Elance - Feedback System
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Elance includes a fairly sophisticated feedback system that allows clients and contractors to leave a review of the other party describing the experience they had. The system is heavily weighted towards client ratings of contractors, with both written comments and numeric ratings used to calculate numeric scores for providers. A contractor’s received feedback is combined with other statistics, such as client earnings and project size, to calculate the provider’s level, which is a summary metric meant to represent overall provider quality and value.
Elance has spent a great deal of time on their feedback system, and it works well for the most part. However, it suffers from some of the same flaws inherent to most systems that are based on numeric ratings. Many providers take issue with the one-sided nature of the feedback mechanism. There are also frequently-expressed objections to how level numbers are both calculated and used.
The Elance feedback system is almost completely oriented around clients rating contractors. In fact, all of the numeric feedback ratings, points, level numbers and everything else detailed in the remainder of this topic applies only to client ratings of providers. Contractors are able to provide feedback on clients, but only written comments are permitted; there are no numeric ratings, and hence also no overall numeric scores for clients.
It is perhaps because of this asymmetry that ratings of clients are little used on Elance, compared to ratings of providers. While most contractors will receive feedback on over 50% of their projects, it’s typical to find clients who have feedback comments on less than 10% of theirs. The lack of numeric ratings for clients, and the low emphasis that Elance places on contractor-to-client feedback, is also the reason why many contractors don’t even look at feedback provided on clients before bidding on projects. This in turn is likely responsible for some of the bad experiences that providers encounter on Elance due to insufficient research on the experiences that prior contractors had with certain clients.
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