Friday, April 17, 2009...3:24 pm

Is People Per Hour any use?

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During last autumn’s climate of fear about a collapse in the publishing industry, I registered with People Per Hour – a freelance marketplace that allows you to bid on projects posted by a whole range of potential clients. I was curious to see how it worked, and also thought I might even get some paying work out of it.

The verdict? After receiving dozens of job notifications and bidding on several of them – no, it doesn’t really work. It’s not a scam, but it has limited use for established editorial freelancers.

At least, it didn’t work for me. I guess it works for the clients, as there seem to be plenty of bids on most projects. And I guess it worked for whoever put in those winning bids. So what went wrong?

In some ways, People Per Hour is a bit like eBay – you can build up feedback, or recommendations, from other clients on work you’ve done, so that you have a visible track record of competence. It’s what I do in the real world, with recommendations from people I know and have worked for.

But unlike eBay it’s a bit difficult to get started if no one will employ you and, therefore, no one will recommend you. A bit Catch-22.

You can also put samples of your work online and fill in lots of detail in the CV/resumé section – so maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. I haven’t really spent enough time on my online profile to attract clients.

But there are other problems with the site. The main one is the inability of clients to put together a meaningful brief. You’ll often get a brief that asks for “30 blog posts”, or “eight articles”, without specifying how many words they want. And as freelance writers tend to work on a word rate, that is fairly useless.

Or take this one for Web research & Content editing.

I am putting together a web-project that requires information-gathering about how to do business around the world. I need an educated writer who will research, gather information and compile 900-1200 word articles on how to do business in each country.

Er – how many countries exactly? Doesn’t say. I mean, there are nearly 200.

Another issue is the vagueness of the fees on offer. This project, for “Article writing”, is typical.

We require 5 quality, keyword targeted articles of approximately 400 – 500 words on a variety of topics relating to tyres / minibuses / general driving. Each article should be original, engaging and informative with accurate spelling and punctuation. Clarification will be given to the successful bidder to confirm article ideas / titles. The articles are required immediately. Longer term we will require 1 or 2 articles a week.

And the fee? “Less than £250”, it says. But £250 for what? The initial five articles? Or for an ongoing commitment to supply them indefinitely? Probably the former – but it’s all a bit vague.

If you want clarification you can post questions to the site, the way you can on eBay, but clients don’t seem to respond to them very often.

And, while one of the bids I saw accepted for a job I punted for was below above mine [sorry, proofreading slip],  a lot of the writing work also seems to require an awful lot of words for very little money.

A mental health website asking for three blog posts a week, at 350-400 words each, accepted a bid of £220 for the first 30 posts. That’s about £18 per thousand words, or ten times less than I would think of an acceptable, if pretty low, rate. Yes – there’s probably minimal research involved, but still. £220 is about a day and a half’s pay – which isn’t very long to write 12,000 words.

Which means, of course, that the quality of the work will be a bit slipshod. I was amused at a comment made by one company offering a Large Scale Copy Writing Project that:

“My previous Copy Writer completed around 200 articles per 10 days – his speed was adequate, however his quality was not.”

Well, given that he’s asking for 20 articles of 300-350 words each per day, I’m not really surprised.

Lessons learned about online markets. They:

  • Open up the industry – This one allows me far greater access to potential clients than I could ever have achieved rootling around myself on Google. And clients wanting editorial services have access to a vastly increased pool of labour.
  • Drive down costs – with 100 bids on that blogging project I mentioned above, you’re bound to get one that’s in your price range. Problem for the writer is, it also cuts your earnings down to the bone.
  • Drive down quality – Well, that’s kind of a given. If you have to write 1,000 words an hour to get a half decent rate, then you’ll tend to produce hack work.
  • Democratise writing – Anyone can bid on these jobs, so you don’t need a journalism degree, or NCTJ qualifications, or have worked in the publishing industry. If you can write at all, and want to pitch in, you can. Yes, this means quality can be an issue, but then I’ve met a lot of so-called “professional journalists” who can’t write to save their lives.
  • Undermines the growing university stranglehold on journalism – as you may know, I’m not a big fan of the journalism BA. Markets like this at least level the playing field for writers who don’t want to spend £20,000 getting a degree in a subject that should be taught vocationally.

