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Re: Can people *buy* profile approvals?!

Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
1 of 30

I've recommended Upwork to a number of software engineers and developers I know over the years. To my surprise most of these people's profiles were not approved after signup. I didn't think too much of it because I believed Upwork's email and figured a bit of optimization and/or market shift might help. Nobody was solely counting on Upwork to freelance anyway.

 

But today I just heard of someone else who got their profile approved by paying a third person to get it approved. This seems pretty scammy but somehow it worked?! AFAIK Upwork does not accept payments for profile approvals. But this person offers profile approvals as a service, seemingly does not change profile text but somehow gets profiles through the system, and his only instructions to the person whose profile he got approved were: don't bid more than 2x a day.

 

1. Is there something wrong with Upwork's system that's holding up qualified (in this case software engineers') profiles so long, people start taking desperate measures?

 

2. Is there some way or has some way been devised to game the system, whether in collaboration with someone working in the team or through an algorithmic exploit in the profile approval pipeline? (Let's say if some categories/tags lead to a lower threshold of approval than others and this person changed the profile completely to focus on those before reverting back after the profile was approved--I don't know if this is what happened but I'm speculating because I can't imagine any other way such a practice could survive.)

 

3. Does Upwork have some email notification system in place when massive changes are made to a person's profile, such as when an entire bio/headline are replaced with a new one? This seems like a simple and basic enough security check--wouldn't bother people legitimately overhauling a profile, but would give people who hire these "professional profile approvers" some more insight into how this approval was obtained, not to mention give Upwork a way to keep an eye on possible profile hacks etc? I have a feeling for a lot of good reasons Upwork probably does not want to be known as a marketplace where people can pay money under the table to get in.

Community Guru
Alexander N Member Since: Dec 28, 2008
2 of 30

 

I know quite a few young and honestly barely capable developers who recently started on Upwork. Most of them struggle getting jobs, right, but i haven't heard of anyone just being declined approval. If anything, it may suggest that the approval system is too lax, not too strict.

 

If people can't get their profiles approved they are doing something badly wrong.

 

And for sure, someone who takes your money to 'push you through the system' on Upwork is simply a scammer.

 

Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
3 of 30

Honestly, for this person's sake and my own faith in the integrity of the platform, I hope that's the case because he's from a struggling background otherwise and the work experience here can significantly help him both financially and professionally. I'd rather have him waste what little money he has than lose the chance to work here at all (such as might happen if the person he paid did something in violation of ToS to get the profile approved) so I hope it was just dumb luck/coincidence that his profile got approved when it did (nothing on it seems to have changed). And I hope other people don't fall prey to it. Though the case for security notifications still stands, regardless of this being a coincidence. There's no way to know what/when major changes are made to our profiles.

Community Guru
Alexander N Member Since: Dec 28, 2008
4 of 30

As for messing up with categories or tags, i am sure these are irrelevant. About 3 years ago, after already making $500K+ on Upwork, i randomly stumbled on the fact that i never set any category for my profile, just none at all (immediately corrected that). My tags were also totally far from what i was actually doing, just because i always had too much job, a few times working 100-hour weeks, to bother looking into my profile, and i didn't change them for years (seem to be in line now).

Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
5 of 30

Hi Fatima,

Paying to somehow "acquire" a profile that belongs to another person and has been approved would be a serious violation of Upwork ToS. Collaborating with an Upwork representative to get a profile approved would also be strictly prohibited and we have security systems in place to prevent that. Applications to join Upwork go through both automatic and manual reviews that evaluate a number of factors.

If a freelancer needs help with proofreading or re-organizing their profile overview and other information, they can hire another freelancer to do that.

~ Valeria
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Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
6 of 30

@Valeria K wrote:

Applications to join Upwork go through both automatic and manual reviews that evaluate a number of factors.

If a freelancer needs help with proofreading or re-organizing their profile overview and other information, they can hire another freelancer to do that.


Valeria, are you stating that every freelancer application is manually reviewed? Also, does Upwork keep track of reviewers who allow profiles that are subsequently removed after being flagged as inappropriate, and take action in case there's a pattern of a reviewer permitting profiles that are obviously fake?

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 30

The following are not qualifications for getting approved as an Upwork freelancer:

 

- coming from a struggling background 

- having lots of money and being able to buy account approval

Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
8 of 30

@Preston H wrote:

The following are not qualifications for getting approved as an Upwork freelancer:

 

- coming from a struggling background 

- having lots of money and being able to buy account approval


True, and/but I feel horrible for this person. He's just starting out but he's a software engineer and no platform is worth compromising your integrity as long as you have skills and a way to communicate that to people looking for them. I wish he hadn't done this, and now he's telling me there are apparently other people too (here in PK) who have paid this guy money for the same "service". I don't know what that guy's link to the review process is, whether he's got a friend at Upwork or just dumb luck, but it also makes me angry he's fleecing desperate people in the name of something that should be fair and welcoming to newbies.

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Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
9 of 30

John,

 

I won't be able to share details about the review and approval process for new profile to protect its integrity. It does involve automatic and manual review and agents who complete the manual review of it follow strict guidelines and Upwork ToS.

If you come across any new profiles that appear suspicious or in violation of Upwork ToS, please feel free to flag them and they will be reviewed.

~ Valeria
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Ace Contributor
Fatima A Member Since: Sep 26, 2013
10 of 30

@Valeria K wrote:

Hi Fatima,

Paying to somehow "acquire" a profile that belongs to another person and has been approved would be a serious violation of Upwork ToS. Collaborating with an Upwork representative to get a profile approved would also be strictly prohibited and we have security systems in place to prevent that. Applications to join Upwork go through both automatic and manual reviews that evaluate a number of factors.

If a freelancer needs help with proofreading or re-organizing their profile overview and other information, they can hire another freelancer to do that.


I would totally support that last scenario--an Upwork consultancy service. However, what I am told happened (and has been happening, apparently) is that Person A pays Person B an X amount of money and gives them access to their profile to get it "approved" by Upwork. This apparently entails no changing of the profile, nor is the profile itself acquired by anyone else, but it does get the profile through the review system. My question: how? It should not be able to, as you mentioned. So the system is not working, somewhere.

 

Edit: Also, Valeria, can Upwork send out some kind of general reminder telling people not to pay anyone to get their profile approved because this is a scam and there is no such paid profile approval process and doing so is considered a violation of ToS?

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