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Upfront Option No Longer Available?

Community Guru
Has anyone noticed that when you apply for jobs, there is no longer an option to put an upfront percentage in your bid on some jobs. I find this really disturbing since now clients will expect to get work done without a failsafe. I am not sure what oDesk is up to, but is is going downhill at a rather rapid pace.
Community Leader
You are absolutely right. I just checked some random fixed price job posting and I cannot determine any upfront payment neither. I sure hope that this is another one of those bugs appearing lately. I do hope so. If not, I will ask the client to pay an upfront payment via PayPal or to pay me directly via an external payment provider. Do I care about the TOS if oDesk doesn't care about us freelancers? Somehow I have the feeling that they want to get rid of us.
I am glad it is not just me, for a while I thought I simply did not have enough coffee this morning. oDesk only makes up 20% of my freelance client base, but it is still an important part of my structure. I don't think it is a bug really, perhaps they are slowly phasing it out. Personally, I dont mind telling a client in the interview that they will have to give an upfront, but placing in your bid was very helpful in that a client knew before the interview that an upfront is expected from the contractor. As for going outside of oDesk, I think that is extreme, and will result in your being suspended. I don't think that is a good idea at all. If anything, it might be best to just simply insist on hourly contracts or state in your profile/coverletter that an percentage upfront is required.
Well, how would they know? Considering the fact that oDesk is not even listening to their folks in their own forums, there is a pretty low possibility that they find about about freelancers getting paid elsewhere. Sure, this would be the most extreme "solution", I agree. As for hourly contracts, I think it won't work out for each and every type of work. I can just speak on behalf of translators and we rarely get hourly contracts. Clients pay per word or per page and not per hour. That wouldn't make sense for them and I can understand it.
It isnt about how they would find out, it is more about being an honest freelancer regardless of how the system is. I understand about not all jobs fitting into the hourly mold, but as a writer, most of my contracts now are on a hourly setting. I dont track when I write, but during the interview I negotiate with the client about the total rate, and divide that by X amount of hours. When I turn in the work, I manually enter the hours so the payment is made without their imput. Of course, this goes back to having trust with the client ect. It is just an option.
Wow, I love that concept! I'm not really sure if oDesk would accept this is "hourly work", but it's a pretty clever way to sum up hours and to make it more comfortable for your clients. I'll try that the next times. But is it really that easy to tell the client to switch to an hourly contract? Most of my clients have quick works which can be done in 1-2h, if not less. Telling them to change to an hourly contract would seem rather complicated for such fast work. I'll immediately try this system with one of my long term clients. I'm sure he'll accept. Really, this idea is amazing. I've never even thought about doing it like that. Thanks a lot!
I just checked by doing what you did and yup, no more upfront option. This site is becoming more and more of a scammers' paradise. All new hourly contracts I've started since late last year has that money back badge, and now the fixed price jobs won't have upfront fees? As someone who has been cheated by my client (who had been my client several times before), it just seems there is no sense using the site anymore with all the scamming and cheating clients are doing these days. Also, have you guys noticed that we can't read past feedbacks of other contractors to prospective clients? We won't have an idea what kind of clients they are, since the stars does not really provide enough data. Near zero protection for freelancers, I wonder what's next.

❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄
OK, now I'm completely mindblown. Really, we cannot see the feedback other contractors gave their clients. Why the heck am I actually giving my clients feedback at all then? It just does not make any sense at all anymore.
So its confirmed. I thought it was just me who can't see feedbacks when applying or responding to job invites :( Looks like contractors are getting more and more screwed here lately. Thankfully, I got my own site up plus only use oDesk for a percentage of my clients base. I'm still sad though because I got introduced to freelancing at this site.

❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄
Indeed. Well, I don't own any page and oDesk is pretty much 100% of my income. Am I Bad Luck Brian now? I got registered at some agencies here and there, but honestly nothing is easier than oDesk so far. Even Elance seems not to work out (don't ask me why).
I've just put up my site up a bit over a month ago and I got a few clients already who found me via web search. Wise impulse decision for the new year, with everything going on now. I've checked your profile and wow! 46 jobs in two months! Impressive! Lets just hope this testing of (insane) new features stops and things will go back to normal again. Elance sucks for me as a contractor but we hire people there and the hiring process is better than here, no spammers. is meh oDesk WAS the best site I've joined as a contractor. Currently what's keeping me occupied are past clients who liked my work and their referrals.

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I raised a ticket about the feedback to client not showing. Well, it's still a ticket after two weeks.
Ace Contributor
Just checked for upfront option availability. Most fixed price jobs still have it available. Only ones where this option disappeared, were jobs posted by clients with unverified payment method. As for feedback, situation looks strange. For some clients, comments are visible, for some they are not.
The postings I checked are by previous clients..and no upfront option (checked 4 new postings by previous clients a few hours ago).

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i think odesk just input a new option that can help the employer to make sure not to put any upfront payment. so there will be more scammer. and odesk support are now being slower than before.
I contacted CS about the feedback. They told me it's a temporary system issue and they are working on it.
Thank you for the update Natasa 🙂

❄❄❄ Just A Forum Contributor --- This isn't against forum guidelines ❄❄❄
You're welcome Dianne! 🙂 With so many things going on right now, we need to keep each other updated here.
Community Guru
oDesk is moving towards an escrow type service so that clients don't have to pay an upfront. The jobs you've seen are probably their move towards that. There's a thread about it in the News forum. Was their any indication on the job proposal that money would be held in escrow?
Nope, no hint of escrow anything, its why its disturbing.

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I recently completed a fixed price job that had the escrow feature. I don't think that's what o'desk is calling it exactly but it's basically what it is. It was just a small job but the funds were already set aside for me before I even started working. There was no indication that it would be an escrow situation until after the contract started. I wasn't worried about asking for an upfront payment in this case though because it was for one of my regular clients. I think that it worked out pretty well. I could see how you could be concerned about new clients though, particularly since I had no idea that the payment would be in escrow until after the contract started.