So, some good, some bad. People Per Hour also reveals some other very interesting things about freelance writing.

Most obviously, that a lot of journalism/writing is not about the writing. Instead, many of these projects are for the web, and they tend to make a priority of search engine optimisation (SEO), web development and link-building (ie getting other sites to link to the one you’re writing).

What this means for freelancers is that being able to generate beautiful copy is just not that important anymore – at least for an awful lot of projects. The skills you actually need are more in the realm of web analytics, SEO, scanability, building links. Though, interestingly, a lot of the project listings do stress the need for correct spelling and grammar. Graduates take note.

So – online freelance marketplaces. Is it worth trying to get work through them?

I think yes, if you’re:

  • A journalism student trying to get some experience
  • Working in an English-literate low-wage economy wanting access to the western publishing industry
  • Someone with no qualifications or experience wanting to break into writing

But if you’re already a jobbing freelance writer, not so much.

Will this change in time? I bet it will. I suspect that online marketplaces will steadily drive down the money publishers are prepared to pay for average copy. Though it may not affect the money they’ll pay for really good writing so much, as that may still be at a premium.

Do I think this is a disaster? Not really. I’ve never been a fan of restricted entry into a profession (or trade, really, when it comes to journalism) as a way of propping up wages.

Too many journalists get away with writing sloppy copy and earn money for it. If you’re good enough to make a living at something, the secret to success is to develop more skills and, basically, be better at writing. Much better.

38 Comments

  • In addition to the extremely low wages that are available, PPH have a habit of including all sorts of hidden costs in their use of the website as well like ‘connections’ where you/a client have to actually pay to be put in contact with each other.

    You would think that the subscription fees and commissions that PPH take would be enough but apparently not. When you add everything up, there are cheaper and more user friendly sites around.

    You might find more value in http://www.professionalsupermarket.com or http://www.elance.com. Over to you :)

  • Interesting. If any readers have experience with any of these sites, please feel free to comment…

  • I have done four or five projects via PPH. It is easier for me to get work because I am bidding on legal projects, which average around 5-12 bids, but even so I bid on around five projects for every one I am awarded.
    I agree that the way the site is structured, where the client can state a maximum bid, drives down prices, and I resent the 10% commission, but at least they are reliable and offer an escrow service.
    However, my partner, who is a freelance copywriter, has bid for dozens of projects without success. As you say, FUB, it’s a vicious circle in terms of getting recommendations and work.

  • I’ve had a reasonable amount of work from PPH (over 2K in value), but it helps that I came across it early on and managed to get some feedback.

    In general the project specifications are awful and it’s usually taking a stab in the dark when making a bid. I have won bids only to cancel my acceptance when I discover the project is different to what I had expected. Low budgets (ebay clone for less than £250 kind of thing) abound but I have had several projects with reasonable budgets and see that I sometimes lose out to competition where the buyer has accepted a higher bid. In general, though the PPH site often feels like the buyers want a lot for very little and the project descriptions themselves often barely literate.

    Generally, my work through PPH has been at a much lower rate than I’d often charge and that 10% sometimes hurts – especially the £15 minimum for quick jobs.

  • As a freelance web designer having tried people per hour, a lot of your comments ring true for me too.

    Websites like this work for people that want to compete on price, but not quality. Many posts ask for a company website for £250 which amounts to one day’s work for someone like me with 8 years experience.

    I suppose this is likely to happen in an online marketplace as the prospective client does not have any relationship with the suppliers.

    In marketing terms, an ad which mentions product prices is a ‘direct response’ ad, where as those which generally convey the quality of the brand are ‘awareness’ ads.

