED May 1, 2015: Regarding this thread and the website in question, although the social media and other Internet marketing methods are gray-hat at best, the site itself seems harmless and is just another of the many start-ups attempting to join those engaged in serving the freelance marketplace. If they have the financial resources needed to succeed, they might eventually become a real player in that market (My estimates: investment of $250+ and 3 years to ROI). Some of the writings on that site appear to have specifically targeted oDesk freelancers -- using examples of negative issues affecting freelancers yet without actually mentioning oDesk.

Ron aka LanWanMan

I received the message as well - this is the first spam message I've received in a direct message (as opposed to a spam job invitation) and also don't understand how someone with whom I've had no prior contact could this.


This is the second time I've gotten a message from them. The first one came to my personal email (although it's linked to oDesk) but it didn't seem to have a connection to oDesk.


The second one (just arrived today) was "via oDesk".


I'm wondering if someone is posting scam jobs in order to get email addresses. If you apply for the job, won't they have access to your email address? Although I'm not sure how they can send a message that's not connected to a job.

Lots of things on oDesk recently are annoying. Many are infuriating. This is unprecedented and deeply disturbing.




The system forwards emails to your email account, so I don't think they would have access to your email. Although it is disturbing that there is not a job post associated with it.


I did not get this but I am not available and I am set to private.


Possibly someone sending invites and their job got deleted? We all do have a contact us on our public pages as well.

re: "I did not get this but I am not available and I am set to private."


I was wondering why I didn't get the message either, but my availability setting is set to NOT available, so that probably explains it. My account is NOT set to private.


In any case, it is disturbing that anybody received this message. It definitely sounds like oDesk was hacked.

Suzanne: Kudos, good to know, "did not get this but I am not available and I am set to private."

That pretty well rules out the senders using scraping of the core site to determine their target audience based on predetermined criteria.

That leaves it an "inside job" possibly using multiple, bogus (throw away) client accounts and using either manual or semi-automated methods to determine their target audience with or without predetermined criteria before sending out the emails / messages.

Wild guess: If the core site uses a journal file type system (or equivalent logs), which extends to user input, maybe activities can be gleaned from such records. Of course, reversing activities whereby emails / messages have already been sent would not be an option. Still, such records could reveal exactly what the senders had done and how they did it.

Ron aka LanWanMan

I'm another lucky recipient of the email. I was about to click on the link in the email, then thought better of it. I did a bit of Googling, and did find the website. It appears to be legitimate, but the fact that someone managed to contact us through the oDesk messaging system is a bit alarming. I also discovered that the person who supposedly sent the email is a dancer.


And this brings up another concern. I've made it a habit to do a quick online check of every client who approaches me on oDesk. I've had several send invitations to interview who have turned out to be professional athletes, one disgraced UK educator, and now a professional dancer. It appears that people are posting fraudulent jobs using famous or semi-famous names. What's up with this??? Should I report each one? The most recent was just this week. He (if he was a he) had me jump through a few hoops, then came back and said he was "approaching the project in a different way", then hired someone else for the same job. This was the one who used the name of the educator. It's getting scary out here! Guess it pays to check.


That train has left the barn; overwhelming traffic hits the suspect's site like a DOS attack!

Ron aka LanWanMan

Me too.  I've now had 4 of the same email message coming from different people.  Very annoying!!  Please stop!!


Clueless, absolutely clueless...lol.... Did anyone sign-up?

Ron aka LanWanMan

Clueless? Maybe not. If Elance-oDesk was not behind the mysterious message, then, I suspect a person or persons created bogus accounts on oDesk in order to promote a new site competing with Elance-oDesk. After the messages were sent, the person or persons closed their oDesk accounts; hence, no job descriptions, member profiles, etc.


Another reason for oDesk to "vet" all new client and freelancer accounts; and to review all job descriptions before they are posted (although job postings were not the target of mis-use in this instance).

Ron aka LanWanMan

I received this same email 4 times in the last 6 hours, from 4 different people. Odesk should do something to stop it.

Hi Raluca,

We're working on it. Our team is investigating and will put a stop to it as soon as possible if it's something we can resolve.


I got it too.

If the multiple identical emails from non-existing people isn't enough warning, I did a little quick research when I got the first one. What I found doesn't bode well. It may not be conclusive evidence, but it certainly isn't anything reassuring! Then I received 4 more identical emails and, yup, glad I didn't blindly click there!


Here's what I found with just a very quick search:


1) According to scamadvisor.com the site is under 200 days old. The website location is in the US but the owner is using a service to hide their identity. 


2) Trustpilot.com has had three reviews posted in the last 2 days, none of which seem remotely authentic. They pretty much parrot things from the email and each other which tells me that someone is attempting to boost themselves there!


Bottom line? No, thanks. There's a reason I'm paranoid! 😄


I've attached a screencap of the trustpilot "reviews."


I haven't received one for a couple of hours, so hopefully that means that oDesk shut that down? Also hoping that oDesk does something to prevent this from happening again!


Happy freelancing all!

