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For obvious reasons, all marketplace sites prohibit the posting of certain types of projects, such as those that involve illegal activity. Some go beyond this to ban postings of certain types of work that they feel are not consistent with their vision for their marketplace. One common example is projects containing adult or sexually-explicit material; some sites allow these, and some do not—of course, whether such an exclusion makes the site’s quality higher or lower is a matter of opinion. :)
Some sites impose restrictions on project values in order to try to encourage the posting of higher-end projects. These usually take the form of minimums on the hourly rate or overall project cost that a client may request or a contractor may offer.
The theory here is that having these minimums will filter out some of the smaller projects that professional freelancers of the sort I described above believe to be a waste of time. At the same time, this sends something of a message to prospective clients that the site is a place with a higher caliber of freelancers.
There is some disagreement over how effective these policies are. I personally believe they do work, but only if the policies are properly implemented and enforced.
One thing I look for in assessing project quality is what procedures or policies the site puts into place for screening clients. Many sites try to make it as easy as possible for new clients to join a site and start listing work, in order to increase the volume of available projects. But in general, the easier it is for anyone to “walk in off the street” and post a project, the lower that overall project quality tends to be.
Some sites require that project listings be reviewed and approved by a site employee before they are released for freelancers to bid on them; some do not. You can probably guess which approach leads to higher quality projects.
Another essential factor in ensuring high project quality is the availability of a detailed, comprehensible guide for clients to use in posting their projects. This is another place where some sites try too hard to make things “easy”, and the end result is a lowering of project quality. A bad process can also make it hard for freelancers to understand what the project is about, which again is (rightly) perceived as representing a quality issue.
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The Online Freelancing Guide (http://www.FreelancingGuide.net)
Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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