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Web scraping, email harvesting and site cloning, it may well be illegal

Community Leader
Kim R Member Since: Apr 14, 2013
1 of 6
A lot of jobs offered here go along the lines of: - I need 100,000+ email address, phone numbers scraped from websites in the ? industry - Download all images and products from the xyz site and upload to my ecommerce engine - Build me a site that works just like xyz.com This sort of work can breach several laws in the area of privacy, copyright, intellectual property and other area. Linkedin has even sued people who harvest contacts from them http://www.webmasterworld.com/LinkedIn/4635962.htm. I would suggest freelancers to be very wary of accepting this type of work. oDesk does allow 'flag as inappropriate' on all jobs. I think the few categories for this need to be extended to include - cloning - phishing - copyright breach - data harvesting
Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
2 of 6
There's a flag for fraud/phishing.
Community Leader
Kim R Member Since: Apr 14, 2013
3 of 6
Forgot they had phishing covered. Would be interested to know if the legal section of oDesk sees this as important. Would have thought a thorough reporting mechanism was needed to guard against possible law suits. A competitor starting with g has this covered :-)
Community Guru
Tony H Member Since: Nov 10, 2011
4 of 6
Until oDesk starts approving postings before they go live, this is an issue that will continue to grow, among others, that will contribute to a long and slow demise of the quality here. It's already very apparent, and they have had a very long time to recognize it and make adjustments. Unfortunately their adjustments seem to add to the problem. people have posted on the forums over and over for at least the past coupe years I've been here and nothing has been done. maybe it just doesn't make financial sense for them in the moment to hire people who check posts and approve them.. but in the long run, I seriously don't feel oDesk is going to turn around and become a platform for the more professional freelancers and clients. At the moment they have a monopoly of their chosen demographic... which is great. (Claps hands in recognition for that) However, I don't feel it's sustainable in the long run. Reputation will eventually get worse and it will come back to bite them in the butt in the years to come. Customer support issue will raise due to these types of problems, and that will eat away at their bottom line. It will become an unstoppable force forcing them to add basic operational costs to counter lost profits from responsible clients and freelancers. Until they address the root problem, the current solution will only slow down the inevitable. I rubbed the magic crystal ball & consulted a fortune teller for this theory btw... so I know it's accurate, lol. At the end of the day, they have built a huge monster. Perhaps one they can no longer control... which is why I feel it was a very good idea for eLance to step in and buy oDesk. Let's see what eLance does with it in the future. Hopefully they come up with a cost effective solution to this growing problem
Community Leader
Kim R Member Since: Apr 14, 2013
5 of 6
I would have thought that adding more categories to the 'Report a Project' link would be trivial to bring in and help to diffuse up any future legal problems from a dodgy project. Also, if they just brought in some sensible limits like: - $8/hr or $25 minimum per project - small joining fee for clients it would really help to reduce the low margin/high maintenance type of projects and associated disputes.
Community Guru
Tony H Member Since: Nov 10, 2011
6 of 6
Yeah, it's a tough one for sure. They also need to maintain a distinct brand over eLance, so these minimums for this or that seems to have as much of a negative than positive impact. Who knows if they will change, but for now they have managed (by reputation anyways) to keep the lower end of the job market on oDesk and mid.higher on eLance. If they impose too many regulations here that keep the low end away... they will not only lose a percentage of that market but also blend too much into their sister company offering. Who knows what they want to do, maybe just roll with the punches and let the industry show them the path? Owning two companies that serve the same market is a very smart tactic as well if executed well. Personally, I kinda gave up on using the platforms to find work, and turned the frustrations of freelancers and clients into another opportunity Smiley Happy
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