The Trouble With Part II

31 03 2010

Please also see:

  • The Trouble With
  • How to Spot Spam, Scams and Shams
  • All of a sudden the blog post that I wrote over a month ago on the downfalls of freelance job site has received more hits than any other post on my blog. For an aspiring science writer, that’s a bit annoying (please read the other stuff!!) but it’s also very interesting. Most people seem to be arriving here after googling the phrase “ scam” or similar (try it! My blog comes up as the first link!). In addition, I received a comment on my post “The Trouble With” from a chap called Alaister who actually works for the site.

    I’d just like to say, right here, right now, that I think the idea of is brilliant and I’m a big fan. It’s a place where individuals, small and large businesses can outsource their projects to qualified and experienced freelancers who will invariably save them time and money. What I’m not a fan of is the abuse that the site gets. Every day my inbox is filled with job alerts from shady men and women looking to cheat the system, cheat the taxman, cheat the law and, worst of all, cheat the freelancer.

    Examples of such projects include the guy in India who has had his Paypal account closed “due to an error” and so wants to hire a freelancer to transfer money from their own account to an SBI account, with promises of a generous bonus payment when the transaction is completed. You can bet your life you won’t see that money. Or, how about the American who needs a batch of 100 unique 500 word articles, like, yesterday, at a whole $1.50 a pop, but “just to check your writing style please submit 5 samples”. You can bet your life you won’t see those articles or hear of the buyer again. Doesn’t matter if it’s copyrighted – it will probably get re-written using slave labour recruited – you guessed it – through and sold on again to another buyer.

    Even the projects that aren’t out to steal your money or time can be just as flawed. There is a growing trend for people to request freelancers, hired for a pittance, to rewrite articles that are probably taken without permission from another site. The rewritten articles, however shoddy they are, will be heavily keyworded to attract Google searchers looking for information on a niche topic. Instead of finding a credible source of information, they will find a badly written website with a dump of rewritten, stolen articles, as well as a host of adverts that will earn the site owner money if they are clicked on, which they often are.

    Having attended a webinar yesterday, hosted by Jonathan Bailey from CopyByte, I’ve become very worried about this last ripoff attempt, as I’ve even unwittingly been party to such a scam myself. I won a project through in which the buyer wanted me to proofread articles that were originally written in German and had been translated into English. Sounded credible, but it was only after I’d worked on a few articles that I realised the buyer hadn’t actually written the articles himself – he had copied articles written (and copyrighted) by other people from a German website, pasted them into Google translator, and was then asking me to “tidy them up”. If the copyright holders wanted to sue for an infringement, they could well have a case, and I would be accomplice to the copyright thief.

    Add these examples to the hoardes of students hiring freelancers to write their dissertations and theses for them, blatant hackers and spammers who ask for people to write malware, or those who simply don’t obey the rules and give out their contact details to try and secure a transaction outside the relative safety of Freelancer‘s escrow system to avoid paying fees, and you’ve got a pretty messed up website. I sympathise deeply with – as Alaister pointed out, they are the world’s number 1 freelance job site with hundreds of thousands of users and are therefore a prime target for abuse, but whatever they’re doing to overcome these problems clearly isn’t enough. I don’t claim to have the answers, but I still think that an editorial team is needed to check each posted advert before it goes online. This may not be practical at the moment with the large volume of adverts that are posted every day, but if this was implemented alongside an increase in the buyer’s fee (which is refundable upon selecting a freelancer for the job), then I’ll bet that a lot of the more unscrupulous types would be discouraged. The current fee of just $5, coupled with the fact that many scam posts are left undetected, doesn’t seem to be a tough enough deterrent.

    In addition, really needs to shake up its customer support service to start, um, supporting its customers! It’s a little bizarre that Alaister from found and commented on my month-old blog post all the way out here in cyber space before the email that I sent directly to Freelancer‘s customer support was answered. In fact, it still hasn’t been answered – care to respond?!

    Let me finish by reiterating what I said at the start – is a great idea (but I think PeoplePerHour do it better). For all those of you who arrive here looking for answers to the question, “is a scam?” I would say no, it isn’t. But many of the projects advertised are so you need to be very careful about who you do business with.



    69 responses

    31 03 2010
    The trouble with « Lisa A. Martin

    […] The trouble with 24 02 2010 Edit – 31st March 2010: Please also see The Trouble With Freelancer: Part II […]

    8 04 2010
    Woah there! « Lisa A. Martin

    […] Not and Reply from National Express) and (The Trouble With Part I and Part II) bring to my site, I felt I had to write a little something to placate the angry […]

    16 04 2010
    Brett M.

    I’ve just recently found out that the staff at is as big of scumbags as the theives that they promote on their site. I had a dispute with a incompetent, lazy and lying programmer who hacked into my server and deleted my website because I would not pay him for a job he never did. He filed a dispute, I countered his dispute and reported all the crimes he committed and violations of rules he committed and’s staff did nothing except give him a partial payment. Yes, they paid the guy that didn’t do any work, hacked into my server, deleted my website (which was someone else’s work and a site I spent plenty of money developing) and then they said there was nothing they could do. I pointed out that they ignored numerous emails I sent and when I re-sent them, they just asked “what can I do for you”. The staff at is probably the most incompetent, uneducated bunch of losers I have ever come across. There is a reason large volumes of people complain about them, it’s because they are a horrible company and I would tell anyone to steer clear of that site. Not only did they pay the scumbag, user name sunrisephp, they are holding the rest of my funds for a total of 9 days before giving me MY money back. is a ripoff and run by the biggest idiots in Australia.

