Freelancer.com - Ethical Policies, Fairness and Integrity
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Fairness and Integrity
Even though Freelancer.com doesn’t do the best job of enforcing its policies and ensuring that everyone is on a level playing field, I have no sense that this is due to anything nefarious. As I’ve discussed, the company does an above-average job of treating contractors and clients as equals. And while there are certainly complaints on the Internet about various issues related to the site, there’s nothing that suggests to me a pattern of deliberate bias or unfairness.
In other words, I don’t think it is a lack of integrity that leads to poor policy enforcement on Freelancer.com—I believe the company just doesn’t make this a priority. There could be any number of reasons for this, ranging from a short-sighted attempt to save money, a perception that the problems aren’t a big deal, or even an inability to hire and train personnel quickly enough because of rapid growth. But I don’t believe there is any malice involved, nor any desire to rip people off.
One place where I think the company has a bit of a credibility problem is its invalid project policy. Freelancer.com just doesn’t do a great job of making it clear to clients what projects are not allowed. That would be bad enough on its own, but since the company keeps the $5 deposit when it cancels such projects, an argument could be made that this is a conflict of interest. (And in fact, I’ve seen clients complain about losing these $5 deposits.) I don’t think Freelancer.com is getting rich off of retained fivers from cancelled projects, but this is just another reason they should educate clients better about how to avoid this happening.
The company could also do more to not only deal with problem users, but also to show that it is dealing with them. The company has a blog, but it seems to be used only for self-promoting press releases and to announce new features. A little effort to communicate with users about efforts to deal with long-standing enforcement issues would go a long way.
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