With the emergence of online marketplaces, potential clients were a huge
prospect for both marketplace owners and the freelancers who wanted to
make money through these platforms. The idea of working remotely
multiplied with the lesser risk of losing money due to safer systems on
the more authentic platforms was attractive for both clients wanting to
get things done and freelancers looking to earn good money for their
This was the cryptogram of a perfect global ecosystem with an opportunity
for clients and talents to interact and get the best services and rewards
irrespective of geographical and cultural affiliations.
…and then comes the reality check….the hard way.
Like any other system, there had to be the other side of the coin. The
negative side obviously isn’t very attractive, especially since it hurts
the freelancers the most who are striving to get things done, invest their
talents, time and also keep investing in the ever growing fees of the
online platforms to keep themselves’ in the game’.
Here are a few challenges the freelancers face, hard to believe but
Bogus or Fake Projects
Are you a freelancer posting response to projects on a regular basis? Ever
wonder when, at some platforms, certain projects keep on posted every now
a then in an iterative loop like pattern? It appears the marketplace went
out of potential clients to use their platform for hiring talents, and to
keep the freelancers interest, they keep on posting fake projects!!
Any regular freelancer can easily judge and follow this pattern based on
the following facts:
– The poster (person sharing the project details) mostly have a new
account status with zero feedback, unverified payment account and upon
that, the project details seem vague (although some posters do use some
brains to add some details).
– Such projects are hardly, ever awarded.
– There is no freelancer / employer interaction on these projects, and
even if it gets started, there is no follow up by the so called employer
just after an initial response.
– OK, Yes, not all of the clients who contact me would hire me but, come
on, I can understand when a ‘Ramu Kaka’ from Rawari District, India (with certainly no
disrespect to the Riwari natives) pretends to be Mr. Richard from
Connecticut and vanishes in thin air on an alert!
This cruel fact hits worst to the newbie’s who are starting their career
and cannot differentiate between fake and real projects. Even the
experienced people find themselves into this puddle sometimes.
Note to the fakers: Sorry guys, when someone literally grows up looking
the same thing every morning, he knows when something odd wants to be a
part of it without belonging to it.
Disadvantages of Geo Location
While the online community is anticipated to be an equal opportunity for
freelancers to offer their services regardless of any geographical factor,
the reality seems to be a little (ok, not so little) different!
It appears the political, cultural and religious factors also affect a few
marketplaces to deceive the freelancers. User discretion might not be
evident on the front, but the players play the part to boost up or degrade
freelancers to feed their own greed and ego.
Poorly Crafted Review / Rating System for Freelancers
The first thing a client analyzes during the hiring process is
Freelancer’s rating. Higher rating and better reviews certainly give an
advantage to the freelancers who are trying to impress and attract the
The rating / review algorithm of some marketplaces are poorly designed.
There does not seem to be clear criteria for the marketplaces on how a
freelancer should be rated. While it may seem to be a combination of
earnings, reviews and regular /attentive service by the freelancer, it is
odd to see someone with zero OR lesser rating sitting on top of the ladder
while the freelancers doing a good job regularly keep wondering where have
they gone wrong.
Fewer marketplaces (like fiverr) have a better system that supports the
freelancers well with a balanced system.
Where does it all
This will end up earning bad reputation even for the established
marketplaces that were trusted by their users in the prime time. They are
probably losing their clientele due to their own bad decisions and instead
of repairing their own system, they seem to be taking the wrong turn.
Freelancers, specially newbies can just be a little smart to understand the difference between a real and a fake project by banking on their 6th sense and ignoring fake projects. The more time one spends on the marketplace, better they get with filtering such projects.
This is a Guest Post by Saima Akram, a seasoned Freelancer bidder who has a decade of experience working on Elance, RentaCoder, Freelancer.com, Upwork and Guru.com