    18 04 2010

    I do sympathise with your situation. I can’t really comment on the actions that took in your dispute case – from their point of view, I guess it would be very difficult to prove that the freelancer you hired did actually hack into your site and delete it, so would be in a very awkward position. From your point of view, I can completely understand why you feel cheated. I think your point about’s customer services being slow and inadequate is a fair one, and one that I have raised myself. I’m still waiting for a reply to an email I sent them in February! However, have assured me that they are working to improve the system.

    As for the freelancer that you hired, it goes without saying that you need to be VERY careful about who you hire, and if you are in any way uncertain that the person you are considering for the job is unlikely to deliver, then you shouldn’t hire them. The adage, “you get what you pay for” is very often true. Unfortunately, as in any other area of life, there are people out there who cheat, steal and lie and perhaps a site like is a good hunting ground for them, since business is conducted more or less anonymously. I’d recommend to always check the feedback that a user has received (difficult in your case, admittedly, as I see that “sunrisephp” has over 200 positive reports!) and NEVER NEVER NEVER work or hire work without a contract! As a freelancer myself, I have drafted up a very simple agreement that specifies the work to be done, the time frame to do it in and the payment method and terms. I insist on it being signed before starting any work AND I make sure to get the full name and contact details of the client so that they are traceable if any dispute arises.

    I disagree that Freelancer is a “horrid” company. There are clearly some issues that need to be resolved, but the biggest problem is with the people who abuse the site, as you have unfortunately discovered first hand. There are other similar sites like Elance, oDesk and People Per Hour that you might like to try next time – don’t let your negative experience put you off using freelancers because there are many of us who are great at what we do! 😀

    21 05 2011

    Hello Lisa,

    Thanks for the useful information. Could you please tell me, will I able to login my account while visiting abroad. This will change my IP address. Will this affect any harm to my account? Sorry for off topic question. I didn’t found any answer at google, so I am here. Can you help me?

    21 05 2011

    As far as I am aware, you can log into your freelacer account any where – you log in with your username and email address so your IP address shouldn’t matter.

    18 04 2010
    Geoff Jackson

    About half of it’s memberbase are breaking terms and conditions and applying “black-hat” techniques left, right and centre. I somehow doubt they care though due to the revenue it makes them.

    I for one, am likely to be closing my account with them soon, I commented on your part 1 article with all of my thoughts on the company.

    7 05 2010 on Wikipedia « Lisa A. Martin

    […] reading and commenting on my previous blog posts about (here, here and here), Alaister Low from the company’s marketing team hired me via the site to write a […]

    30 05 2010

    Is FreeLancer a legitimate website? I mean are there some good jobs to be found, or are they all scams run by Freelance?

    3 06 2010 How to Spot Spam, Scams and Shams « Lisa A. Martin

    […] The Trouble with Part II […]

    17 06 2010

    I to have had nothing but trouble with Not only have most of the people that I have worked with from the site be crooks, so is the site itself. I had a person that I was selling for try an pay me by putting funds into my freelance account on 5-19-10. The next day I put in a request to withdraw the funds and was notified that it would take 2 weeks to get the money sent to my paypal, why? I don’t understand how they can keep my money for two weeks for no reason. Ok, since I didn’t have any choice I waited for until 6-7-10 to get my funds. On 6-7-10 I check to see if my $1500.00 was transferred and it had not been. I went to look at my freelancer account and it was still sitting there and my withdraw request was canceled. So I started a ticket and wanted to know why they still have not sent my money to me and I started another withdraw. After a day or so they said that for security reasons they are now wanting me to wait another week to get the funds and they wanted to know what my relationship was the person that sent me the funds. What security reason could there be. It’s my funds, they were paid to me, what possibly could I do or any one do if they paid me that would be a security risk. So after complaining several times and being told that I can’t change their policies on the two week wait even after that had past by I waited until 6-15-10. This was the date that I was promised I would get my money. On 6-15-10, they still had my funds sitting in my account and again the withdraw was canceled. No I am so pissed off that they are holding my money and ignoring their own rules that I can’t see straight. Now they want me to start another withdraw and wait another week to get the funds and there excuse was I had canceled payments to someone several months ago and they want to make sure that there are not problems. Are they that freaking ignorant? I receiving funds not sending them. I have started two other tickets to try and get my money and they have done more to complain about me opening multiple tickets for the same problem then they did tell help close the tickets. I will be shocked if they ever send me the funds. They are a bunch of ignorant thieves and there is nothing that can be done to stop them. You can’t complain because they don’t care, their out of the country so I can’t call the authorities to handle this. The are untouchable and can do what ever they want. Avoid this site at all costs.

    6 10 2010
    Is a scam? (Part 1) « Lisa A. Martin

    […] Trouble with“, written back in February (and to lesser extent its follow up: The Trouble with II), I’ve received a lot of site traffic from people trying to find out information about […]

    16 11 2010

    Concerning rewrites, don’t you think it’s a every day issue. For example, a teacher who wants to write his/her lesson note will not want to copy verbatim, so he can just develop his own write-up from the idea of the original writer. Or if I as a person needs to write Thomas Edison’s biography, I can go online, get the idea of the story and put it down in my own words. That’s how I see article rewriting.

