Freelancer Policies

Last modified: April 17, 2013. oDesk reserves the right to change the Guidelines & Policies at any time.

1. Identity and freelancer profile

The oDesk community is made up of professionals from around the globe. To maintain a high-quality workplace for all oDeskers, identity information associated with an oDesk User Account must be real and verifiable.
  • Freelancer profiles must accurately represent the freelancer’s experience, skills, and personal information.
  • Profile photos should be clear and appropriate for a professional, global community. Logo, clip art, group pictures, or heavily digitally manipulated pictures are prohibited.
  • One account per user. Accounts should not be shared or duplicated in any way.
  • Attempting to mislead by falsely implying a relationship with oDesk or another company is not allowed.
  • Sharing contact information such as email, phone number, or Skype ID in profile is not allowed
  • Any offer of services that is spammy in nature is prohibited.

2. Job Applications

Successful job applications are complete, accurate, and professional. Applications should be sent only to projects for which a freelancer has the skills and ability to complete successfully. They must be written in English and include a cover letter created specifically for the job—“cut-and-paste” letters with little or no relevance are considered spam.
The following should not be included in a job application:
  • Any offer of services for the sole purpose of building good feedback.
  • Any offer of illegal activity or services that would violate the intellectual property rights, copyrights or terms of service of another service, product or website.
  • Content that is offensive or contains false or defamatory remarks.

3. oDesk Guarantee

The oDesk Guarantee is our promise that an hour worked is an hour paid, and an hour paid is an hour worked. It’s our way of showing respect for the work getting done on oDesk.
(Please note that the oDesk Guarantee does not apply to fixed-price projects or manual time. For more details and other limitations, see section 5.4 of the oDesk User Agreement.)

4. Disputes

Disagreements occasionally arise in every workplace, both online and off. On oDesk, clients have the right to dispute any hours worked for hourly contracts.
The most common reasons for disputes include:
  • Manual time billed without approval
  • Low activity levels or insufficient work memos as tracked by the oDesk Time Tracker
  • Screenshot reflects activity not associated with the work being billed
Please take a minute to familiarize yourself with our official dispute process.

5. Payments

Soliciting or processing payment outside of oDesk is prohibited for the safety and security of all oDeskers. If a client solicits work to be done and paid for outside of the oDesk platform, please report them immediately.
For more information, please see Section 2.4.3 of the oDesk User Agreement.

6. Feedback

Feedback that is honest and objective contributes to a vibrant and productive workplace. The best feedback focuses on the facts, while providing helpful information to both the recipient and the community as a whole.
We do not monitor, censor, or investigate feedback. However, on very rare occasions, we may delete ratings and feedback found to violate our User Agreement or the content guidelines below. Attempts to falsify feedback, manipulate, or coerce another user by threatening negative feedback are strictly prohibited, as is any offer to sell or buy services in exchange for positive feedback.
Feedback containing the following types of content may be removed or edited:
  • Spam, advertising or other commercial content
  • Content that endorses illegal activity
  • Content that personally identifies another user
  • Political, religious, or social commentary rather than a genuine comment regarding the work experience
  • Profane, vulgar, obscene, slanderous, libelous, threatening or discriminatory language, or adult material

7. Tracking time on oDesk

For hourly contracts, freelancers must track their time using the Team App. This allows them to accurately log hours which are in turn covered by the oDesk Guarantee. All logged time must be:
  • Honest and accurate
  • Completed by the hired individual
  • Related to the completion of that contract

8. Agency Policies

Agencies represent a set of freelancers who provide services on oDesk. These agencies are responsible for the actions of all its members, including its freelancers, staffing managers, and administrators.
An agency does not own a freelancer’s profile and cannot restrict a freelancer’s departure or future use of his or her profile on oDesk. Feedback and work histories are retained by both the freelancer and agency upon a freelancer’s departure.
All agency members must act in accordance with oDesk policies. Violations of these policies can result in suspension of the agency and their freelancers:
  • All agency freelancers must comply with the policies set forth for freelancers on oDesk.
  • An agency must use the oDesk platform when working with any client found through oDesk.
  • Every person working on behalf of an agency must have their own account and freelancer profile. These profiles must be associated with their agency on oDesk. Sharing accounts is not permitted and can result in the suspension of the agency and their freelancers.
  • If a freelancer is no longer working for an agency, the agency may not use the freelancer's profile in any way and may not restrict the freelancer’s use of their own profile.
  • Agencies cannot advertise on oDesk to recruit freelancers.
  • Agency profiles may not advertise products or services outside or beyond the scope of the oDesk workplace.
  • Staffing managers cannot apply on behalf of agency freelancers unable, unwilling, or unavailable to do the work.
  • Staffing managers may interview on behalf of their agency freelancers; however, clients must be informed of the management relationship.
  • Staffing managers must specifically state who will be working on the project. Should there be a change in staff on a project, the client must be informed and approve prior to the change.