    These terms could also be applied to how you market yourself as a freelancer. If you compete on price, then you’re doing the ‘direct response’ ad i.e. ‘I can do it the cheapest on People Per Hour’, if on quality, then it’s ‘awareness’ and you’re promoting yourself via word of mouth, networking etc.

    So I think that it depends on whether you choose to compete on price or quality as to whether PPH is the right tool.

  • Do not go freelance with these people because once you begin to work for someone they automatically deduct £15 from your salary and getting paid through them is a nightmare.They get their money from the person who hires you £24, so theY are making pots of money and interest as well on your salary ,DO NOT GO THERE!

  • In response to barbara:

    PPH may well try and keep your money to earn interest on it, but i’m sure a quick e-mail to the FSA (Financial Services Authority) would solve any slow payment problems people might have with PPH.

    Threaten most companies with their governing bodies and they will bend over backwards for you ;)

    Energy Suppliers – Mention OFGEM
    Telecommunication Suppliers – Mention OFCOM
    Insurance or any financial organisation – Mention the FSA

  • Having experienced P.P.H. my observations are that you have to submit lots of bids and this costs money, as you have to keep buying credits to bid. You also have to bid for categories.

    If you have not done any work from P.P.H. you will not get any work. “If no one will employ you and, therefore, no one will recommend you. A bit Catch-22. ”

    I suspect that many posting jobs are getting paid the appropriate amount for the work from the client and then trying to sub-contract it to a minion for a pittance. There are a lot of very genuine businesses on P.P.H. who suffer because of the experience of the above.

    There are other problems which are that a lot of work is on going and at what point is the contract as advertised on People Per Hour ends and a ‘new’ contract starts.

    There is no guarantee despite the efforts of P.P.H. that you will get your money as the client can claim you were too slow, did not reach the target, misunderstood the brief.

    I am producing my own web site/web page and very happy to post details of freelancers at no cost to themselves.

    Please send your details to mail@motivationbournemouth.co.uk

  • The main concern that most people have when using these sites is that the amount people get paid is tiny because people offer to do work for very small amounts. What OfficeCavalry.com aims to do is eliminate this by rewarding people for high quality work rather than the cheapest price. There’s no dutch auctions! Employers can also choose to select the freelancer they most want and invite them to bid on a particular project.

  • People Per Hour is painful really. I’ve now bid for fifteen projects and have had interest from a grand total of one person. This one person still has a shortlist of half a dozen people to go through though so I’m not confident that’s going to happen!

    I’m going to get to twenty bids and then call it quits. There’s no way that a qualified and highly experienced freelancer can compete with the cut-price freelancers – be they university students, recent graduates or people from India/Nepal who can happily bid at lower prices courtesy of having a lower cost of living (maybe I’ll move to Nepal – it’s a lovely place after all!).

    I have to admit I’ve been picky about what I’ve bid for, and I’ve also not dropped my rates… but why should I? I’ve spent 17 years learning my trade and you get what you pay for… unfortunately the majority of people posting work only want the cheapest freelancer, and in these days of t’internet they don’t necessarily have to be in the UK.

    So to sum up, if you’re a serious, qualified, experienced, UK-based freelancer, your time is better spent elsewhere.

  • Hi David

    Your assessment is pretty much in line with everyone else. I did wonder if there was any value in this kind of marketplace – but it seems it tends to turn into a bargain basement, with buyers looking only for very low rates (and being surprised when the quality is not up to much).

    It does reflect the view that written content, especially, is simply not very valuable…

  • Certain freelancers post phony jobs which are then awarded to each other, resulting in glowing testimonials all round. This helps explain why so many job descriptions are verging on the incoherent. . .and why people who can scarcely string two words together win legitimate projects. The other point is that nearly all clients are looking to pay peanuts. And guess what?

  • Very helpful article – and comments!

