Upwork is Bullshit.
My business has been growing (hence the recent dearth of posts here on this blog… sorry!), and it’s time for me to hire some more help. I decided to give Upwork a try. I created an account, posted my job, and 23 minutes later they permanently banned me from the site. Really.
Now maybe you’re thinking I must have posted some shady job posting or something, right? I mean, why else would they ban me right off the bat? There must be something wrong here, yes? I’ll show you my full job listing below so you can judge for yourself.
But first, let me give you the timeline. A screenshot from my inbox shows everything:
That’s 23 minutes from job posted to account banned:
1:55am — I post my job listing.
Next, I start sending invites to freelancers that matched my search. It said I could send 15 invites. I had sent maybe 5-6 when the site suddenly stopped working and forcibly logged me out.
I go back to my inbox and see this:
2:15am — “Upwork has closed your job posting”
Here’s the message in full:
Hi [my name],
Your job posting: Virtual Assistant was removed because it was in violation of the Upwork Terms of Service: https://upwork.com/legal?frkscc=wnJAhwsgHBMW#terms-of-use.
The Upwork Team
Wtf? Then 3 minutes later, this:
2:18am — “Your Upwork account has been suspended”
Jocelyn Pangilinan, Apr 8, 2:18 AM PDT
Dear [my name],
I have reviewed all aspects of your account, and unfortunately, you are violating Upwork’s Terms of Service. I regret to inform you that based on that review, it has been determined that your account will not be restored. The Terms of Service violation(s) in question lead to this final decision. Please be advised that we may not respond to further requests regarding this issue.
Thank you for your understanding.
Upwork Trust & Safety
Now here’s my job posting which caused all the controversy:
I am the owner of a small tech company in the apps, software, and web development space. I have more requests on my time than I can keep up with, so I’m looking for someone to assist me with:
– Answering emails, messages on multiple platforms.
– Managing to-do/task lists on various projects.
– Researching things online (or, rarely, by phone).
– Handling random tasks that pop up from time to time.
– Excellent writing skills.
– Ability to work together on whichever video/screen sharing app you prefer. (Some tasks you’ll do on your own, but other tasks are easier for me to explain by just talking or sharing my screen with you.)
Bonus points for any of the following, although totally not required:
– Knowledge of eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, or Shopify.
– Knowledge of web design or graphic design.
– Knowledge of popular Social Media platforms.
– Interest in any of the following: classical music, history, travel, computer gaming, geography, languages, finance, business consulting, or productivity tools.
I’m based in [my state and timezone here], but I’m a nightowl so I tend to work from early afternoon up until the early morning hours. Other than that my schedule is very flexible. No pressure.
Now I tried to read the Terms of Service they linked me to, but it was pages of legalese and my eyes glazed over in about 30 seconds… I knew I would never figure out from that what I did “wrong”. So I emailed them back and, politely even though I was pissed, asked for an explanation. No response. Like their last email said “we may not respond to further requests regarding this issue”… in other words fuck you, we don’t care.
Is this how Upwork treats their customers? If so, how do they even make money? I really have no words to describe this.
So what now? If you’re looking for an Upwork alternative, I’m currently giving Hubstaff Talent a try. It looks really promising, maybe in a few months I let you know how that went. I’ve also tried Freelancer.com, but to be honest the quality of candidates there is really hit or miss… it’s almost not worth the time. (I’ve hired several people on Freelancer… someday I’ll post a review about my experiences there.)
Update: apparently this blog post got Upwork’s attention and they realized they fucked up. (Amazing how companies don’t care until you post about them!) Anyway to be fair I got a message from David Lloyd-Jones, Upwork Executive Escalations, stating (in part):
I’m pleased to confirm that after an additional review, your account has now been fully restored. In this case, our Trust & Safety team were in correct in their assessment of your account activity being suspicious, and I’d like to offer our apologies for the inconvenience and disruption this may have caused to your project.
They also gave me a $100 credit to use toward a future freelancer.
So it’s nice they realized they fucked up and did something to fix the situation. I’m still skeptical though, because after previously telling me “we may not respond to further requests regarding this issue”, I’m pretty sure the only reason they changed their mind was because of my blog post. So maybe I’ll try Upwork again someday, maybe I won’t. We’ll see.
For now I already found an AWESOME person through Hubstaff Talent, for free! (Well I have to pay the person of course, but Hubstaff doesn’t charge her or me a dime!) Soon I hope to post a review of my experience with Hubstaff, but in short it’s been great… give them a try.