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Re: What if most of us make more money with JSS?

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
1 of 25

Serious question here. Just throwing this out there...

 

What if we all (or most of us, anyway) make more money with the change to Job Success Scores being shown at the top of profiles and star feedback only shown alongside individual jobs? Would you still be against it?

 

Stay with me here for a minute...

 

The announcement about this has provoked a mostly negative response. But you all know that despite protests, this move is still going through.

 

Mathematically speaking, there are only two possible future events with regards to the total amount of money earned by contractors:

a) it will increase

b) it will decrease

 

(Neither direction will necessarily be provable as a direct result of the change to JSS-only, but let's assume the change is big enough that Upwork assumes their JSS change is tied to change in revenue.)

 

In all the protests, I have not seen anybody speculate that the total amount of money earned by contractors will decrease. Upwork's theory is that the total will *increase*, and that their revenue will thus increase.

 

So let's assume for a moment that all the criticisms of the Job Success Score are correct:

- it is not transparent

- it is unfair

- it rewards the wrong kind of behavior

- it punishes contractors for things out of their control

- etc.

 

But what if all of us (or most of us, anyway) end up earning more money?

 

Let's say 90% of contractors end up earning more money...

 

And let's say you're one of those people. You end up making 25% more money per month...

 

Are you still against the Job Score, or do the arguments you invoke against it become outweighed by the extra money earned?

 

Is there some esoteric value to the transparency of the star-average feedback score, or some value inherent in whatever else you value in it over the Job Success Score, that you value over increased profits?

 

I DO NOT THINK that profit and money outweigh everything, or even many things. But my personal opinion is that the star feedback and the job success score are not so different on a moral scale, and that they're really just computer algorithms, not human rights or something. So if one works better for us, then it would be the one to use.

 

And, yes, I realize this doesn't address the question of why Upwork doesn't simply keep both of them. I think Upwork genuinely believes having ONLY one (JSS) will increase profits over having both. They're a profit-seeking company, and I don't think they're doing this for some deepset philosophical reason. I think they're doing this to make more money, and I think there is no way for Upwork to really make more money without contractors as a whole making more money.

 

The converse proposition here is that if moving to Job Success Score ONLY at the top of profile pages causes Upwork profits to DECREASE measurably... don't you think they'll go back to the way things are now?

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Community Guru
Irene B Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
2 of 25

In any 'normal' job environment, one's performance is assessed according to a given, TRANSPARENT, criteria. This enables the person who is evaluated to jack up their performance in the areas lacking. Please note the use of the word 'transparent' here. Upwork, as a company, had decided to also assess performance of people who do NOT work for them, but who use the platform as a place through which they find work. Upwork, for this service, gets paid. If Upwork has decided to 'rate' performance, it stands to reason their rating criteria should be transparent...which it is not...they have admitted this on more than one occasion.

 

This, I feel, is the single, largest flaw in their strategy.

 

Having said that, I feel people are jumping on the JS score bandwagon and blaming it for not making money. To these I say: what did you join Upwork for? To earn a badge, or to make money? Personally, I am here to make money, and that is my prime focus. Anything else is a bonus.

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Community Guru
Scott E Member Since: Jul 26, 2015
3 of 25

I don't think they said that total earnings would increase. It was more something along the lines of top performing freelancers will earn more. Which I'm assuming will be at the expense of non-performing freelancers. I.e. the total earnings might be the same, it'll just be distributed differently. 

 

That's not to say it won't increase revenue indirectly. More top performers completing more of the work should result in a better client experience, which in turn, should result in more positive word of mouth and a possible increase in the number of clients starting repeat projects or using the site to post more jobs.

 

You're right though... this could be a good thing and it;s a bit too early to say whether it's a good idea or not. JSS could be the car and everyone is saying they want to keep their horses before they've given these new fangled cars a try. Time will tell. But as you say, if it turns out just showing JSS results in Upwork losing money, I'm sure they'll change it quick sharp!

"Welcome, humans. I'm ready for you!"
- Box, Logan's Run (1976)
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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 25

@Scott E wrote:

I don't think they said that total earnings would increase. It was more something along the lines of top performing freelancers will earn more. Which I'm assuming will be at the expense of non-performing freelancers. I.e. the total earnings might be the same, it'll just be distributed differently. 