  • I used to work for PPH. Its just a weird company – they desperately want to creat a start up culture but have only suceeded in breeding fear and loathing. Its a little sweat shop.Avoid, avoid, avoid,

  • Tacky – you can do voiceovers for porn films there. Oh, and loads of jobs doing descriptions of free porn films as well. Plus one job I reported to the site administrators that was obviously a paedo who wanted someone to tape a child of 2 or 3 reading some “really really no mistake its a paedo lines” –

    It’s garbage. Lots of ‘editorial’ work from India – these firms double up as translation bureaus, do a quick ‘Google translate’, then get someone English to try to make it read well in English – trouble is , a)the translation is inaccurate, and b)its an NHS patient’s medical records- surprised no one has died yet!

  • Glad I’m not the only one.

    I even contacted PPH to ask why their site devalued writing so much- they claimed it was the market not them. So I pointed out their own ad asking for writers at less than minimum wage…

    http://mumazing.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/people-per-hour-worth-a-look-or-another-way-to-devalue-writing/
    Sam recently posted..People per hour – worth a look or another way to devalue writing

  • I’ve had the same experience, resulting in the same opinion, as many of you.

    PeoplePerHour devalues writing – there’s no doubt about that. But I don’t think clients who are serious about their businesses use it. I mean, if you put time, money and effort into the source of your income, are you going to cut corners? Okay, some people who aren’t familiar with copywriting might; you know, the old idea of “I can write a letter, I just don’t have the time to write my site.”. But most legitimate and serious entrepreneurs and generally smart people will go elsewhere.

    PeoplePerHour’s days are numbered – the low cost and low quality model just isn’t sustainable. Especially as most of the work advertised is for website copywriting, and Google’s algorithm is evolving to wipe out junk sites.

  • Freelance UnboundNo Gravatar
    September 6th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Nick

    I’m noticing a different model for written content in the internet marketing fraternity – decently written articles for sale by the writer at pretty low prices, but the money comes from selling sets to more than one customer (on the assumption that Google doesn’t – yet – penalise syndication). Then users of the content can also use software to rewrite (or spin) the articles so they read differently for republication with different sites.

    There’s still corner-cutting going on – but now there are options to create (and fund) reasonably high quality writing work in the first place…

  • I know what you mean. But this model relies on the software used being accurate and, to some extent, creative. To date, most if not all software of this nature is pretty crude. The mighty Microsoft has been toiling away with Word for years now, and it still doesn’t have a writer’s grasp of grammar. So I don’t store much faith in these programs.

    Like anything else, there’s no shortcut around getting a professional in. It’s just taking a while for this to sink in. But with the advent of content as king, it’s coming. And with more hard copy publications going out of business, there are plenty of writers adapting their skills for the online market.

  • My own experience? Joining PPH as a freelance copywriter and graphic designer, I was ecstatic when I won my first brief. The description was vague to the gist of being “write five sports game articles” for around £60. The money did not really matter too much at this point because just starting out, I wanted experience of doing an actual client brief and wanted something towards my portfolio.

    Having won the brief (I think only 2 people bidded) the real details emerged. The guy was a website developer and was building a gaming website for someone so wanted reviews on five computer games (2 of which I had never played and did not own the console on which the games were exclusive to) so the brief became £30 for 3 articles. The kicker was that I was not allowed to attribute ownership to the articles. It annoyed me that the brief did not specify ghostwriting, as I probably would not have bid for it in that case.

    In the end, I churned out 5000 words worth of writing which I wasn’t even allowed to say was written by myself.

    I guess my main gripe is the lackadaisical manner in which briefs can be posted up but the restrictions are completely on the writers, in terms of the bid content, etc. If the brief submission was subjected to stricter guidelines, with certain stipulations being made mandatory, then the quality of work would possibly grow.

  • “I used to work for PPH. Its just a weird company – they desperately want to creat a start up culture but have only suceeded in breeding fear and loathing. Its a little sweat shop.Avoid, avoid, avoid,” – Michael Phelps.

    I also used to work at PPH earlier this year and had almost the exact same opinion. I was curious to see how they continued to progress, but as I predicted they have continued their high turnover of staff… Xenios and Simos had a good idea, just very poorly executed sadly. I genuinely expect this company to fail… big time!

