Weirdest Upwork Experiences

I had a most unusual consultation experiences today. Well, I had two consultations but one was very promising for a very big global charity (and I’m very excited about this one!). The other quickly became very suspicious. At first, the client immediately acquiesced to the higher rate I applied at, even though the rate they wanted to pay was much lower. This raised my suspicions right away. A genuine client on a low budget would never automatically roll over – they negotiate.The client was cagey and despite their information saying they were new to elance, they knew how the system worked (which should also be a major suspicious point). Then this happened:

dodgy client


When I asked for more information about the job, the client oddly bailed – all I wanted was a sense or a feel of whom I would be writing for and what they wanted. She failed to respond after that last message so I removed and blocked her, convinced that this was a scam.

I had no idea what I was to write about but the client wanted me to start now and produce 5 articles per day (negotiated down from 7 because of other work commitments), 6 days per week indefinitely. Yes, indefinitely. Even the job ad shed no light on what the website was about and instead of giving me examples, the client ran away. This is weird.

Most clients send me a brief or at least some ideas to get me started and we take it from there. But here, there was nothing. I can’t envision a site where “anything is good” because most are on a theme or at least categorised into sections.

This is why a contractor should always ask questions. Not only so you don’t get lost in translation or end up with a whole lot of website content you’ve not been paid for and can do nothing with, but also to make sure the job is legitimate. If the subject was of an adult nature – say pornographic or gambling – then they will say so at this point and ask (as clients have done) whether I am comfortable writing that sort of content.

Keep your wits about you when working as a freelancer, because there are some very unscrupulous people out there. Don’t be put off using the Elance-Odesk platform though, because I myself have worked with some fantastic clients already.


8 thoughts on “Weirdest Upwork Experiences

  1. Sahar

    Gosh this is really weird and fishy. Glad you didn’t get caught in any sort of scam, and thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s really weird, it had to be a scam. What sort of client wouldn’t tell you what they wanted you to work on?

      1. Sahar

        Exactly! It could also be illegal–i.e. they want you to write about something that shouldn’t be written about. Step away!!!

  2. Sabina

    Going with your gut is important in situations like this. If it seems weird or too good to be true, it likely is. Good for you for asking questions politely. I also find the lack of capitalization/proper sentence structure strange.

    1. That’s usually indicative of a non native speaker and not suspicious in itself. I deal with people all over the world so I get used to it.

      However, this person and an Anglophone name and lives in Texas.

      My girlfriend picked up on “the subjects are verse”. I presume she meant “versatile” or “diverse” rather than that I would have been writing about poetry.

  3. andfreed

    Sounds pretty weird. Good thing you had your wits about you and didn’t waste your time. Thanks for the warning.

  4. lifelessons

    Very strange. Can’t imagine what their motives might have been–perhaps to have you ghost writing and they themselves don’t know where they are going to sell them?

    1. They were probably going to sell them somewhere. My concern was whether I was actually going to get paid for it – which I doubted.

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