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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites
      >  Guru - Freelance Marketplace Site Analysis and Review

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Guru - Web Site Design, Features, Interfaces and Ease of Use
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Guru - Customer Service and Support
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Guru - Feedback System
(Page 1 of 3)

Guru’s feedback system uses a combination of text comments and a “1 to 5 star” numeric rating system that allows project participants to rate each other. The system is symmetric, with both contractors and clients able to rate each other, and ratings can actually be made after each payment is made or released. Numeric scores are calculated from a set of four sub-category ratings that are averaged together. The site also makes it easy to check on the past feedback of potential work partners.

Guru has tried to address some of the common problems with rating systems, such as helping deal with feedback hostaging through the use of a feedback blocking mechanism. That said, the system still has a number of issues that users need to know about.

Client-Contractor Symmetry

Guru’s feedback system is symmetric: both clients and contractors have similar feedback systems that they can use to rate each other. Each is able to provide both a text comment describing how the project went, and a numeric “star” rating that is assessed on the basis of four performance factors. These factors are not identical for clients and contractors—since each party has a different role during a project—but they are comparable (see below for more details).

This symmetry also extends to the display of feedback. Contractors are able to see the numeric feedback rating of a client when looking through projects, and clients can of course see contractor feedback scores when reviewing proposals.

Project Feedback Process

Both clients and contractors are allowed to leave feedback as soon as a project is either partially or fully completed, as evidenced by either the release of funds from escrow or the paying of an invoice. The feedback period lasts for 60 days, after which time feedback can no longer be submitted. The ability to submit feedback can be “locked” prior to this time if a project goes to mediation or arbitration.

One interesting feature is that feedback is tied to payments and not projects. If a project has multiple milestones with separate payments, feedback can be left at each stage of the project when a payment is made, or each time funds are released from escrow.

Guru feedback consists of a free-form text comment and a numeric rating. The numeric score is computed as the average of four sub-scores that are each ranked from one to five stars. The categories are as follows:

  • Clients Rating Contractors: Technical Skill, Communication, Creativity, Timeliness.

  • Contractors Rating Clients: Professionalism, Communication, Instruction Clarity, Recommend.

Some of these metrics make a fair bit of intuitive sense, and it’s certainly valid that both sides rate on “Communication”, but a couple of the choices here are a bit questionable. I’m not really sure why “Creativity” is something that contractors should be rated on, but “Professionalism” is not, for example. I also think it’s weird that clients don’t have a “Recommend” rating, but contractors do.

After feedback is submitted for a project, it is not immediately made public; instead, it is hidden for seven days. This is not done to avoid feedback retaliation (though that could be a beneficial side-effect); rather, it gives the feedback recipient an opportunity to block the feedback (see below for more details). If not blocked, the feedback is made visible after the seven days expires; a client or contractor can choose to publish the feedback before then if he or she desires.

Guru will modify or delete feedback after it is published only under special circumstances. For example, if both client and contractor agree to have a feedback entry modified or removed, or if this is ordered by a court, the company will cooperate. It will also correct typos, remove contact information, or edit out profanity or obscene comments. Note, however, that the mediation/arbitration feature cannot be used to dispute feedback.

One glaring omission from Guru’s feedback procedure is the inability to respond to feedback. Most sites allow a user to enter a text response that appears under a feedback comment, either to rebut negative feedback or to thank the other party for a favorable review.


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Guru - Customer Service and Support
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011

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