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

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oDesk - Web Site Design, Features, Interfaces and Ease of Use
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oDesk - Customer Service and Support
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oDesk - Feedback System
(Page 2 of 4)

Project Feedback Process

Clients and contractors can only leave feedback on a project after it has ended. oDesk’s hourly jobs can sometimes go on for extended lengths of time—weeks or even months—and no feedback can be left as long as the project is active. This can be a problem in some cases, because a contractor may want to get some feedback into his or her profile from a long-term, successful job, to help with future bidding. oDesk recommends a workaround for this: by changing the hourly rate on a job, even by as little as one cent per hour, the system will automatically close the old job so feedback can be left, and open a new one at the new rate.

The feedback window on oDesk is 14 days from the time that the project closes, and the site uses a double blind system to prevent retaliatory feedback. Thus, either party can leave feedback for the other within that 14-day timeframe, but the first party’s feedback won’t be shown until the second party’s feedback is entered. If the second party doesn’t provide feedback within 14 days, that party loses the right to enter feedback, and the first party’s feedback is then shown.

oDesk’s feedback consists of a text comment and a numeric rating, which is based on a “1 to 5 star” system. oDesk provides the following (highly simplified) guidelines for what the different numbers of stars mean:

  • One Star: Inadequate

  • Two Stars: Weak

  • Three Stars: Good

  • Four Stars: Excellent

  • Five Stars: Exceptional

Not sure why, but the word “Weak” for two stars amuses me—I almost expected the one star description to be “Lame”. :)

Clients and contractors are asked to rate each other from one to five stars in six different areas. An overall star rating from 1 to 5 is then computed as a weighted average of the individual scores. The six categories and their weights are as follows:

  • Skills (20%)

  • Quality (20%)

  • Availability (15%)

  • Deadlines (15%)

  • Communication (15%)

  • Cooperation (15%)

To be honest, I think using the same categories for both clients and contractors is a little strange. Sure, both sides need to be available, meet deadlines, communicate and be cooperative. But “skills” and “quality” really only make sense for client evaluations of contractors. This could actually be a case where a feedback system is too symmetric!

oDesk is like most sites in that normally, once feedback is entered, it cannot be changed. However, oDesk has an interesting feature whereby either client or contractor can choose to allow the other party to revise the feedback they previously left. This is great for fixing problems such as feedback left on the wrong project, and can also be done to allow feedback if someone misses the initial 14-day window. oDesk itself will only intervene to change feedback in special situations, such as where a user posts inflammatory or offensive comments.

oDesk doesn’t provide a way to respond to feedback comments, but does allow them to be hidden (see below).


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oDesk - Web Site Design, Features, Interfaces and Ease of Use
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34
Next Page
oDesk - Customer Service and Support
Next Topic/Section

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Last Site Update: May 18, 2011

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