The Death of Freelancing: Upwork Project Catalog | Hacker Noon

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@nebojsa.todorovicNebojsa “Nesha” Todorovic

I smoke like Mark Twain, drink like Ernest Hemingway, kiss like Charles Bukowski, write like myself.

If you can’t beat them, don’t join them – copy them!

That’s exactly what Upwork did with the Project Catalog, formerly known for not very long as the Pre-Packaged Projects. So, what’s this Upwork Project Catalog all about, and why should you care or worry about it?

Well, it seems that Upwork is “fiverrishing.” From now on, you will be able to sell your gigs (pre-packaged projects) on Upwork, just like you’ve been doing it all this time on Fiverr. Here’s what the official announcement in Upwork Community has to say about that:

It’s clear that the Pre-Packaged Projects have “evolved” into Upwork Project Catalog. So, this is no coincidence, thus, there’s no need to avoid the big green elephant in our freelance room. Upwork is copying Fiverr’s business model!

Am I exaggerating?! I don’t think so.

Yeah, this is a good question, indeed. I’m not a web developer, but let’s say, for the sake of this story, I want to hire one. So, I’m NOT going to HIRE, but BUY a “10-page website.” OK. Cool.

What if I want some additional features on my hypothetical website? “The details may change slightly from project to project” can easily turn into dramatically. What am I supposed to do as a writer?

Here’s my “package” of 10 blog posts. I’m selling it. You’re buying it. What these blogs are going to be about? How much time would I need for some proper research? The price you’re seeing ain’t going to be the final price you’re paying. Right?

Upwork is trying to convince both clients and freelancers that Project Catalog is the best way to save time. Well, I think it’s better to actually spend some time “negotiating” before you officially begin working on a project than clarifying and adjusting afterward. What can possibly go wrong?

As you can see, Upwork is already considering the “project protections.” So, you can cancel a “project” (gig) within 24 hours, and even remove one client review monthly. Why? Are you anticipating potential negative reviews already?

I’m Not Excited – I’m Worried!

It’s not a secret that many freelancers have accounts on more than one freelance platform, Upwork and Fiverr included. That’s why I wasn’t surprised by some freelancer’s excitement expressed on Twitter:

What’s even more shocking is a discovery that some Redditers have found a way to directly “import” their Fiverr gigs into Upwork’s Project Catalog.

At the end of our freelance days, would you be able to tell a difference between Upwork and Fiverr? This wasn’t a rhetorical question. Here it is, see for yourself:

I don’t know about you, but if it hadn’t been for the Upwork’s logo, I would think I’m looking at Fiverr freelancers (gigs). Really, what’s a difference? Being someone who’s selling gigs as products and a “traditional” freelancer who’s submitting proposals, negotiating, communicating, and working on a project, are two completely different universes. I’m not talking about good or bad in the freelance (gig) industry, but rather about the obvious. There’s so much more than just semantics here at stake.

Each Time A Client Buys, A Little Bit of Freelancing Dies

So, what’s going to happen next? I’ve imagined hundreds of worst-case scenarios for the future of freelancing, but this wasn’t one of them. This is a lose-lose situation for Upwork. If this “experiment” doesn’t fail, it will only prove that Fiverr has a better business model. If Upwork Project Catalog fails, it will prove again that Fiverr got it right from day one.

And, what about freelancers “traditionalists?” Well, one Upwork Community Guru hit the painful spot with his comment:

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine

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