The Day That Upwork Died

On June 21, 2016, despite protests from all corners, Upwork installed its new pricing scheme, which for every contract less than $500, jumped Upwork’s cut of a freelancer’s earnings from 10% to 20%, while at the same time introducing a 2.75% free for all clients who hire from Upwork.

 

upworkfailI’ve already extolled the highway robbery of Upwork’s move in a previous post, and I’m happy to report that a good number of my long-term clients have approached me via outside channels asking if we can find an alternate means of payment because THEY don’t want to pay the 2.75%! I’ve happily agreed, and it’s been serendipitous – no long lag times waiting on Upwork’s payment allocation; in most cases I’m submitting invoices one day and getting paid the next.

 

The announcement was made in late April and in my little corner of the freelance universe, the ripples were immediate. My Upwork-based earnings dropped 32% from April to May as my clients started suggesting we move our arrangements off the platform. From May to June, my Upwork-based earnings have dropped 62% – and I’m loving every minute of it, I’m on pace for my monthly numbers and I’m actually making more money, since Paypal takes around 2-3% instead of Upwork’s 10%.

 

And now, with apologies to Don McLean, a musical tribute to Upwork’s demise.

A long, long time ago

I can still remember when Upwork used to care about us,

And I knew my future was bright

Cuz I can edit and copywrite

And maybe make my clients happy for a while But Upwork, well, they sure got greedy,

20%? That sure seems needy.

Bad news in my email

A price change destined to fail.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about their foolish pride,
My clients and I are headed outside,
The day that Upwork died.

[Chorus:]
So bye bye to Upwork’s price bloat,
Hoped that Stephane would give in, but he needs a new boat,
And all the freelancers watch their dollars get stretched,
Singin’ man, we sure miss oDesk …
Man, we sure miss oDesk.

Now you can have your 20 percent,
But I’ve still got to pay the rent, so
It’s Paypal and Skype and other apps for me.
Do you believe you’re too big too fail?
That you could convince us through emails?
And town halls where you never answer real concerns?

Well, I know that you’re in love with money
Cause my clients told me something funny
Now you’re charging them extra dough?
Do you think we’re all that slow?

I am a father of twins with a beagle who bays,
A wife, a house, and bills to pay
But I won’t be robbed, still have my pride
And that’s why Upwork died.

[Chorus:]
So bye bye to Upwork’s price bloat,
Hoped that Stephane would give in, but he needs a new boat,
And all the freelancers watch their dollars get stretched,
Singin’ man, we sure miss oDesk …
Man, we sure miss oDesk.

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