The Mess That Is Upwork

About six months ago, I posted my thoughts about the end of Elance and the beginning of Upwork. At the time, the merger of Elance and oDesk had just been complete and Upwork sent me a note about moving my account over. Being skeptical about mergers and acquisitions, I was in no rush to run to Upwork. As long as they kept Elance up, and let me operate from there, I was gonna stay there. Other than checking out the site, I did little.

In September or so, I received another note. My account was ready, it said. Once again, I was in no rush, but I decided to check out more of the site nonetheless. I logged in quite seamlessly, although there were some updates to be made to the security questions etc. The site looked great, very clean and efficient.

Thought of trying to set up a new project. BEEP! came the roadblock. I couldn’t find my old jobs or the freelancers I had worked with before. I tried searching for them, and found nothing. Back I went to Elance.

Beep, beep, boop . . .  went a few months.

Come November, and there arrived another email from Upwork. My account was ready, it announced again. I knew it was getting close to the point where I would be forced to make a move to the new site, so I went back in to try it out.

Ooh, my freelancer list was up this time. Although, the older projects were nowhere to be seen.

Stop with the doubts already, I told myself. Try it. Let’s launch the next project on Upwork. And so started the hour-long circus. Hoop after hoop after hoop . . .

Hoop #1: Money matters: I have always used PayPal for this on Elance and I had hoped for the back end to be merged seamlessly. But no, I had to reenter all my payment options. Tedious but secure, I thought. I can live with secure.

Hoop #2: Meeting with big bug: Ugh . . . Each time I entered my credentials on PayPal and was ready to get back to Upwork, the connection timed out with a “This page is not currently available” screamer. Three times I tried and all three times, no luck but the seeing the hind side of the big bug.

Hoop #3: No money, no job: While Elance let me set up a job and keep it as a draft until all the steps (for example, payment) were completed, each time Upwork timed out on payment set up, it sent me back to the front screen. So, everything else I put in before I tried the PayPal connection was getting lost in space.

After an hour of trying various ways to set up the darned project, I gave up and headed back to Elance. In 5 minutes, the job was up and running on Elance and all was good.

Later in the day, Upwork sent me a message – your payment options have been updated.

Too late and not the right way of letting people know, don’t you think?

Had they told me right away that setting up my account would take as long as it did (I’m willing to ignore the bug I met), I would’ve had the right expectations. Tell me it’ll take half a day for a confirmation and I won’t try to set up a project when I have 30 minutes to spare.

Bottomline? Frustrated!

I don’t want to go back there anytime soon.

Eventually though, will I go back to Upwork? I don’t have a choice. Once they shut down Elance, which they will probably do soon, I’ll have to move over, hoops notwithstanding. But my skepticism remains. Now, I’ve also heard of people having randomly lost jobs on Upwork as well.


I only hope that by the time Elance is closed, Upwork will have ironed out these kinks. If not, I’ll have to figure out other ways to work with my team.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in industry news
4 comments on “The Mess That Is Upwork
  1. Meags says:

    Interesting, I’ve never had a problem with Elance or UpWork o:

    Liked by 1 person

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