    16 11 2010

    Of course there are legitimate rewriting projects out there, and if the pay was right and the buyer was sound, then I’d probably consider bidding on them. My bugbear is with the hundreds of article rewriting projects, like the one I described above, in which a pittance is paid for rewriting content of dubious origin to be placed on websites with dubious intentions. Even putting the unfair pay and copyright issues aside, black hat affiliate marketing is a no-no as far as my professional conscience is concerned, and I won’t have anything to do with it. Done properly, affiliate marketing can prove very lucrative for the companies involved and it’s great way of increasing website traffic and revenue, but hijacking searches by directing site visitors to poorly written content that offers them nothing but meaningless and heavily keyword-stuffed articles that link to dodgy websites selling viagra and penis enlargement products, often stolen in the first place, is an SEO strategy that I strongly oppose.

    17 11 2010

    Please I want to be clear about this. I am currently doing some rewrites for someone and when I saw your article, I’ve endeavored to ask him if he has the permission of the owners. However, what I do in case of rewrites, is that even though I may still use few difficult to rewrite examples and sentences by the Author, I still endeavor to be original in my own way by adding insights from personal knowledge and at times further research and in my own words. So please, am I violating rights? Tell me please, so that I can quit.

    17 11 2010

    Please I want to be clear about this. I am currently doing rewrites for someone and immediately I saw your article, I endeavored to ask him if he has permission of the owners. However, what I do in addition to the fact that I still make use of examples or terms by the Author that cannot be rewritten, as much as possible, I add my own personal knowledge or ideas from research and write in my own words. Please tell me If I am violating rights so that I can call it quit.

    17 11 2010

    You really need to find out from the buyer where he got the articles from. If he/she is the copyright holder, then they may do what they wish with the articles, including rewrite them (or ask someone else to do this). if this is the case, then you are free to decide if you want to work on this type of project. If the rate of pay is acceptable to you and you are happy with the buyer’s integrity, then go for it. For future reference though, I would always make sure that you have a signed agreement between you and the buyer, just so you are clear about who owns what in terms of intellectual property.

    If your buyer has just taken the articles from somewhere on the internet without permission, then you could have a problem, but realistically, only if a) the copyright holder found out, b) managed to trace you, and c) wished to prosecute. In all honesty, you’re unlikely to be caught unless the articles are particularly high-profile, but I’ll leave that to your conscience. Me, I wouldn’t work for anyone who’s professional integrity I doubted, and have actually turned down projects in the past because I didn’t trust the buyer.

    If you’re still worried about copyright issues, why not get in touch with CopyByte?

    18 11 2010

    A big thumbs up to this blog.I just happened to stumble upon only to realize two months later that i have been duped.The support staff is of no use as they can never get you your hard earned money.There are zillions of scamsters and this platform is the perfect haven for them.I have been disappointed and its just not worth it.I would rather donate these articles for charitable use than making it available to cons who would publish it on some fancy site and earn revenue..ofcourse without paying me a cent.
    Thankyou! for voicing these issues.

    8 12 2010

    This blog is really informative. I just signed up with and was going through their FAQ and Exam page. I couldn’t believe my eyes that I have to pay for $5 just to get certified. If I pay and fail what then?

    I have also checked the projects posted on their site. I saw one project that will pay $30-$60 per month. Imagine per month. I know some data entry work is easy, but common $30-$60 per month? You gotta be kidding me! I have also seen data entry projects that has 200+ bids with small payout. How will you survive with such amounts? I maybe new in Freelancing and I might not be that experience or expert in some aspects but I won’t go to that level where I looked like I am desperate to get a project.

    Thank you Lisa for your post. This really help me a lot since I am new in Freelancing. I am going to close my account in It’s not worth it.

    8 12 2010

    It’s true that you’ll probably never earn big bucks through, but if you have the time to look carefully, you can find some genuine, well paying projects. Sadly, is very much marketed towards getting people in Western countries to hire in developing countries, so budgets are often set unrealistically low and people will bid peanuts because that’s the average wage in their country. However, using your powers of persuasion, you can convince some people with low budgets that you’re worth paying more for! I recently completed a copywriting project to rewrite the entire content of a website that had previously been “written” by a very cheap writer hired via – turns out that the whole site had been plagiarised (on some pages without even removing the original company’s name!). Needless to say, the buyer in this case was more than happy to pay a decent fee because he wanted the job done properly to avoid any potential copyright lawsuit!
    Freelancer probably won’t earn you a full time income, but it is a useful site for finding little top-up projects when your workload is light. I’d suggest you try – this is a much smaller company that doesn’t suffer quite so much from low wage syndrome (though there are still a few unrealistic expectations), and it’s based in the UK so tends to attract more Western buyers looking for Western providers. The fees are a bit higher, but trade this off with the higher average price of the project and you might find that it’s worth it.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    8 12 2010

    Yeah I did try it. I am online there now. Exploring it. The fee is almost the same in but you have to pay for additional categories. Which is alright too.

    Thanks again.

    30 12 2010

    Well, my experience with Freelancer wasn’t that bad. Had an issue and the customer support did a decent job with fast replies. Also they did refund my money. Nothing we should be amazing from, but they behave correctly in my opinion.
    Scamers and abusers are everywhere and you are right on doing something about them by not looking the other way.

