Today is the day when you have to PAY-TO-PLAY on Upwork!
As of today, every single Upwork connect you use to submit a proposal will cost you $0.15. Here’s a useful table I stumble upon in Upwork community that illustrates this tectonic change:
Is this a big deal or not? Well, it depends how many times you want or need to bid.
The best (essential) things in (freelance) life are (not) supposed to be free.
Why, Oh Why?
There are always two sides to every story. So, let’s begin with the Upwork’s side of this unpleasant story for freelancers. How are they justifying this unpopular move?
In order to find an answer that makes some sense at all I had to dive deep into the Upwork Inc (UPWK) Q1 2019 Earnings Call Transcript. Here’s how Stephane Kasriel Upwork’s CEO tries to calm down the freelance community:
With the new Connects launch, freelancers will purchase Connects for $0.15 each, which is a decrease from the prior $1 per Connect price. To take into account the value of different projects, the number of Connects required to bid for our projects will vary from zero to six Connects depending on the size of the project, where previously every project required two Connects to bid. Bids submitted in response to invitations from clients will continue to be free. These changes in Connects are aimed at helping skilled professionals win more projects. We expect freelancers will submit fewer proposals, focusing on projects for which they are the most qualified and most likely to win.
Yes, Mr. Kasriel “freelancers will submit fewer proposals,” as a result. Some of them will stop submitting proposals — totally and permanently. But hey, let’s look at the bright side of it: “freelancers will purchase Connects for $0.15 each, which is a decrease from the prior $1 per Connect price.”
You really have to have the nerve to say something like this. Every single month you could count on the 60 free connects — guaranteed! If this number wasn’t enough for you then you had to pay one dollar for every extra connect. Now, you pay $0.15 per connect, but the trouble is there are no more free monthly connects. You charge for something that’s used to be free and you call it a “decrease.”
As a result, clients will have a smaller selection of highly relevant proposals to review, making it easier for them to identify the best talent for their project. We believe this change in connects will be revenue neutral in the near term as the main objective of this change is to encourage higher quality projects and client relationships on our marketplace.
How is this supposed to be “revenue neutral?”
Some Practical Concerns On The New Upwork Connects System
Let’s begin with the newbie freelancers on Upwork. How is this one going to work out for them? Well, they “will be given a one time allotment of 20 Connects for free.” That’s so sweet and generous.
You don’t have to be humble because you can get a bundle of connects:
- 10 for $1.50
- 20 for $3
- 40 for $6
- 60 for $9
- 80 for $12
The Rising Talent and The Top Rated freelancers on Upwork will be given a one-time allotment of 30 (60) connects as soon as they get their status badges.
The Resistance Is Futile — Try To Be Revenue Neutral
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.
No, wait! Here’s an idea. How long can you be inactive before Upwork deletes your account? There’s has to be some busy little Upwork bee trying to find new revenue neutral ways to charge freelancers. Right?