  • PPH is a bit dodgy since you have to get into a bidding war just to get a job – that’s ridiculous, and if you win they change their description for what they want done. Very poor.

    There is anew website called bluegig.com coming soon which promises to have quality services. Its not a bidding war.

    Their blog I think is on blogger, something like bluegigmarket. Its launching in April.

  • Glad I just found this blog post, had my suspicions about PPH, you guys have just reaffirmed my thoughts; account deactivated.

  • Me too, I’m glad that I’ve checked out about PPH. I will not activated my account.

  • Danai PanagiwtopoulouNo Gravatar
    March 16th, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I really can’t relate neither to the review, nor to the comments below.. I’ve been using peopleperhour for a long time now and find it great! I think you should reconsider.. And it’s true that you must put some effort to the online profile on PPH and to your portofolio but i think that’s equivalent to writing a decent CV for a job in “real world” so it’s necessary..

  • I have tried PPH and find it really bad. When people put jobs up we all have to bid on it, its stupid. And when you do win the job what they originaly asked for isa not what you have to do and you end up doing more, resulting in being out of pocket. Its full of flaws PPH.

    I have been trying to find an alternative for months and managed to find bluegig.com but its not ready yet. I contacted them on facebook (www.facebook.com/bluegigmarket) and they let me pre-register services I wanted to offer. I sent them a few message and very impressed with the responses and great communication back. I will be able to chekc out the site before it launches and list my services which is great for me. I see that someone else commented on bluegig. Seems to be a good alternative.

  • Stay well clear of PPH, they are going nowhere. Having been a freelancer with them for a few months and won a couple of contracts I found them to be extremely inefficient and very poorly organised. I have been taken off the site on two occasions without so much as a by your leave, no explanation, nothing!! It appears that as soon as you request money from the client everything grinds to a halt, irrespective of the fact that the client had deposited funds. I repeat, stay well clear of PPH unless you want to add major hassle to your business.

  • The guys dont care about customer service I used it a few times and had problems with a guy who had no idea what he was doing. I informed them that he was not doing what I asked for my website. They never replied to the emails I sent saying they never recieved them when I phoned up, its a scam.

    Avoid like a plague

  • The new site is nightmare. Fees for freelancers have gone through the roof (15% on the first £175, 3.5% on everything after and 1.9% on Paypal payments, which have to made on anything that isn’t in your currency, plus you still have to pay for extra bids.) But my biggest gripe is the amount of time they take to pay. Once the client pays, you can be waiting over a week for PPH to ‘process’ the payment and another three days before you get it. No one’s happy with the new set up and there’s no real response from PPH. Game over for PPH!

  • I’m not a fan of ratedpeople. I hope bluegig.com get some more professional services on their site as I like the look of it and how easy it is to use, plus ive never had a problem with it finding what i want. I’m sure they will get even better as time goes on.

    Ive used a few similar sites and been rather dissapointed with the service.

  • I used Peopleperhour and got work there, the rates are lower than they say and the site is full of bugs but the reason I will not use them again is that they are not upfront about what commission they take. You read the big print and it says 15% , and you think, gulp, hey that’s a lot but ok. Then when you get paid you find they have taken 18.5% and you think WHAAT?? and so you query it, well their support staff never answer but the other freelancers are helpful and they answer, and it turns out that there is an extra 2.5% VAT on top of the 15% but this is written in tiny print and hidden on a different part of the site. When you look close you find that a lot of people have been conned by this and are annoyed about it, PPH have been told it is misleading but they do not change it, they still write 15% in big letters, so they are clearly deceiving people on purpose and this is unethical.

    The icing on the cake is that if you want to withdraw your payment via paypal there is an additional 1.8% fee so in all Peopleperhour have taken over 20% of your fee.

  • I have flirted with PPH over the years, every once in a while logging on in a vain attempt to drum up some extra business, I am a freelance software engineer/Web developer ninja code monkey.