 !


 Yup. That's what I expect to happen. The masses in the middle will likely not be affected significantly.  The top lot will earn some more, at the expense of the bottom lot which will earn less.  Which is, in itself, not a bad thing as top freelancers doing more work and not-so-great ones doing less leads to a better average client experience overall which leads to more business. However, it will also attract more freelancers.

 

Traditionally the main problem has always been masses low quality low price freelancers and low budget clients competing in a race to the murky bottom of the freelancing pond. Those were creating the least revenue and caused the most trouble and cost and damage to reputation.

 

Introducing a minimum rate was one mechanism to squeeze the bottom freelancers out of contention and make the site unattractive for the $ 1.00 an hour clients.  I remember them all screaming "I WILL WORK ELSEWHERE" and "I WILL TAKE ALL MY BUSINESS AND ALL MY $ 1.00 AN HOUR FREELANCERS ELSEWHERE!!" and thinking:

 

"Dude, that is exactly the idea................"

 

Then do we all remember how they closed lots of low performing freelancer and client acounts last year? Another move to "clean up" the bottom of the pond.

 

This is another attempt to "get rid of" the bottom dwellers (freelancers and clients alike) - which again I have no problem with but the wretched algorithm needs fixing before it can reliably do that and  reliably get rid of the right ones.................

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Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
5 of 25

If I offered freelance services from a bricks and mortar building and I waited for clients to find me through advertising or other means, then these clients would have no way of knowing if my services are reliable and good. I could ask them to leave feedback on yelp or other sites but that's no guarantee either that the reviews are correct. My competition could also go there and leave bad reviews.

 

I have to depend on Upwork to provide my clients with a way to trust me. I feel the Job Sucess Score is more accurate than the stars. But, we're not losing the stars. 

 

Now a client can see that 98% of my clients are happy with my work and then can scan past jobs and see a multitude of 5 star feedback which helps to inspire more confidence in hiring me. I think seeing my recent star feedback is more accurate than an "overall" feedback score of 4.97.

 

I think we're getting the best of both but just shown in a different way that better reflects who I am and the work I do.

 

I'm looking forward to the new system.

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Community Guru
Tanzeel Z Member Since: May 26, 2015
6 of 25

Overall! I liked your message. A company takes a step to increase revenue. It is obvious that the Upwork wants to move forward and will take steps to achieve that "10 billion $ mark". Still, the changes are coming so quickly. The website interface creates problems and the communication system is not effective. 

 

Many freelancers will not be frustrated if Upwork can clearly provide answers to their questions. They just give us "robotic" answers. 

 

If Job Score helps win more clients, show us some real-life examples.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 25

First of all I also absolutely hate the change from feedback score average to JSS. I would prefer to keep both, and make JSS more accurate.

 

I don't, however, expect it to make any difference, up or down, to what I (personally) earn.

 

You also missed the point that mathematically speaking, there are three outcomes: It can go up, it can go down, and it can stay (roughly) the same. Obviously it's unlikely to stay "exactly" the same but within normal parameters / for all intents and practical purposes "the same!"

 

I also can not see how it could possibly be the cause of 90% of people earning more, let alone 25% more, that really doesn't make sense. That would mean it would be the cause of more business being available to 90% of freelancers, at a higher rate, and even if it was a great idea, it's not going to CREATE much more business being available to the freelancers. The main effect it will have is that it will make a difference to how the available business will be distributed among the available freelancers on the site.

 

It will likely not significally affect the earnings of most people, in other words their earnings will be about  the same as they would be if the change didn't happen. So the one mathematical outcome you didn't take into consideration at all will likely be what it will do to the majority, ie it will make no (significant) difference to what they will earn.

 

Some will be affected: Those whose job success score is more positive than their star rating (Say someone has a 4.7 star rating but 100% JSS) may (!) end up winning a few more contracts, those whose JSS is significantly lower (Say they have a 5 star average but a JSS of 80%) will likely win less contracts than had the change not happened.

