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Upwork is ruining it for gig economy / freelancing / outsourcing. They create a race to the bottom and prioritize the client over fairness. Fiverr isn't much better.

It's hard for any "we focus on everything" platform to get the specific needs of each vertical (customer + talent side) right. It's why TaskRabbit (focus on everything) never reached the scale of Uber/Lyft (press a button, get a ride).

I'm not deep in the Data Science world, but hopefully there's a platform focused on vetting customers + freelancers and providing a platform for working together easily, fairly, transparently (without the creepiness). Platforms should also decide what kind of work is fine to outsource. Long-term/strategic work the company has to live with for many years (i.e. a core prediction model or fundamental backend arch) shouldn't be outsourced. People who will see the benefits of their work in 5+ years should be the ones working on stuff that'll benefit the company in 5+ years.

I appreciate the mention of Turtle (https://www.turtle.dev/) in this thread already (I'm one of the founders).

For freelancers, Turtle: - Makes sure customers are vetted (just as freelancers are). - Pays for all hours billed (even if customers don't pay). Freelancers are trusted to enter all hours manually. No creepy screenshots. - Provides an easy-to-use platform for task management, chat, video, payments.

We're specifically focused on React, React Native, iOS, and Android dev now. Front-end/mobile is easier to compartmentalize. I'm not sure if that's possible for many forms of data science.

Part-time work is an important part of our economy and will become more important as the world further globalizes (ex: "Remote" now being a hot topic) -- but the infrastructure is seriously lacking. UpWork is a sloppy solution attempt.

I encourage freelancers, customers, and platforms to be honest about what should and shouldn't be outsourced, to make sure there's quality on both sides (great freelancers and shit customers fail), and to make sure there's an easy process to follow (great freelancers, customers, with shit process still fail).






I'm happy to see an alternative to Upwork.

I hope you will consider branching out beyond those particular technologies. For example, I'm a Node dev who has done Angular and React before but would probably rather use Vue on the front end (if it's appropriate) these days. Also have a fair bit of Linux experience which might be an important skill (as well as C++ and many other technologies from 20+ years). And I am thinking I might focus more on AI by learning to use some of the high level APIs out there. I assume there is demand for that type of thing.

I guess one of the main difficult things about branching out beyond React etc. is, how can you necessarily do a weekly demo for something that really isn't visual or interactive or may not have a short term deliverable? I think the simplest answer is just some type of screen share or short video that shows the raw progress, for example just a run-through of data cleanup scripts highlighting some of the data issues being resolved.


Thank you.

We will absolutely branch out, but not sure on timing or specific skillsets.

Fixing what companies (Startups) and freelancers (React, React native, iOS, Android) are on Turtle lets us focus on our platform.

We believe the infrastructure is the biggest missing element in making remote, part-time work successful. Something as simple as how fast or reliably a chat message gets delivered becomes important in asynchronous work. Chat, tasks, meetings, payments, and vetting processes are the core elements of our platform today and these feel critical to any vertical. The vetting processes and meeting templates are the only unique pieces to each vertical.

Since most of our customers are technical, the non-visual demo is not a concern. We are more concerned with distracting ourselves away form focusing on the platform or outsourcing things that shouldn't be outsourced (ex: strategic, long-term impact decisions should not be outsourced. Co-founders should never be outsourced).


Aside from 3/4 of your post being a gigantic ad about your own platform (which if you ever reached the scale of Upwork, I guarantee you’d run into the same issues you mention), how is it really a race to the bottom? You give the price you’re willing to work for, and the buyer agrees to the terms. Just like any other marketplace. I guess Fiverr is a race to the bottom, but that’s because their name and original mission statement (any work for $5) incentives that behavior.

I’ve used Upwork and had good success, but also there have been bad actors. It’s up to the person hiring to do research before they hire, and cut ties by firing if they don’t work out, like pretty much any other workplace. Maybe the vetting process could be better, but Upwork is the best contract to hire marketplace for a variety of work, IMO.


> Aside from 3/4 of your post being a gigantic ad about your own platform

I mention what I think is necessary for a platform in any vertical to work. We just happen to already be doing it for our vertical.

> how is it really a race to the bottom?

- Just about everyone has a 4.5+ star review, so the cheapest 4.5+ star review looks objectively better to a Co trying to cut costs. Just like any review system, it can be gamed.

- Customers get preferential treatment. That's not a fair two-sided marketplace -- that's a race to the bottom, for whoever keeps the customers happy, including the bad ones.

- Look at average salaries/hourly fees for different fields and look at UpWork. That should be the clearest "race to the bottom" evidence.

> Maybe the vetting process could be better, but Upwork is the best contract to hire marketplace for a variety of work, IMO.

They're the biggest. That's about it. Read OP's write-up, ask other freelancers, ask other customers. UpWork is a lame excuse for what part-time, remote work has the potential to become in the economy.


When I vet candidates I do an image search on their profile photo, look at their resume (and other projects they’ve done on the platform), along with the number of hours worked on the platform. Focusing only on a rating system is short-sighted.

Re: it being an imbalanced marketplace in favor of customers, I guess you’d also say the same about eBay?

I understand your motive is driven to compete with Upwork, but it’s the most built-out and legitimate platform out there, and given their size, I trust them over some smaller operation.

P.S.: I read the OP’s naive writeup. He didn’t follow the platform rules and was surprised that it went against him. Shocking. $400 is a lesson to do more research next time.


I agree that if everyone vetted as extensively as you did, UpWork experiences would be more successful. But people don't, and it's unreasonable to assume the same vetting processes for 10 hours of work vs 10+ year careers (FT hires). The platform should be vetting both sides, and they don't really.

I would say the same about eBay. Would you rather bet on eBay or Amazon today?

> given their size, I trust them over some smaller operation

Fair enough, but "trust the biggest fish" is a dangerous assumption.

> P.S.: I read the OP’s naive writeup. He didn’t follow the platform rules and was surprised that it went against him. Shocking. $400 is a lesson to do more research next time. Maybe the platform rules suck?

Any self-respecting professional would think the random screenshots thing is creepy. If talent is vetted and to be trusted, the screenshots/camera thing should be unnecessary.




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