    4 01 2011
    2010 in review « Lisa A. Martin

    […] The Trouble With Part II March 2010 19 comments 4 […]

    18 01 2011

    I had a bad experience too. has stolen my money. I posted a job on The winning bidder tried to do the job, but he could not, so he told me he is refunding the money. He sent me a screen shot showing that he made the refund, but Freelancer is not processing the refund. The bidder does not have the money anymore, has the money, but will not send it on to me (as the bidder requested). When I complained, they suspended my account. The support people do not answer tickets and live support keeps getting turned off by them (the site will suddenly say live support is unavailable) as soon as I ask what is going on. When I asked them for their legal department, they said they do not have one. When I asked to communicate with a manager (to get this issue fixed), they said they don’t have any managers. When I asked for the support department email, to create a ticket, they gave me a fake email, and my email message to support (requesting a ticket be opened) just bounced. Bottom line, the bidder does not have my money, I don’t have my money, does have my money. They are not willing to communicate properly to fix this issue. In my opinion they are thieves, and I think they are stealing people’s money with intent. They give Australia and Singapore a very bad name.

    6 03 2011
    Freelancer.comSUX also ran a contest to promote the launching of not too long ago. Wait, the contest is still going because the continue to extend the contest!

    The contest is for you to make a video or do any other promotion and post it online for the world to see. (FREE Advertising for them) Rules state that your entry must be ‘live’ during the time of judging so by extending the deadline time and time again, Freelancer continues to use your FREE advertising for them. “Continuous SCAM cycle.”

    I have also noticed that they are sending out unsolicited eMails to my eMail contact list. The worst part is; they are saying it’s from me!

    I did NOT authorize to send eMails on my behalf!!!
    I do NOT want people in my address book receiving unsolicited eMails from especially under the pretense that I requested it!

    This is definitely SPAM as I did not request it nor do I want it happening!
    This is definitely misrepresentation as I did not request it nor do I want it happening!
    This is definitely a violation of privacy and an out right lie as I did not request it nor do I want it happening!

    There is No One… absolutely No One in my address book that I want to contact!
    People I do business with on already know about therefore do NOT need this type of eMail!
    My other business associates should never receive correspondence from me sending them elsewhere!!!

    As usual, my request for information, or to speak with someone, or customer support, or live support, or trouble ticket – falls on deaf ears. They suspend your account & keep your funds whenever they feel like it.

    And YES, they continue to let SCAMMERS post $5,000 projects for $50! They brag about acquiring other freelance sights which just adds to the amount of SCAMS posted daily. = SCAM City!

    7 03 2011

    It’s very simple. If you don’t want to take part in the Freelancer contest because you don’t want to advertise Freelancer, don’t enter the competition. It’s not a secret that Freelancer is using this competition to promote itself- it’s the whole point of the competition, and it’s the very reason why ANY company runs a competition! The prize money is very generous so I’d say if you have a great idea as to how to promote Freelancer, then go for it. don’t forget that winning a competition like this is also very good PR for the winner, not just Freelancer!
    Second, what emails are Freelancer allegedly sending on your behalf? This is the first time I have heard anything about this, so please do explain. If thsi email is unsolicited, then it should be very easy to stop it.
    Third, if your emails to customer support are anything like the comment yo’ve left here, then I’m not surprised no one is answering. Try not to be so rude and people might want to help you!
    Finally, though it is true that there are many scammers on, the majority of users are not. There is, unfortunately, nothing to stop people offering very low rates of pay, and the sad thing is that there are many people willing to accept those rates of pay. if you’re not happy with the rate of pay that someone offers, then don’t bid. Or, if you do want to bid, try to convince the buyer why you’re worth paying more for.

    24 03 2011

    Thank you for this very interesting text about

    I’m trying to work with this website since a few weeks (i’m a 3D graphist), but it’s very difficult.
    Most of employers ask for free image samples (to check quality of work as they say), and when they have what they need, they cancel the project…
    It happens to me 2 time in the week.

    I gonna leave this website, because i spend a lot of time for nothing 😦
    And i cannot bid with freelancers from India or Bulgaria, that can work for 50$ per week.

    Toulouse, France

    24 03 2011

    I understand your frustration! My advice would be to NEVER give away free samples, because, as you’ve experienced, so-called buyers will probably steal the files you have sent and disappear off into the sunset having paid nothing, let alone the wages of a low-wage worker! Instead, I’d recommend to pick your projects carefully, check out your buyer’s feedback and past projects, and if they sound in any way dodgy, stay well away. Rather than giving away samples, I direct clients to my online portfolio which has a copyright disclaimer emblazoned on every page.
    Have you tried People Per Hour, or CreativePool?

    24 03 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for your advice. I’m checking People Per Hour: it looks more serious.

    As you said, it’s important to be very carefully with sending free samples. Of course i have an online portfolio, but it can be better sometimes to show to the client that we can manage his project with examples, and to have “something more” than other bidders…
    I will be more carefully now 😉

    An employer canceled his project after i sent him some pictures, and this men is a teacher in a famous university. Sometimes even if we “know” the employer, bad things happen..


