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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites
      >  Criteria for Choosing Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites

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Customer Service and Support
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Freelancer Community Characteristics
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Ethical Policies, Fairness and Integrity
(Page 1 of 2)

We all want to be treated fairly. Some of us more than others, though. :) I am sometimes told that I have an “overdeveloped sense of justice”, and I’ve been known to tilt at my fair share of windmills. I really do try to do my best to be fair and consistent with those I deal with, and I tend to demand the same of my business partners. I give credit to companies that have a coherent, consistent set of policies for ensuring fair behavior, and who then follow up by enforcing these policies in a reliable and consistent manner.

Ethical Policies

You can learn a lot about what a marketplace site considers important by the sorts of ethical policies they put in place. I am not talking here about mundane policies that are designed to protect the site itself, but rather those designed to protect the integrity of the process of matching up clients and contractors, which is every freelancing site’s raison d’etre.

The connection of freelancers and outsourcers is, in its own way, a game. By that I don’t mean that people aren’t taking seriously what they are doing, but rather that it is a compe­tition. Like all competitions, there are rules that are put into place to ensure that all of the participants compete in a way that is fair to everyone. Without such rules, certain clients or contractors can either manipulate the system to give themselves an unfair advantage, or to exploit their counterparts.

This still probably seems a bit abstract, so here are a few examples of the sorts of rules I am talking about:

  • Rules against circumventing transaction fees by taking projects “off-site”.

  • Minimum bids that dictate the lowest amount of money for which you can offer to do any project.

  • Policies that specify transaction fees for placing bids.

  • Special communication rules, such as the requirement to use the site’s own messaging system.

  • Prohibitions against contractors doing work for free or in exchange for positive reviews.

  • Policies that specify under what circumstances samples may or may not be provided to clients.

  • Restrictions against the posting of projects that involve unethical business behavior (such as intellectual property theft).

  • Rules for the proper use of feedback systems to avoid fraud or abuse.

And much more. Again, every site is different, and many have a large number of these policies, so I’ll try to focus on the ones that are particularly important or unique.


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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011

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