Following my mini moan about Freelancer the other day I decided that I’d look into how Freelancer has worked out for others. I trawled through review after review and was stunned to find that many people are of the opinion that the site and everything about it is a terrible, terrible scam. They say that it is impossible to get your money once you’ve earned it and that Freelancer employs people to make fake profiles and post jobs, encouraging freelancers to bid. And of course, with the free subscription you only have so many bids a month, so very soon you have to take a paid subscription to give you more bids in an attempt to find work.
Needless to say this was all very upsetting. In all my searching I have found only two positive reviews about the site and the way it function. The rest is very damning. My own experience is such that I’m not best happy with it at the moment. Even as a new freelancer I had hoped to find some work, but even the job I was invited to bid for by the host, went to another freelancer. I assume it did anyway; all communication with the chap involved stopped dead as soon as I placed my bid and provided my ‘100 word sample’ to ‘show off my skills.’ I did think it was a bit peculiar that the test was an article when the job was a proofreading role, but I thought I’d give it the benefit of the doubt.
That, however, is neither here nor there. The point of this post is to tell you that reviews are difficult to trust in any forum. Folk are far more vocal about things they don’t like, which is why it is so easy to find negative reviews about something. However it has recently become the trend for businesses (and some authors) to pay people to write reviews for them and leave them to be found scattered across the internet. When I was searching the internet for a good place to host The Write Feeling, I found lots of glowing reviews about every single host company. However I had to visit blogs to get what I felt was a real and true account of what people had actually experienced. After all, no business is going to post negative testimonials about themselves on the internet are they? My testimonials are from people I’ve provided a service who were happy with the end result. Why would I ask for a testimonial from someone who wasn’t happy (not that such a thing has happened – so far)?
Since everybody depends on word of mouth these days, reviews should be incredibly helpful. And yet, these days, I find that I trust them less and less because everyone, from those posting them, to those writing them seems to have an agenda. To that end, how do you know whether a review, positive or negative is true? How do you guys handle it? When picking a new service what helps you make the decision about who to go for?