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"Connects" - Why They Are Hurting Freelancers & Potential Opportunities

digitalattorney
Ace Contributor
Jon-Paul R Member Since: Dec 15, 2010
1 of 24

I've spent a number of days in this forum now discussing the problem with "Connects" and I now want to bring together the accumulated thoughts and positions I've come to on the issue as  a whole.

 

Initially, I came here because after finishing some recent jobs it was time to look for more work. I immediately found that the new "Connects" system severely limited my ability to scout POTENTIAL contracts. With only 30 "Connects" to employers per month, I can ONLY realistically apply to contracts that seem like sure shots now,  but that IS NOT how I became a 5 Star, Top Rated oDesk Freelancer, with nearly 2,000 oDesk hours and a 100% Job Completion rate, and it is not how I have been able to make a living on oDesk.

 

No longer can I realistically step out on a limb and try to enter writing markets where I have no prior experience - without eventually paying oDesk for more applications. The problems with "Connects" goes far beyond that though.

 

Job hunting is marketing game like anything else and it's not solely based on qualification. When I'm looking for positions I often have to withdraw applications weekly. Why? Because of non-serious job postings. Sure they look great because I only select buyers with experience and at least 4.5 Star rating. No newbies, though I did break my own rule recently and gave a new odesk employer a try and things went a bit south... Anyway, back to the first point. So I wait a week for the buyer to respond and if no answer, then I have to dump (withdraw) the application (unresponsive client) as to keep my 25 applications available to put in elsewhere and potentially meet far more serious buyers. Can I do that now? No. Use a "Connect" and it's gone.

 

You meet an employer that has a quality looking post. He wants a 500-word article to promote his product... You say, "OK looks good, I'll give him a shot". Next thing you know, you interview with the guy and come to find that in addition to the article, he wants you to get him on the front page of the local newspaper... Sure it's a sarcastic example of a serious issue the commonly happens in various ways. Where employers are not clear on all they want and we end up screwed out of "Connects".

 

Another one.... "Hourly - Expert ($$$)" See that anywhere? Meaningless... I know my rates aren't the lowest, nor really mid range for what I do. People respect my work though and my profile proves it, so I go after the "Hourly - Expert ($$$)". The guy ends up hiring a person for .50 (fifty cents) an hour... That's "Hourly - Expert ($$$)".. Come on... There go 2 "Connects".

 

The list goes on and on...

 

I and my family of 4 really hope that oDesk gets this message and understands these issues severely limit my ability to compete. If the problem is really about getting the right freelancers in front of the right employers (as some people say it is), then there is a way to do that - at no additional charge.

 

Simply tidy up the current filtering system that already recognizes where people are, what their ranking is, etc. and use it to not let people apply to positions that don't meet the employer's criteria. If the buyer wants only people with 4.5 stars +, 100 hours, North America only, etc. then give them what they ask for. .. Sure they currently get such people, but they also get people from all over the world, with any rank, and any number of hours, etc applying as well. Stop that and give they buyers what they request. Are we to say that an employer doesn't know what they want when theyy request a North American, 4.5 star and above, 100+hour candidate??? That is the problem, and the solution is not leaving this unfixed and implementing a new system of  "Connects" that charges me $2 per application for anything beyond 30. Just look at all the reasons I gave that show how unfair this is.

 

When it comes down to it, truly Connects are only hurting even the best of Freelancers oDesk, and I'm currently proof of that.

 

Kindest regards,
Jon-Paul R.

ltolentino
Active Member
Luningning T Member Since: Jan 13, 2009
2 of 24

Well said, Jon-Paul R. I have the same sentiments as you do. Connects are hurting freelancers, limiting our chances.

ago_g
Community Guru
Santiago G Member Since: Mar 10, 2015
3 of 24

@ Jon

 

The idea has potential. Quite a lot.

 

The question quickly becomes and applies to both of us and many others in the same situation. What happens when a "good" client uses that filter and specifies the North American option. Both of us are only IN the Philippines. We're not FROM here (Massachusetts in my case). But our profiles don't specify that.

 

When I have spotted the North American option in the current filter(s), it always shows mine as not from there when I check out the job post. I think that filter might catch both of us and others that are either here or in other countries but really are from the North America. Yes, the idea is to specify for x whatever reason(s). But we and others would never get a chance to even apply despite what any of us are capable of and where we really are from.

 

As someone that has run into vanishing acts and 1 attempted scam so far, I'm well aware and have posted in other topics that the connect system simply doens't work for everybody. Sure, there ARE some that caught some luck, but all in all, it wasn't that big of a group. They're not showing up in the forums about it anyways.

 

Other than that one question, the idea is a good one.

battershall-ramo
Community Guru
Ramon B Member Since: Jan 11, 2015
4 of 24

No it's a terrible one. There's too many clients that think the only native speakers come from America as it is. There is only one country where the inhabitants can truly be considered 'native' speakers, and that's England.

digitalattorney
Ace Contributor
Jon-Paul R Member Since: Dec 15, 2010
5 of 24

@Ramon B wrote:

No it's a terrible one. There's too many clients that think the only native speakers come from America as it is. There is only one country where the inhabitants can truly be considered 'native' speakers, and that's England.


 Ramon, when I, as a businessman, say I want a person from Los Angeles, that has lived life there, to write me a story about life on the streets of Los Angeles, I don't want to see natives from Germany, that have never stepped foot out of Germany applying to my job. When I, as a buyer, say I want contractors with a track record for excellent performance (let's just say 4 stars and up) to work for me, I don't expect to get 100 applications from 2 Star contractors. When I, as a buyer, say I want someone that has shown diligence and a consistent work performance and set my criteris as people that have 500+ hours, I don't expect to see an application from a guy/gal on oDesk that just registered today and hasn't worked an oDesk hour in their life. The way things now stand, when a buyers creates a job, he/she sees ALL the unwanted I mentioned.

