oDesk - Feedback System
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oDesk uses a fairly typical feedback system, consisting of both a numeric rating system and text comments. It is a remarkably symmetric mechanism, with clients and contractors using the identical rankings, and oDesk makes it easier than most sites for contractors to see the actual feedback received by a client before bidding on his or her project. oDesk uses a double blind system to reduce the chances of retaliatory feedback, and has a unique feature to allow feedback to be reopened for editing if both client and contractor agree to do so. I’m not as keen about the policy that allows text comments to be hidden, though, and some of the more typical problems with feedback systems are present here as well.
oDesk deserves considerable credit for implementing a fully symmetric feedback system. Both clients and contractors are able to assess each other, and both are able to leave both text comments and a multi-dimensional numeric rating. This is particularly noteworthy considering oDesk’s “virtual employee” setup, which could have easily tempted the company into making feedback rather one-sided.
oDesk’s feedback symmetry is particularly impressive when it comes to the display of client feedback to contractors. It is the only site I’ve encountered where a client’s past feedback scores and comments are displayed right on the page of any project that the client posts. This allows contractors to quickly and easily assess the client’s past track record.
I should point out that despite the symmetry in the system, it is more common to find contractors with extensive feedback histories than clients. This is in part because contractors usually stay on sites longer than most clients, and also because clients tend to leave feedback more often than contractors.
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