    31 03 2011

    I read both your articles regarding in an effort to obtain some foresight. The good part is that your article is well written for the most part – kudos to you. It is clear that you have a net-positive take on Freelancer. However, the responses demonstrate strong and far too numerous experiences to the contrary. Also, you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort to respond and sometimes rebut the negative claims. At first, the phrase “the lady doest protest…” came to mind, but I think you maybe want to be helpful. Assuming all the claims are sincere, both yours and that of your commenters, Freelancer is a thumbs down for me. Statistically, the crowd usually doesn’t lie. I will read some of your science articles.

    31 03 2011

    Hi Jack, thanks for your comment. I take the time to reply to most of the comments left here because a lot of the time, people are angry at Freelancer for something that was actually their own fault. Alternatively, too many people get sucked into scam projects, that with a bit of common sense are actually very easy to spot. A lot of people who use the site are not experienced freelancers at all, but people who see it is an easy way to make a quick buck. It’s not – you should only bid on legitimate projects that you are actually qualified to do.

    I can’t back this up with empirical evidence, but don’t you think if a product or service works exactly as you’d expect, you probably wouldn’t bother to pass comment? On the other hand, if you were expecting something to work in a certain way and it failed to meet your expectations, you’d be much more likely to complain (even if the way you expected it to work is not actually the way it does work). I think this can explain why you’ll find lots of negative reviews of Freelancer and not many positive (nevertheless there are positive reviews around – simply look at the facebook page!).

    Sorry if it comes across as though I am protesting too much, and I will reiterate again that I do NOT work for My Freelancer articles are designed to help people understand how to get the most benefit out of Freelancer without getting ripped off. This is in my interest because the more people who use Freelancer properly, the less problems we will all face!

    25 05 2011

    Hi Lisa Martin! Thanks for this blog post. May i know is there another website you can recommend better than I just recently joined the said website, so can i delete my account there?

    25 05 2011

    There are many alternatives to Freelancer but, like Freelancer, I would suggest that you fully read and understand the terms and conditions of each one before registering an account. I like or, but it’s a matter of personal preference.

    25 05 2011

    How do I close my account in

    25 05 2011
    29 05 2011

    I found this blog after googling “how to delete my Freelancer account”?
    Anybody can guide me how to do that?
    I have had a merry go round of issues with them. I had 2 providers “accept” my job and then suddenly send an email saying they had been taken sick and so couldn’t start my project. The first guy I thought nothing of but then when the second provider did it I felt something was not quite right. Of course I as the employer have to pay the $6 award fee each time someone accepts my job – whether they start or not! I figured that is not a bad side revenue for head office to engage in several hundred times a week…hmmm
    Anyway I only tried out Freelancer as an alternative to I have been 100% happy with and have used them for almost 20 jobs, I just thought it may be better to spread my work and attract other providers. Now I wish I hadn’t. I shall be sticking with for the foreseeable future.
    How can I delete my account on though? I tried to delete the jobs I posted but I see you have to pay $5 to DELETE them! LOL

    29 05 2011

    In reply to Bob and his fiasco trying to get money returned, Id advise opening a dispute with PayPal.. It is very easy and VERY effective, and the company does not want to have a dispute on their records.

    7 06 2011

    “We’re excited to announce we have just launched the world’s largest
    logo crowdsourcing site!

    Starting right now, you can post a design contest and start receiving
    hundreds or even thousands of logos featuring your branding within
    minutes! Simply create a design brief and post your contest and, for
    as little as US$290, you will have more designs for your logo than you
    could ever imagine.”

    How ridiculous is this? Hundreds or thousands of people waste their life designing logos for only 1 of them to get paid? This is not a contest, it’s organised slave labour and life wasting.

    8 06 2011

    I tend to agree with you actually Alex!

    23 08 2012

    For those of us new to the site the competitions are the only way to prove our worth. Though I often find that because the entries are submitted ‘cold’ to people with no design awareness the good designs often get rejected in favour of the ‘safe’, the ‘bland’ and ‘the just plain dumb and ugly’.

    17 08 2011

    *MY* trouble with Freelancer is that they refuse to put me on their Do Not Mail list.

    I’ve been receiving “invitations” from one of their users, but the invitations do not have an unsubscribe link, and the return address is “”. The “getafreelancer” domain redirects to and is registered to the same guy (Matt Barrie).

    So I contacted their customer service and they tell me that I have to ask the *user* to unsubscribe me from their own personal mailing list. WTF? How can I contact the user if there is no reply email, and no unsubscribe link? And if the email is generated from their website, doesn’t that mean they are responsible for it?

    So I’m putting in a complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. And I’m posting this here in the hopes that they get some bad publicity from it 🙂

    17 08 2011

    Hmm, I see your problem, but I think Freelancer are right here. Whereas notifications of projects that match your chosen categories come from Freelancer themselves (and you can choose not to receive these if you wish), invitations to bid on specific projects are submitted from particular Freelancer users to other particular Freelancer users, kinda like a Facebook or an ebaY message. The email address will appear as though it comes from Freelancer because it’s their policy not to reveal users email addresses to one another before a bid is accepted. If one particular user is bugging you with invitations that you don’t want, then you’ll either have to ignore them, or post a message on the public message board of the project concerned asking the buyer not to invite you again. Other than that, or closing your Freelancer account completely, I’m not sure there is much you can do. To my knowledge you can’t block individual users from contacting you – though this might be a good suggestion!

