Freelancer.com - Feedback System
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The feedback system on Freelancer.com, like most of the site, is rather simple: a numeric rating from 1 to 10, and a short text comment. And also like most of the site, this is a double-edged sword: it’s easy to understand and use, but has a number of important flaws. These problems are certainly not unique to Freelancer.com, but they are still important to keep in mind when using the marketplace.
This is one place where Freelancer.com does well: their system is symmetric—well, mostly symmetric, anyway.
Both clients and contractors are able to leave both a numeric rating and a text comment after a project is completed. These are then used to compute an average “star rating” for the user overall, which is shown on project listings. Freelancer.com users can be both clients and contractors, so each user has a distinct rating as a client and as a contractor. The average used is a straight average, not one weighted by the dollar value of the projects for which ratings were received.
There is one additional rating that applies only to contractors: completion rate. If a project is not finished “after a reasonable amount of time”, the client can submit an incomplete project report. The percentage of completed projects for the contractor is shown under their star rating when they submit a bid. There is no matching client rating of this type.
Both parties in a transaction are allowed to leave feedback once a project is complete. Note that while some sites allow feedback to be entered as soon as any payment is made, Freelancer.com requires that it be entered only once the complete project value has been paid out.
The time period for entering feedback is 90 days from the date of the project’s completion (as measured by the time of final payment). After the first party enters feedback, though, a 14-day clock then starts for the other party to respond. During this time frame, the review entered by the first party is hidden (to prevent retaliatory ratings). If after 14 days the other party does not enter a review for the project, then the initial rating becomes publicly visible (and presumably the second party loses the right to enter feedback).
It has been some time since I used this site personally, but Freelancer.com’s documentation indicates that it’s a fairly simple process. There’s just a single numeric rating from 1 to 10, and a place to leave a short comment.
Freelancer.com allows contractors the opportunity to provide a text response to feedback that they have received. (Presumably clients can do the same, but I have not been able to verify that.) This feature is important, as it allows those who receive a bad review to “have their say”, and moderates some of the ability of clients to “ruin” a contractor’s reputation with a bad review that would turn off future potential employers.
Freelancer.com does not allow users to hide unsavory feedback, nor to have ratings edited or removed. Presumably the company could override this policy if there were a valid reason, but it’s unlikely that they would do so except in rare circumstances (such as accidentally mixing up the reviews for two different projects).
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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