    I have landed one job off PPH in 4 years, and that job was a complete waste of time, netting me a grand total of £100. The client, really had no idea of what he really wanted or needed, but basically wanted somebody to come in and save the day for him! For the £100, I basically had to work piece meal, for a week, being in contact with the client via skype/email/mobile etc, 24/7 , literally I had a skype conversation with said client at 02:00.

    Essentially the job broke down to, bug hunting and fixing issues on a website. Apparently a website that the company had taken over a maintenance agreement for, but had no real experience in the technologies used.

    After about the first week of working for a £100, I informed the client, that realisitically I needed to charge my actual day rates, as this couldn’t continue. This was only met with the old “do this for us now, and there will be more future work” line, which to be honest if all my clients ever delivered on this line, I would have to grow a company the size of Google to deal with demand. Needless to say, relations became frayed towards the end of the week, and I had to tell them, things just couldn’t continue in this manner, and I could no longer dedicate my valuable time, so such low rewards. Cut a long story short, waste of time.

    I agree with the fact that, most “clients” have no real idea of how to articulate what they actually need, or really any realistic budgets.

    In most of the cases in the Software/Web Dev section anyway, the jobs seem to be derived from “pub chats” on a friday night. i.e. “We need a web developer to develop an ‘Ebay / YouTube/ Google/ Insert any Other high profile website of your choice here ‘ urgently for £250 Extremely urgent we would like to launch the business by the time you finish reading this job spec” , or a just wacked out requests for support ala “I need somebody to help me with WordPress site” , which translates to “I want some dedicated one to one training on how to use wordpress, delivered via phone/Skype but I only have £25″

    In general, my personal view is that PPH is a complete waste of time, but I will still login occasionally to check to see if things change”
    Gary Woodfine recently posted..My Development Workstation Set Up

  • Stay away from people per hour. Awful customer services. Freelancers who rip you off and get protected by peopleperhour terms and conditions. Don’t trust this site. Use another.

  • Hi there,

    I get scammed by PeoplePerHour.com two time. the take a lot of money in fees and now the steal my money and people money..

    Please check the screenshot that proof you this is not honest company for the freelance jobs:

    Case one about £480/$776: http://goo.gl/UY5hVN
    Case two about $718: http://goo.gl/fz26Ik

    Date: 22-11-2013

    Beware to not get deceived by this company (PPH) :(

    Thanks

  • I’ve been trying PPH for several months now on and off for freelance writing and photography work. Got my first job recently simply giving a student advice via Skype on how they can get into freelance journalism, spoke for about 45 mins for £6 equating to £4.50 after PPH fees.

    My thoughts are, Buyers on PPH want a lot for very little. Some of the numbers are mind boggling, already mentioned on this thread. It’s a buyers market and so that will always push down prices. Too many folk chasing the work.

    Another ruse used by buyers is asking you to write a sample article, did that once, great article they said, never heard back after that, they probably used it and thought we wont bother paying him. Also got asked to write sample products descriptions, provided a few samples, then no more is heard.

    I’m also trying to sell cheap wedding photography packages on the site so we’ll see how that goes. I’m just piddling with it right now, see if it goes anywhere but not expecting much. That’s the best approach with PPH. Keep it going in the background but don’t hold out much hope with it.

  • Atrocious and appalling are the nicest things I can say!

    I’ve been using PPH as both a seller and buyer for quite a few years now. I was so amazed with the type of things on offer initially. However, as I started purchasing and selling. I started to see the huge cracks within the company. It is all one big sham to con consumers out of their hard earned cash.

    I also use other freelancing sites and some of them offer verification of employees through ID checks etc. This offers much more transparency and accountability for the people you are potentially going to work with. While they all differ in the ways they are run. They all operate on a similar model by offering to be an escrow to ensure that as a buyer your work is complete and as a seller your money is received. However, due to numerous complaints and shoddy service. I have also witnessed major changes in the way things are done.

