Eric, the low feedback doesn't surprise me. I used my feedback removal perk for the first time a few days ago, after a 3.1 star feedback. Unlike you, most communication was off platform, so there's nothing support could do even if I chose to contact them. But at least you got paid; that's the main value Upwork provides. The occasional difficult client is an unavoidable hazard at Upwork, and I suspect at most other freelancer sites as well.
I agree with you, Eric.
I have worked before on a contract and did not get paid for it because it was manually added hours. The funny thing is that if I did get paid, Upwork would still get their cut. In exchange for what exactly? payment protection which I did not get?
Even in fixed price contracts, where the client places the money in escrow, it is not really much of a protection. The client can still choose to file a dispute. Upwork does not and cannot enforce a solution. They only suggest one. It is up to the client and the freelancer to accept. If they want real enforceable arbitration, freelances must pay an arbitration fee which is quite high. This begs the question again, what is Upwork taking its 20% for? payment protection? what protection?
While upwork does invest in marketing to bring clients here, most clients are looking for cheap labor. Very very few clients here are looking to pay well for people's work.
Upwork's management is not doing a good job. It is losing money. Not even charging freelancers 20 percent helped. Their most recent initiative aiming to charge freelancers for applying to jobs (absurd) reeks with desperation.
I am following their stock closely. I would not buy it though.