    22 09 2011

    Really wishing I had read this article (and many others like it) before I signed on with The initial experience was good. I got work quickly and had happy paying customers writing glowing reviews in a matter of days. After a couple weeks, I found my account to be closed. Emailing customer support only got me an automated response claiming that I had in some way violated their terms of service, and they had no responsibility or intention to tell me what those reasons were. Meanwhile, still holds the funds for work I had completed while a member. A quick internet search revealed hundreds of similar complaints, and that my issue is just a small drop in the bucket. Legally, they are covered under their own Terms of Service, but legal is a far cry from ethical. My advice to anyone considering using is DON’T!! Not only do they have horrible customer service policies, but they also practice “legal theft” under the fine print of their terms of service.

    10 11 2011

    That’s brilliant. Thanks for your blog.

    I am a programmer occasionally working with BUYERs from, I did find some of them was looking for crackers… well how to say…I would say even the employees of, they hardly to distinguish all of them. You are right, maybe it’s a good idea to make a website to submit jobs in, which we feel abuse, and before I going to bid on one of them, I will check the buyer credibility and reviews on this site.That’s really nice to know your blog, even though I am reading it now in proxy, sad all blogs in blocked in China. Thanks again.

    3 01 2012
    Tony P.

    I appreciate your well written article, but as one of the Buyers on Freelancer, I can assure you that there are good and bad apples on both sides. Both sides, the employers and providers have their fair share of scammers. I have met competent freelancers who know their work and I have met horrible workers who just want to bait the employer and get away with poor work and easy money.

    I have had good luck with programmers because most of these guys have authentic feedbacks that cannot be faked. If an employer gives a positive review about a programmer’s work you will know that it is true because programming is a special skill that cannot be done by an average Joe. The same cannot be said for jobs like Article Writing. This is a job where many fake self-proclaimed writers will bid for your job because they think writing is an easy task that can be done by anyone who can use the keyboard. You cannot rely on the feedback either because each and every Employer has their own criteria of a good article. Uneducated employers as well as those from non-English speaking countries will leave hundreds of positive reviews for a writer who meets their low standards, yet the quality of these articles will be shocking to an Employer with higher standards.

    As an example, I recently awarded an article writing project to a freelancer who claims to be a native English speaker from the UK.Naturally, I chose this writer because of the 40 positive reviews on his profile. He sent me an old well written sample which I didn’t ask for, accepted the project at his bid price of $5.00 per article and promised to deliver high quality articles. He requested a 100% milestone payment which I happily did and guess what I got?…a bunch of hastily written articles with awkward grammar, bad punctuation and spelling errors, an article that was apparently written by a non-native English writer.

    No doubt ,the guy had outsourced my articles to cheap writers in India. I rejected the articles and he offered to correct the mistakes, but it seemed the revised articles were even worse. You can’t fake being a native English writer you know. I opened a dispute and uploaded his shoddy articles as evidence of poor work. But this experience has taught me a lesson – I will never create a 100% milestone payment again. In future I will just create numerous small milestone payments so that I can stop the project at the earliest stage and dispute a smaller sum if ever I enter into a dispute.

    Actually,I will delete my Freelancer Account

    22 01 2012

    Thanks for the blog, Lisa. Freelancer is simply Freespam.

    If there was a real goal to provide service, there would be a filtering system. The headers may change but considering the language and price ranges, it’s likely that the same people have many profiles (and then review themselves). Freelancer would have better knowledge so the fact that they don’t check IP addresses is a major flaw. And no ethical company would make it hard to delete one’s profile. Makes me worry that my information will be abused.

    27 03 2012

    As I read, they do delere profiles… when there is money deposited on it (read the net – there is a lot of such stories). And this reviews bumping is widely spread… anyway, what do you think are those “private” projects? They claim they fight scams when they suspend your account. But they don’t care for real scammers whatsoever!

    3 04 2012
    Constructive criticism for « Lisa A. Martin – Freelance science copywriter/editor

    […] received many a comment on my blog posts, The Trouble with Freelancer Part 1 and Part 2, and it seems that a lot of people have a lot of say about the way that is run. Fair […]

    9 04 2012

    small questions and notice
    but to post a projects is free or 5$? I see that in one old project where I not found solutions, I see -5$ how refound project

    delete a project also instantectly after created is $5 (I maked error in the price so I would simple recreate the same project and change only the range price; but lose money)

    seem,, when a project is expired thAT isn’t possible to reactivate; the expiration is after 60 days; the strange is that an older project(1 years ago) there is the
    option repost (pheraphs after the fee applied, is possible to repost)
    so every 60 days if a customer not find solutions must pay 5$; if found must pay

    11 04 2012

    I have never used Freelancer as an employer, but I believe that in order to post a project, you have to pay a $5 deposit, which is refunded to you when you select a provider. If you delete the project, you lose your deposit. If you wish to change the project listing, I think you can edit the existing post – you don’t need to delete it and open a new project. It is free to bid on projects as a provider, but you are charged $5 (or 10% of your bid) if you are selected.

    28 05 2012
    Lee took $83.10 from my paypal account in 2 transactions. I do not know why they took it, all I did was sign-up. I haven’t used any freelancers (one did contact me to try to solicit work outside of the site). I cannot get a refund from them (despite opening a ticket 6 weeks ago) and a live chat (which I have the transcript of) assuring me they would refund.

    Please don’t get scammed like I did, stay well away.