    Firstly, they used to offer a telephone number and the people answering seemed very unprofessional and like they come from the council estate side of town. They would often fob you off with short answers and just keep you on the phone repeating sorry they can’t do anything and how sorry they are. Remaining apologetic, brash, rude and quite brazen.

    My first bad situation was during a telesales campaign that I wanted to run. The seller was silly enough to use his real name and once I realised he was a convicted criminal. The scam all came to light. The escrow system doesn’t normally release the money straight away and it takes time to be released. This is used to protect sellers. However, on the other hand. If a seller releases the invoice and the buyer doesn’t reject it. The invoice and funds are unrecoverable and paid automatically. When signing up you do not need to put many details other than you name and email. This should show you that as a consumer if there is no such transparency. Why on earth would you purchase from the website.

    The telesales agent made fake follow up emails to show he had done the work and then charged me around £300 – £500 pounds. I soon did a background check with a simple Google search and found out that he was a conman. He had burned down a hotel and been in prison. I was absolutely flabbergasted and shocked to say the least. I called up PPH and they didn’t seem to care that much. They said they deactivated his account and cannot recover the funds. I said to myself that I will recover through PayPal, as they kept repeating their garbage. Pending the claim that I made to PayPal. Their account was frozen as a result and they sent me a very rude email saying why did you not ask us for help and in a very rude tone said why did you do that??! To which I thought what kind of low company is this.

    I also had solicitation through a fake call centre based in Dubai by an owner called Adam and another one who promised me targeted emails. They almost conned me and I was clever enough to see they were not genuine. There is a plethora of scam sellers online. Even the highly rated sellers are fake and with fake reviews. You will see so many similar names and it doesn’t take a genius to work it out. I believe that I was probably the only seller on there with real and genuine reviews!

    Furthermore, I also had a buyer change his order half way through for a £3500 project. I had already completed the work and was left out of pocket by £1500 pounds!

    I recently purchased a press release and it was completed and there were minor amendments. The buyer was highly rated on the site and so I felt that I was in good hands. However, the buyer quickly sent the invoice on first draft and I thought this was very cheeky and unprofessional. I didn’t reject the invoice, as I wanted to pay them and felt it was ok. The changes were just one or two words. The second part of the job was to send the PR. However, to date it has never been sent and I don’t even have a copy of the amended version. The invoice was then automatically released after 7 days and I was very busy. I thought he will reply and as a gesture of good will I didn’t reject it as we were having dialogue every few days. As soon as the invoice was released he has disappeared for around a month now. PPH state they cannot recover my funds. They are appalling and their behaviour is atrocious. They are one of the most unprofessional and low ended companies that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. As a seller of hourlies and popular featured services. I would often have sellers threaten me to give free work and they would not release the invoices. They would blackmail me to do extra work that was not included in the cost given. This website is a sham through and through for decent freelancers. The only ones that are making money are the big scammer owners at PPH and the scam sellers. Stay away from PPH at all costs!

    P.S. 15% fees are a joke!

  • Hi Everyone,

    My name is Mike and I am currently in the process of developing a new and innovative online freelancing marketplace. I am extremely passionate about improving the user experience and I have created a very simple 9 question survey based on your personal experiences of being an online freelancer. I would very much appreciate it if you could spend 2-3 minutes completing my survey. Please note you do not need to provide any personal details.

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2FLMLH2

    Many thanks for your time

  • As a buyer rather than a seller my experience of PPH is that it is a terrible way of getting help for any project.

    I had a long battle to get my money refunded after they awarded the seller even though he had not completed the work, thankfully I got a refund via PayPal’s buyer protection.

    As many have said here because of the bidding structure, buyers are lured into choosing low prices over quality.

    A much better structure i’ve been using as a seller is AirPair whereby you define your rates, and have an opportunity to bid for the job, but not on price as the buyer also defines their hourly rate upfront, there’s no private messaging or viewing of who else your competing agains.

    So buyer and seller are matched equally, and rather than an automated ticketing system there is a real account manager in between should something go wrong.

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