 

The idea that this change by itself would be the cause of 90% of people earning more, let alone 25% more makes no sense at all. The change (itself) will not create 25% of extra business being available to the same number of freelancers.

 

If there were an increase of 25% in business available PER ACTIVE FREELANCER (which won't happen as the revenue increase will be caused by more freelancers doing more work for more clients,) it won't have been caused by the change from star rating to JSS.

 

If 90% of freelancers were to earn more, let alone 25% more (which I think is a pretty wild idea in itself) it would not be because of this change, but because there is more and better paying work out there. Which I expect there will be, BUT there will also be more freelancers competing for that work.

 

For me personally I can't see it making any difference at all. The only way I could, at the moment, earn 25% more was if I increased my rate by 25% because I am now completely booked out for the forseeable future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ace Contributor
Karolis K Member Since: Sep 5, 2015
8 of 25

I am a newcomer here so please pardon if I sound overly naive. But I though I will share an opinion as someone who is not overly attached to neither JSS nor 5-star+feedback systems.

First thing that comes to my mind - 5-star rating system on each project is really a flawed metric. It has a feeling of being objective, since both the client and the contractor cannot see each others reviews before they submit theirs, but in reallity it seems to be far from objective. Just yesterday I saw a guy ranting in these forums for getting a "4" star rating for communication. And he was up in arms asking whats wrong with clients these days. If getting a "4" in one catagory of ratings is so unexpected then what purpose coud that kind of rating system serve? If I was a client I would not trust it.

So in my mind making an alternative is a much needed change.

Now many people here seem to detest the lack of transparency behind the new JSS rating. What kind of transparency do we have in mind? Do we want the rating system to be clearly understood so that it's open for gaming? I am actually against it being transparent in that way.

Now of course wether upwork comes up with a sane JSS metric is another question. But hurting the freelancers and having less contracts is not what they are aiming for here. So at least I have no doubt that they will try to do the best they can to not hurt the freelancers who are bringing profit to this system.

In the end what speaks most for a freelancer is the past work that they done. And I feel portfolio items and links to stackoverflow/devianart/github/blogs in cover letters will make a biggest impact and impression on a client. So if you have done great work and have something to show for it then it most likely is above and beyond any JSS or star rating scores.

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Ace Contributor
Karolis K Member Since: Sep 5, 2015
9 of 25

I just realized I wrote all this text without directly hitting the main topic of the post - can JSS bring more money to freelancers? And if that happens - is it still bad and is it moral?

For me the morality on this questions stops early. I simply hold that the owner of some object can do whatever he feels neccessary with the object that he owns. So the owners of the upwork have the right to change it in whatever way they see fit. As long as we are free to leave when we don't like the changes - it's fine.

Now regarding the more money from freelancers I agree with Preston that this can absolutely happen. We as freelancers here are like the product of upwork. And clients, well, they are their clients. Upwork sells our services to the clients for a fee of 10%.

Right now they have a 5-star system to rank us from best to worst. But (in my opinion) this score is deeply flawed. When client gets a freelancer with a 5-star score he is thinking he is getting the best upwork has to offer him. If he gets disappointed in that - he leaves. And when clients leave our whole system looses money. When system looses money freelancers loose money as well, since there is no way for the money to get into the system except through the gate of a working freelancer.

So more satisfied clients -> Higher chance of them comming back -> More money in the system -> More $ for freelancers.

Just sharing my opinion on this.

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Community Guru
Ela K Member Since: Feb 9, 2015
10 of 25

@Karolis K wrote:

 

Just yesterday I saw a guy ranting in these forums for getting a "4" star rating for communication. And he was up in arms asking whats wrong with clients these days. If getting a "4" in one catagory of ratings is so unexpected then what purpose coud that kind of rating system serve? If I was a client I would not trust it.



I agree with many things you have written but this.

 

The post wasn't a rant about getting 4 stars out of 5 - the important bit was why that client had marked him down on availability.

 

Which was not related to the project itself but due to the freelancer not showing up as "online" all the time when the client checked the online status feature provided by the new messaging system (for all I know he may have been in a completely different time zone). Even though he admitted to being happy with the freelancer's availability to him and delivering within deadlines. 

 

Big difference & not good at all IMHO.

 

 

 

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