I received a similar message too, this afternoon. I just ignored it, but I really hope this thing gets fixed, since it's pretty annoying and, most of all, disturbing.

“Go then, there are other worlds than these.”
―Stephen King, The Gunslinger

For what it's worth, I've received it twice from 2 different senders. And maybe a month ago I received an email plugging the same site. 

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

Wow I am suprised so many people got it!


I am glad I posted this then, I hope something is done about this. 



Thanks everyone, and Thanks Valeria and Garnor for looking into it.




Has anyone determined (best guess) what if any criteria the senders of those emails / messages might be using to select their target audience? For instance, "Top Rated" only, those in specific job categories only, core site account longevity, and/or other criteria, or just randomly.

Ron aka LanWanMan

As a ''Top Rated'' frellancer, i feel a little upset that i didn't get at least one Private message advertising Freelancing site. Of course, its a joke! I am in the Market Research area. Oviously it's a person, who thinks ''out of the box'' Smiley Happy

Hi Vanya! (Kudos). Is your freelancer profile on the core site set to "private"? Just out of curiosity I'm trying to determine whether the senders targeted an audience based on criteria or just randomly.

Ron aka LanWanMan

Ronald T my profile is not set to '' private "!

Thank you for the additional information Vanya! (Kudos).

Ron aka LanWanMan

Ron T asked: Does oDesk trade publicly via a US based stock exchange, or is venture capital acquired thru private investments? In the former case, is oDesk subject to the "Sarbanes Oxley act 2002"? Albeit a grey area, are not the disclosuresdiscussed herein required by the US FTC (similar to requirements for other US owned websites, blogs, etc.)? Has the official oDesk messaging system been SPAMMED? Whether yes or no to the previous question, is oDesk subject to PCI DSS Data Security Standards? Again, whether yes or no, are members' (clients and freelancers) confidential data (credit cards, etc.) stored on the same servers / systems as the oDesk core site and Community?


Ron, oDesk or Elance or Elance-oDesk are not publicly traded companies. Publicly-traded companies are subject to very stringent reporting requirements. If Elance-oDesk was publicly traded, we could very easily look it up on Yahoo or Google finance, and they would be forced to publish their detailed quarterly and annual earnings, which clearly is not the case here.


oDesk's last round ($30M) was led by Benchmark. Other existing shareholders like Stripes Group, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Sigma West, T. Rowe Price and FirstMark Capital participated along.


Most companies are subject to SOX in the sense that they're not allowed to destroy evidence etc., but it doesn't apply in the sense you're referring to. 




EXCELLENT (I rarely uses all caps...lol....) answer Krisztina, kudos! Often when I post questions I already know the answers; however, I am interested in what others might have to say as well.

Although non-publicly traded companies are [typically?] not bound by the "Sarbanes Oxley act 2002," some of those not obligated to adhere to the requirements for accounting and information technology controls exercise good business sense and implement the controls anyway. It's this platform's controls (or lack thereof) for information technology that concern me the most.

All things considered, I can't imagine the platform ever going public. Moving headquarters to another country, yes. Going public in the US, no.

Ron aka LanWanMan



Request for clarification: Just out of curiosity, are members receiving these emails / messages via the core site messaging system only, the Community "private" messaging system only, or via both systems?

Ron aka LanWanMan

Upon checking, our Marketplace Quality Team has already taken action against the account of the client who sent this message. We have confirmed that the client is in violation of the oDesk Policy. Please be assured that we are investigating this matter further. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

We appreciate that you brought this matter to our attention. Please remain wary about this type of malicious activities. While the oDesk Marketplace Quality team works hard to find all inappropriate Job Postings, invitations and activities like this before you encounter them, we sometimes need to rely on your assistance to report anything suspicious.


For future reference, if you experience the same case, please don't hesitate to send a support ticket and let us know. Alternatively, when applicable, like in Job applications or invitations, should you encounter malicious or inappropriate activity, you may send a support ticket using the Flag as Inappropriate link, located at the upper right of every job posting and public profile at oDesk. Just select the link, fill out the form, and submit. This sends a ticket directly to a Marketplace Quality Specialist, who will investigate and take the appropriate measures they deem necessary.


oDesk Customer Support

Thank you Natasha! (Kudos). It was nice to see something meaningful from oDesk.

Ron aka LanWanMan

My research is complete. DS is strikingly similar to PPH. Gee, wonder why? Mr. "G"'s da'man...lol.... Now, does DS have the money behind it to make a go of it? I doubt it, but time will tell. At present, it's an under developed beta; a long way from any testing, even longer to launch time....

Ron aka LanWanMan

I feel so dumb. I clicked on the links because I thought it was an extension of oDesk, I had no idea it was a separate company until coming here and also getting an email from oDesk 24 hours after these emails were sent out, which seems super slow to me.


I am now worried that I may have been a victim of phishing and I am just feeling so dumb because I'm usually more careful and skeptical about things like this. Has oDesk been helpful in resolving this for anyone yet? Or finding our more answers?

I got one too.