 

Listen, I live in the Philippines. I moved here 5 years ago from CA,USA. I'll be the first to tell you that the stricter filtering would hurt me some, but if one of the issue oDesk is trying to fix that has brought about this new "Connects" system is that they want to improve the buyer experience, then don't leave stricter filtering undone.

 

Now, again yes. I will miss out on some opportunities, but I've been on oDesk since 2010 and I personally have not been a SPAM freak of any sort that's constantly crossing boundaries buyers have set. If they want someone in France, I leave the contract alone and don't apply. If they want someone in Gemany, the same thing. Still, I have been realatively successful on oDesk . Why, because I could market myself freely without having to pay for job applications - till now.

 

Now I am limited to only 30 applications per month, no matter whether I cross those buyer lines or not (which as I said I dont). I already pointed out how I could use my 25 app limit per day in order to market myself effectively, now though, I have no hope of that. Sure I get people sending me offers, but now I have to wait for those people, if they ever continue to come, because I ran out of  "Connects"? Because I put in 30 applications? In a month? Just look at all the reasons I gave as to how "Connects" are redicuolousy used up! It's absurd?

 

So my point is this. If oDesk really wans to improve the buyer experience, then do what I said. Enable stricter filtering. Hek, the buyers can change their criteria at anytime if they feel they're not getting the people they want, but at least I can continue to put in applcation after application on jobs where I do fit in. Which incidentally is most contracts I've notice, by the way. With the way the "Connects" system is estalished though, regardless whether I'm a perfect match for the job or not, if I already put in 30 apps for the month, I'm paying $2 for a mere application? To meet any one of the myriad of scenarios I posed that are going to commonly waste those $2 on a regular basis?

 

So the reason I progpose stricter filtering is because oDesk is claiming a change has to be meade to improve the buyer experience, and "Connects" is an atrocity.

Stricter Filtering - and apply as much as many jobs as you want per month and increase your chances of landing one?

 

"Connects" - Apply to 30 jobs per month, pay $2 for every app after 30, and hope you get a job somewhere along the line?

 

I'll take stricter filtering.

digitalattorney
Ace Contributor
Jon-Paul R Member Since: Dec 15, 2010
6 of 24

@Santiago G wrote:

@ Jon

 

The idea has potential. Quite a lot.

 

The question quickly becomes and applies to both of us and many others in the same situation. What happens when a "good" client uses that filter and specifies the North American option. Both of us are only IN the Philippines. We're not FROM here (Massachusetts in my case). But our profiles don't specify that.


 Yes stricter filtering has great potential Santiago, and yes it has its downside as well, but I will reply to Ramon and include for you my reason to have the negatives that come along with stricter filtering vs. the negatives that come with "Connects" (at least as the "Connects" system now stand (contact 30 employers per month for free, $2 for each additional)).

kugrin
Community Guru
Krisztina U Member Since: Aug 7, 2009
7 of 24

The thing is, the filters don't work. I looked for an Eastern European dev, and was presented nothing but candidates from a completely different country that is not even close to the continent of Europe, much less Eastern Europe. The same exact thing happened when I looked for someone in North America. So the last thing oDesk wants to do is to hide or not hide applicants based on dysfunctional filters.

digitalattorney
Ace Contributor
Jon-Paul R Member Since: Dec 15, 2010
8 of 24

@Krisztina U wrote:

The thing is, the filters don't work. I looked for an Eastern European dev, and was presented nothing but candidates from a completely different country that is not even close to the continent of Europe, much less Eastern Europe. The same exact thing happened when I looked for someone in North America. So the last thing oDesk wants to do is to hide or not hide applicants based on dysfunctional filters.


 Krisztina it's very easy for oDesk to give you only contractors from whatever location you pick. The fact that they don't is not because they can't.

kugrin
Community Guru
Krisztina U Member Since: Aug 7, 2009
9 of 24

@Jon-Paul R wrote:

@Krisztina U wrote:

The thing is, the filters don't work. I looked for an Eastern European dev, and was presented nothing but candidates from a completely different country that is not even close to the continent of Europe, much less Eastern Europe. The same exact thing happened when I looked for someone in North America. So the last thing oDesk wants to do is to hide or not hide applicants based on dysfunctional filters.


 Krisztina it's very easy for oDesk to give you only contractors from whatever location you pick. The fact that they don't is not because they can't.


I am very sure it can be done, but I am not convinced that oDesk can do it. See the screenshot below.

 

 

digitalattorney
Ace Contributor
Jon-Paul R Member Since: Dec 15, 2010
10 of 24

@Krisztina U wrote:

@Jon-Paul R wrote:

@Krisztina U wrote:

The thing is, the filters don't work. I looked for an Eastern European dev, and was presented nothing but candidates from a completely different country that is not even close to the continent of Europe, much less Eastern Europe. The same exact thing happened when I looked for someone in North America. So the last thing oDesk wants to do is to hide or not hide applicants based on dysfunctional filters.


 Krisztina it's very easy for oDesk to give you only contractors from whatever location you pick. The fact that they don't is not because they can't.


I am very sure it can be done, but I am not convinced that oDesk can do it. See the screenshot below. 


@ @ Krisztina

 

Krisztina if oDesk can tell me what percentage of contractors supposedly put in x number of applications per month, can forge a system that tracks the hours of thousands of people and pays them on a consistent schedule every week, they surely  can return you a search query for people from Argentina that applied for your job - if they wanted to.

 

It's a multimillion dollar business Krisztina.  Trust me, the issue is not whether oDesk can filter your results, it's that they don't. Plain and simple... You need to question that. Not their ability. 

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