Upwork, one of the global freelancing platforms announced a policy change on April 2nd, 2019 that will impact thousands of freelancers from across the globe including Pakistan. This change in policy will largely squeeze the income bracket of new to low earning users.
The policy says that free tokens that are known as ‘Connects’ will no longer be free for bidders and will cost the US $ 0.15 for each bid one places over a project. Depending on the popularity and demand of the project, a freelancer may require one to six tokens to apply, which means for about a ‘dollar’ per submission.
This abrupt change in the plan has come as a shock to many because earlier, bidders had 60 free connects as part of the basic plan. This tough blow is going to affect most on the third world countries where every 3 in 10 survives over the ‘Gig Economy’.
However, the company’s official response to the raging anger says, “With clients like Airbnb, Microsoft, Dropbox and General Electric, we want to help professional freelancers to win more jobs. With paid Connects, we expect freelancers will submit fewer proposals, increasing likelihood of winning projects and making it easier for clients to identify high-quality talent.”
According to the Upwork investor’s report 2018, CEO Stephane Kasriel states, “Now is the time for all of us to work together to ensure the best possible future for the billions of workers in the world, their families, and the generations to come. Having become a public company in 2018, Upwork is now privileged to play a larger role than ever in steering this future.
He further added, “2018 was the year Upwork formalized its mission: To create economic opportunities so people have better lives. This fuels everything we do.”
It is clear that the policy change is synced with the company’s new strategic financial model, in effect to going public with $253.4 million of total revenue in 2018 and showcased the projected revenue turnover of $298 million to $304 million for 2019.
Another driving reason for the change is that freelancing marketplace’s revenue is directly proportional to ‘Gross Service Volume‘, and Upwork’s revenue will deliberately grow as the GSV grows.
In short, it is just the company itself that’s benefitting from the additional charges, whereas both clients and the freelancers will suffer from the change. If we put Pakistan into consideration, this will double the pain as Pakistan’s economy is witnessing constant currency fluctuation and $0.15 will cumulatively cost great money in terms of ruppee.
Have anything to add? Feel free to share it in the comments below.