Have I told you that I have a law degree? Now, I prefer writing about legal matters, but there's something I haven't forgotten. There's no crime without a motive. What could be Upwork's motive to tolerate or directly involve itself in these unethical activities?
Well, I can think of two reasons:
#1 Upwork has to hide the fact that the number of jobs posted is declining, significantly and rapidly.
#2 Upwork needs the money. The easiest way to get it is to charge freelancers for every single proposal they submit. I wrote about it too. Upwork's connects used to free, but no more.
Both reasons come as a direct consequence of Upwork's poor performance at the stock market (allegedly).
You are still not convinced?! OK. Let's see what the Upwork Community has to say about this problem.
Fake jobs aren't something new or unusual in the freelance industry. Every freelance platform has to deal with this "plague" on a daily basis. The real problem occurs when the support or platform's "immune system" becomes overwhelmed with the unbearably high number of fake jobs. Is this the case with Upwork right now?
My fellow freelancers were the first to notice:
Some of them even made the screenshots of these fake job posts:
This could've been an "isolated incident" or a (vast) system's "anomaly" that happens from time to time. However, there was more than just one complaint. To make things worse, these fake jobs became the regular "guests" on Upwork.
Now, here's something every freelancer knows all too well about scammers. Usually, a scammer tries to get you out of the safety of a freelance platform you're working on. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? The trouble with Upwork is that there were more than one scammer. These "scammers" were surprisingly well organized and synchronized that some freelancers couldn't avoid raising their eyebrows.
Can you blame them? Wouldn't you feel the same way and have the same ideas? We are talking about experienced, loyal, and hard-working freelancers who have every right to ask some quite legit and logical questions.
Think about it for a moment. Why would someone want to organize an "army" of scammers and waste time on posting fake jobs on a regular basis? What's even more interesting, this problem escalated when Upwork went public not before when they were still a rock-solid privately-owned company.
There's no such thing as a perfect crime. Sooner or later, you get caught. If you still want to get away with it, then the easiest way is to blame someone else. In this case - the freelancers. Upwork Community Gurus tried to convince everybody that's it your own fault if you fall for a fake job post. It all comes down to something like this: Oh, I'm so sorry, but you should've known better.
As you can see, there were freelancers who didn't buy this cheap explanation and justification. For the same reason, I can't and won't accept to be labeled as some Upwork "conspiracy theorist." When you reach this level of organization, you have no other choice than to use the term - "farm." Now, we may argue whether or not this is an appropriate word to describe the current Upwork's situation with the fake jobs crisis. Some frustrated freelancers took a step further and used even more troubling descriptions, as you will see for yourself.
Yes, you got this one right. Someone actually said that this was a "money racket" case. Again, I totally understand where this one was coming from. When you're paying for connects that are wasted on fake jobs, you can easily get carried away.
As always, Upwork Community Gurus really know their ways with "comforting" words.
Massive scale or not, fake jobs present a serious problem that can be quickly and efficiently solved. How? Well, all Upwork has to do is give back the money its freelancers spent on connects. Right? Money back, and we're back on Upwork righteous track.
As soon as freelancers get their money back my whole "constructions" of some hypothetical Upwork "fake job farms" fells apart. So, did Upwork freelancers get their money back?
No! Why? There's a legal catch. I will let Upwork Community Gurus and freelancers elaborate:
But, who's to say whether or not a particular job is in violation of Upwork's TOS? Here's a hint. My favorite line from the movie "Highlander:"
There can be only one!
And, that "one" is no other than Upwork itself. So, a job is not fake no matter what you think about it unless and until Upwork says so.
Even Community Gurus can't get it right, then how can you expect that "regular" freelancers find their way out of Upwork's "legal labyrinth?"
Still, the connects got lost in translation somewhere along the way:
Here's a simple truth about any business, freelancing included. You can afford to lose an employee or a freelancer, but you can't and shouldn't lose a believer. Instead of conclusion or my final words about Upwork fake job farms (without quote marks), I'm just going leave this heartbreaking comment here:
(Disclaimer: The author has based his analyses and inferences on conversations between the author and an Upwork Insider.)
(Disclaimer: The author works for goLance, an UpWork competitor.)