    11 02 2013
    Valerie Scott

    Hi Lee, I’m Valerie Scott from I came across your post about the double transactions from your account, and I’d like to know if this issue has already been resolved. If not, then please send to me your username so I can help in fixing your problems right away. I hope to hear from you soon. Kind regards, Valerie

    4 05 2016
    Erwin Ubaldo

    “You have been excluded from contests”, please help me with this problem here is my gmail….[admin removed email address] asap thanks

    6 05 2016

    Hi Erwin, thanks for your comment. I cannot help with specific individual problems – please contact Freelancer directly via their support system, or try their Facebook page. I have removed your email address from this comment and would advise you not to post it on a public forum in future!

    8 09 2012

    I want to share my experience….an employer hired me to do long term writing for her at the rate of 1.25$ per article. I was to initially write 24 articles for 30$.

    After having written 22 articles and having done them with the required quality and on time delivery, the employer wanted me to write 10 more articles. I was having a family problem, my old aunt’s health had deteriorated and she was staying alone so there was no one to take care of her. I had to be at her side and I tried to explain this to the employer. I told her to give me a few day’s time as my Aunt was in ICU and I would continue writing for her as before. It seems she was waiting to jump on an opportunity like this. She completed the project marking it as incomplete, wrote a bad comment about me always giving excuses and that no employer should hire me lest I ruin their business.

    When I tried to reason with her, she just told me to complain to freelancer. Having done so, they just said “what happens after a project is given to a freelancer is beyond our control” I had seen that my articles were used by her to deliver to 2 different clients. She did not want the articles herself. She had bid for these projects at the rate of 3$ to 4$ per article and then appointed various freelancers to work on it at a miserly rate of 1.25$ per 500 words. She had lot of feedback which evidently should be credited to the freelancers who worked for her and not attributed to her because she does not write these articles. She just acts as a broker where she bids on various writing projects at high rates and then gives them out to freelancers like me at extremely low rates. Considering the generous amount of feedback she had got, I did not ask for a milestone payment. I believed that I was safe once I was doing business officially on Freelancer but I am sadly mistaken.

    Oh and BTW she is a premium member who pays 49.95$ every month which enables her to bid on 500 projects a month and she has to pay freelancer fee of 3% and employer fee of 0%. So that results in extremely high volumes. This is what leads her to scam people like me time and again. One more thing when I asked her some details about the project she replied: “We are not scammers. You can see our reviews and feedback” I had not asked her anything about scamming or cheating. I should have realized it at that time but still fell for it. The thing is once the employer posts a project as incomplete and comments on it, you can only reply to the comment and it will display only on your feedback page. So no wonder all the people she had conned were not visible to me in her feedback.

    What this has done is to increase the gap between employers and freelancers when middlemen like her get in to make a quick buck. They try to pass off other people’s work as their own and blame the shoddy work on the freelancers they have employed. Freelancer keeps on encouraging this because:

    1) She is a premium member who pays almost 50$ a month
    2) When she bids for projects and she can bid up to 500 a month, they charge her 3% of project amount. The original employer who posted the project will also be charged depending on their membership status.
    3) Having won the bids she posts projects to new freelancers whom she can con. Freelancer charges these guys 10% or 5$ which ever is higher. So freelancer earns again out of a single project.

    If she manages to con freelancers then she practically gets the written output for free as she does not have to pay the freelancer anything. The thing is employers like her can say that the articles are not up to the mark and reject them, while they may be of good quality and she may choose to send it to the client. So that is a big gray area where freelancers cannot voice their opinion or have a system in place which will protect them. I know the milestone system is around but for new freelancers/rookies often asking for it means foregoing off a lot of projects, sometimes even from genuine and honest employers.

    So to sum it up, I have lost 30$ working on this project, not to mention a negative balance of 5$ which was charged as the project fee. Boy am I pissed off at freelancer for not protecting the small guys like me who depend on freelancer for making a living.

    12 09 2012
    John Doe

    I dont agree with the whole milestone payment to begin with on A user submits a milestone payment to show he is serious about getting a project done, then a developer drags his feet, delivers nothing and so you have to dispute the whole thing to get your money out of the milestone payment. Your money is now tied up to where you can not get it and its left in the hands of people you dont know to see if you will get your money back. Not a good way of doing business at all!!! Everything you do on cost you money, cant even dispute your own money without it costing more money to do so. What a rigged system!!! I bet there are a lot more unhappy users of than there are happy customoers!!!

    13 09 2012

    It’s been 3 days I can’t browse, do you know how to contact them? (since I can’t even browse their website let alone signing in to my account…) I’ve tried using other url (,, etc) but still doesn’t work. I have no problem browsing other website though (yahoo, deviantart, facebook, etc). My ID in is nom2. I wonder what’s going on….

    20 09 2012

    It’s normal now, I’ve just found out that it’s my ISP who’s at fault here not the As for response, I would say they’re quick and it’s really helpful (I don’t know much about something technical like this).

    21 02 2014
    Alexander – the biggest scam!

    Very serious and responsible I work 120%. On since 2008, but employers were allways happy and my ratings is still 5.0.

    Since the site passed into the Australian hands, the strongly degraded. A lot of things changed: the number of projects increased, new functions were added, greed of the grew many times, scam scale increased.

