Starting June 26, 2020, Upwork will be making changes to its Terms of Service. They will require that “all pre-contract communications take place on Upwork and no contact information to be shared before a contract is started.”
According to Daryl Sando, the Senior Manager for Upwork Trust & Safety,
“communicating outside of Upwork raises risks for talent and clients in our community, while undermining the well being of the marketplace.”
It seems that many scammers lure talents outside the Upwork platform, which may result to unpaid or underpaid services.
What are these changes?
- Professionals and clients may not request or share any contact information before a contract started. This will include but not limited to:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Physical address
- Link to a contact form or form requesting contact information
- Link to an applicant management system or means to submit a proposal or application outside of Upwork
- Any information that would enable contact through social media, other website, platform, or application (i.e., Skype or WhatsApp IDs).
- Users must conduct all pre-contract conversations (aka interviews) through the Upwork platform. These means freelancers and clients must communicate inside the platform – whether messages, phone, or video calls – until an agreement has been entered into.
- Exception. Clients who utilize Upwork Business and Enterprise solutions have a permit to request and share contact information. This includes conducting interviews or pre-contract communications outside of Upwork. This exception extends to professionals’ communications with an Upwork Business or Enterprise client.
- Non-Disclosure Agreement. Legal documents that must be shared or signed before accepting an offer which often includes contact information (such as NDAs), is permitted.
- Sharing of large files between freelancers and clients. This can be done when a contract is in place. However, if it is necessary that large files be shared prior to the start of a contract. Sharing via cloud/FTP programs that can be accessed without the sharing of contact information is acceptable.
- You can share a portfolio that’s not on Upwork. For freelancers, sharing of past work is crucial. This can be sharing links to external portfolios when submitting a proposal. Upwork understands that external portfolios may include contact information but they request that you ask the client to only contact you through the platform.
- Schedule meetings and interviews via a Calendar. Upwork Messages enable users to quickly coordinate interview timing and conduct live interviews using the call feature.
How will this affect our BIDDING STRATEGY?
If you don’t know my Upwork Bidding Strategies yet, I suggest you read it first.
When these new TOS changes take effect on June 26, 2020, Freelancers and Clients will no longer be able to ask for or share contact information before a contract has started. This includes requesting or providing contact details in a Profile, Job Post, Proposal, Invite, or Message. This is an expansion from the current restriction on contact information sharing that was limited to just profiles and job postings.
What to do?
When sending a killer Upwork proposal, we normally push for an Online Meeting where we include a Calendar / Meeting Link in the Proposal, right? Through that link, the Client can book a schedule to interview you. With this ToS updates, we can NO LONGER do that.
There’s a creative way to circumvent this. Essentially, since sending a link to an external portfolio (e.g Website / Online CV) remains allowed, I suggest you put the Calendar / Meeting Link there on the website instead. A button like “Book Consultation” will do.
DISCLAIMER: While I’m a Top Rated Plus Freelancer in Upwork, this blog post is NOT endorsed by Upwork Global Inc. Likewise, TekWorx and TekWorx.Training are NOT affiliated with Upwork in any way.