I signed up with lots of freelancer job websites when I first started out penning marketing articles for internet clients and over time whittled these down to an amazing ‘one’ site that seemed to be worthwhile and not a total waste of time and effort.
I say worthwhile because it’s the only one that’s not only easy enough to navigate but it’s a more serious working platform to work on too. With this said, there are still certain factors which could be improved, but there’s no pleasing everyone. The main problem, however, seems to be an eternal issue, namely how to protect ‘project creators’ and then how to protect ‘freelance providers’.
Now, when I say protect, I mean ensure projects are genuine, making sure writers actually get paid when they’ve completed the work and making certain “disputes” are dealt with fairly taking a close look at both sides which includes examining their profiles, feedback, reliability, loyalty to the site etc.
It is easy enough to create a website where people can post jobs and a few of them claim to have won awards. It’s also easy enough to take member’s fees but what about backup? What about the need to support members which after all, is the mainstay of a respected and therefore, successful business.
This is where many freelancing websites fall down and much like any other business whether it’s an online or offline affair. success means growth and if management doesn’t remain on the ball, they lose touch with the people who put them in business in the first place, namely “the client”.
Now we need to ask ourselves ‘who are these clients’? Well, the answer is simple because it is everyone who pays them a commission for the service they provide, namely both project creators and providers.
Where I feel these sites fall short is they appear to favour project creators when a dispute is raised. The unfortunate thing being there is bound to be a percentage of projects that go wrong and it is usually the writers who have to bear the brunt of not getting rewarded for their hard labours. In the majority of cases (but not all), admin will back the employer because they are the ones paying out the dosh!
In this virtual world where transparency is paramount to success, I have often wondered just how a writer can pursue someone they encountered through a freelancer site when that person refuses to contact them if things go wrong. The conclusion is they cannot, and it’s as simple as that.
There is no recourse for a writer who doesn’t get paid and they won’t receive much help from the site either. Their Terms and Conditions ensures they won’t get caught up in the melée because they only promise to introduce the two parties – that’s where their responsibility ends. An employer may well deposit a Milestone/Escrow or whatever the site likes to call a deposit account, but the sad fact is this offers no guarantee of payment should a dispute arise.
Author: Honey Wood
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