    The administration isn’t capable to control monetary operations. They have no tools for this purpose. It is ok for the site, if after a good review and released payment, reversalt he transaction depriving you earned money. You do not even notified about it. They quietly remove the money from your account. I will say more. can reversal the transaction after the money is withdrawed and keep your balance in a deep minus , and then they demand from you to put the money back on your frelancer account. As a result the will remove from you 110% (10% fees, which were removed at the beginning of a project + 100% of your earned money that were returned to the employer). Sounds absurd? Today it is quite so on the site. To all claims they answer in the manner „We can do nothing. A chargeback has been filed on the employer‘s payment provider. We only take fees. We would recommend that you contact the employer directly and ask to pay again.“

    All of these milestones – complete nonsense! An employer can post a project, create a milestone, get the project done, release the money and after get all money back. promotes scam. What milestones for? To give the appearance of reliability? After a project is done, you won‘t see the money anyway. In addition, you pay 10% fees. Cool!

    Today the is not the guarantor of honest execution of deal. It is just a message board with the job offers, where you take all risks upon yourself. only can guarantee that you will pay them all fees for the opportunity to be deceived!

    It is a pity to lose rating and reviews, but it is even more a pity for the nerves. There are alternatives and it is time to leave You are sure it is no concern of you? Just type in google „ scam reversal“.

    24 02 2014

    Thanks for your comment Alexander – I notice you posted the same thing on several other posts. I hope you don’t mind but I’m only approving the comment once otherwise it gets very repetitive!

    25 06 2014
    Lazăr Lung

    I recommended Freelancer to a friend so she could get some extra money and all she got was scammed and insulted by indian employers.
    She has a negative account balance and wasted a lot of time for nothing.
    The worst part is, I used to do freelance work on vWorker which was acquired by Freelancer. So basically Freelancer ruined a perfectly good website (vWorker) and is making life terrible for a lot of people.

    13 11 2014

    We have similiar issue with couple weeks we disputed freelancer,because he tooked funds upfront,didnt completed his works,removed some of previous worker website part ,asked for feedback before we completed project and lot more.

    We asked to solve situation,because we wrote 5 important and simply to proof points why we are in right and why we should recieve refund.We have PROOF they recommend us based on our dispute points request return from freelancer,but they they didnt care.

    We recieved from Mrs Eleanor (

    While it true that 5 points that been raised by you on the course of the dispute along with the points raised by your freelancer too,said case has not reached into arbitration stage to where our arbitration stage to where our arbiters will start looking at all the evidences provides as it apperars you have FILED TO PAY the arbitration fee,whereby closing the dispute in favor of your freelancer.


    Before arbitration and also after they confirmed our arguments was right,and i expained them why i should PAY something if was confirmed all our arguments in dispute are true but they didnt care.THEY CARE only about FUNDS.If you paying.True and protecting customers arent probabbly important.

    We continue solving this case,outside of

    Thanks Mark

    19 12 2014

    Nice article but the snowflakes are a bit distracting!

    19 12 2014

    Haha, sorry! Merry Christmas!

    4 02 2015

    Hello, Why I get the following message when I want to send a imagen to a contest? “You have been excluded from contests”
    2- Anyone know how I can fix or is irreversible?
    3- Even I can transfer the money I have in my account?

    4 02 2015

    I’m sorry, I have no idea – can any of my blog readers help?
    What is your experience with these contests? I’m skeptical about them because it seems to me that freelancers are doing work for free in the hope their entry may get picked – but of course there is only one winner!

    23 02 2015

    i have a problem on freelancer You have been excluded from contests,, kindly help me

    23 04 2016
    Rina Bhatt

    I first landed on website two weeks ago to search freelancing work. I was immediately contacted by the owner of project thru PM. He requested to add his skype contact [admin removed Skype username] (dallas, texas) and further communicate there. I did so and next day he greeted me and talked about project. He first asked me if am ok with paypal or bank transfer for which I was totally ok. He confirmed me to pay $ 5 for 500 word article and i also confirmed for same. I worked for 5 articles on daily basis and completed a week this way. I even finished 2000 words article in as short as 3 hours time and he even appreciated this. He said that payout day is next monday and requested me to send my bank details n article count, which i did. Monday morning he again message me on skype that he is working on payment arrangement and also asked me if i wish to work ahead. I accepted two articles for that day. Nearly 1 pm i submitted work and from then he is offline. I searched back on only to find that his id no longer is valid. I asked support and all i got is his email [admin removed email address]. Now i cannot find that person anywhere. It also seems he created fake id and all. I regret for big loss as i has to work to fulfill financial crunch back at home. I wish i could sell all my 25 written articles and not let him use any of them for his benefit.

    23 04 2016

    I’m not familiar with, but I am pretty sure they will have terms and conditions forbidding users to communicate outside of the Guru platform (they do on Freelancer). The reason you’re supposed to conduct your business and communication within the platform is a) so Guru or Freelancer (etc) can get their project fee and b) to give the buyer and seller have some level of protection if something goes wrong – there is a record of your communication within the platform, so they can easily decide who to refund or who to block. If you choose to use these sites you MUST understand how to use them and what their terms and conditions are!

    I’m sorry you found out the hard way, but not everyone who uses the internet is who they say they are. You were incredibly naive to hand over your work and your bank details via Skype to some random person you’ve never met without having a formal contract in place – please don’t do this again!

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