The Controversy of Naming Upwork TIME’s 100 Most Influential Companies of 2022
Writer GoLancer, Two-Time “Noonies” Award Winner
Upwork is one of the top 100 most influential companies of 2022, according to TIME magazine.
Congrats! Kudos! Impressive!
Honestly, I thought that TIME magazine was all about people, not companies. When someone mentions lists of companies, I think about Forbes, not about TIME magazine. You know, TIME’s “Person of the Year” stuff. But what do I know?
Amid the Great Resignation, millions of workers have fled their jobs in search of flexibility and agency. Upwork, an online marketplace that connects clients with freelancers for a fee, is helping such workers discover new opportunities, as well as giving employers a way to find talent. The company recently launched new features for users on both sides of the hiring table, including Project Catalog (which lists prepackaged opportunities with defined scopes and rates) and Talent Scout (which curates the cream of the applicant crop for hiring managers and HR). Upwork now boasts nearly 800,000 clients, a 22% year-over-year increase.
If TIME had used “pandemic” instead of the “Great Resignation,” this “WHY” paragraph would have made more sense. But, it’s OK. I can live with that.
And, just like Ricky Gervais, I should’ve left it.
No. I did not.
Instead of high-fiving Upwork, I’m going to give you five reasons why this naming is controversial.
Reason #1 — Increasing Payment Processing Fees for Clients
Upwork announced on its website that the company is offering a new plan that consolidates Upwork Basic and Upwork Plus. Now called Client Marketplace Plan, instead of paying a subscription fee plus a processing fee, Upwork will charge clients 5% per transaction (3% if using a checking account). Upwork’s ACH charges used to have a 0% fee, but they will now have a 3% fee. Credit card charges used to carry a 3% fee, and will now be 5%.
Yes, I’d like to learn more because I don’t get it.
Yes, I’d like to see if I’m eligible because I want to pay less.
So, the biggest and the most successful remote work platform is increasing its payment processing fees for clients in the middle of the Great Resignation when “millions of workers have fled their jobs in search of flexibility.” What’s the business logic behind such a decision with “a 22% year-over-year increase” of new clients?
Reason #2 — Boosting Project Proposals for Freelancers
It’s been three years since Upwork made its freelancers pay to play. I wrote about it here on Hacker Noon: A Farewell To FREE Upwork Connects — Cherish Your Freelance Moments. I can’t believe that I’m going to quote myself.
If you decided to stay on Upwork after this platform doubled its fees, then good for you. If this connects thing is something you can still live with, then you are a true winner. There’s nothing left Upwork can charge you for a change.
Oh, yes, there is! How to make Upwork freelancers to spend more on “connects” that used to be free?
You don’t have to do it. You’re a confided and experienced Upwork freelancer with an impressive portfolio who knows how to submit a winning proposal. Why waste your precious connects on boosting your proposal? Your shiny reviews and flawless working record are more than enough to stand out. Right?
A blue lightning bolt? WHAT?!
Here’s how it looks like. This is an example Upwork shared on their website on the “Boost Your Proposal” page, so my fellow freelancers can be struck by a lightning of excitement and understanding.
Boosted means — Hired! “This freelancer spent more on this job to get noticed.” WOW!! Money talks and an Upwork freelancer walks.
Reason #3 — Leaving Fake Projects & Scam Problems Unresolved
Here’s a screenshot I made while writing this story. This is TODAY ‘s top post in the Upwork sub on Reddit:
Two years later, since I published my first article about this problem (the same month — oh, what a coincidence!), the Upwork Community still discusses it.
One of the most influential companies in the world.
Reason #4 — NASDAQ: UPWK
You can influence many things in life, but the stock markets are not among them. It is what it is.
Reason #5 — Banning Freelancers from Russia and Belarus
I’m not going to share screenshots of discussions that took place in the Upwork Community and on Reddit about this Upwork’s decision. They’re too painful to read, full of heathered and bitterness.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but freelancers have always been the most progressive, pro-democratic, anti-war, and anti-establishment part of any society worldwide. Bannings oligarchs and freelancers isn’t the same thing and can never have the same impact in this or any other alternate universe.
Time After TIME
Here’s the full list of TIME100 Most Influential Companies 2022: Pioneers, Titans, Leaders, Innovators, and Disruptors. I couldn’t find Tesla or SpaceX, but a sure thing, I saw Meta among Titans, Upwork among Leaders, and TikTok among Disruptors.
“It’s an honor for Upwork and our entire global team to be included in the TIME100 Most Influential Companies list,” said Upwork President and CEO Hayden Brown. “Over the last few years, we have experienced a tectonic shift in how work gets done — a Work Awakening that shows no signs of slowing down. From the Great Resignation to the greater need for flexibility in workforces, companies and professionals alike are evolving and seeking new work models. That is why we will continue to innovate the world’s work marketplace, reimagining work for all.”
Keep up the good work, Upwork!
Originally published at https://hackernoon.com on April 7, 2022.