Elance - Ethical Policies, Fairness and Integrity
(Page 3 of 3)
Fairness and Integrity
Because of some of the issues described above, Elance has been the subject of many attacks and speculative theories about its motivations. I’ve seen Elance providers and former providers flatly accuse the company of all sorts of behavior, and these are accusations that go beyond the criticisms I mentioned above. It’s one thing to complain that the company doesn’t do enough to enforce its policies, but quite another to say that it is doing so deliberately.
One fairly common accusation is that Elance doesn’t remove projects that violates its rules because they want to keep the connect fees and potential transaction fees that would come from those projects. Frankly, this claim is easily dismissible: if they felt that way, they wouldn’t need to have those project policies at all, right?
Some contractors believe that Elance favors the large companies on the site over individual freelancers when it comes to policy enforcement. I haven’t really seen evidence to support this claim, but it wouldn’t surprise me too much. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I think this is just the way business works: companies cater to the customers who make them the most money.
I do believe there is some merit to the complaint that Elance cares much more about clients than contractors. A valid argument can be made that clients are more important than contractors, because there are fewer of them, and they bring the money to the site. But the simple fact is that this true of all freelancing sites, yet others do a much better job of showing contractors that they are valued and respected. Elance could really help make contractors feel more valued. One good way to start would be to better balance the feedback system, so providers don’t feel entirely at the mercy of clients.
I think Elance also contributes to some of the unfair accusations it receives because of its general policy of “radio silence” when it comes to policy enforcement actions. Elance officials have said before that they won’t discuss specific enforcement decisions because they consider it inappropriate to do so, and that’s fine. But no details are needed: even providing monthly statistics of policy violations and corrective action taken would help people feel better that they are doing the right thing by following the rules.
Finally, Elance has recently exhibited a pattern of dealing with abuse problems by removing features rather than disciplining offenders—and sometimes in a rather obviously self-serving manner. For example, one problem area with the site was certain providers who abused private or public messaging systems to annoy clients or to solicit invites to avoid spending connects. Rather than have some of its employees weed out the bad apples who were abusing these features, Elance chose to get rid of public messaging entirely, forcing contractors to spend connects on pre-bid questions. They also removed the ability of contractors to follow up on pre-bid questions with clients. I believe a fair argument can be made that this change was made mainly to enhance Elance’s bottom line: it allows the company to both save money on policy enforcement, and also to get more money from contractors who have to purchase additional connects.
Home - Table Of Contents - Contact Us
The Online Freelancing Guide (http://www.FreelancingGuide.net)
Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
© Copyright 2001-2011 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.