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Feature access changes: site to be both more open and more focused
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 12:13
SITE FOUNDER
Mar 24, 2006

Dear site users,

Changes will be made over the next few days to the site in an access policy shift designed to make the site (1) more open, and (2) more focused.

To explain: for one thing, general information and features in several areas will be made available more openly. Meanwhile, the type of interaction that may lead to working relationships, will be restricted to members more thoroughly. Specifically, changes will be noticed in three areas of the site: the Blue Board, job postings, and the new profiles.

Details:

- The Blue Board will be made another degree more accessible; parts of most Blue Board records will now be visible, including the numerical values of "likelihood of working again" (LWA) entries made by site users. (Outsourcer contact information and comments accompanying LWA entries are still shown only to members and those who have purchased access to the record.)

This step toward greater openness, like similar previous steps, is expected to lead to more Blue Board contributions, and thereby benefit the entire ProZ.com community.

- The Blue Board applications system that had been in "beta" testing has been re-instituted. This system provides a way for ProZ.com members (members only) to express interest in working with select Blue Board outsourcers, and conversely, for outsourcer to specify the skillsets they seek. This will provide yet another means for top outsourcers and top translators to meet via ProZ.com.

- The job posting system will be modified so that (1) details of postings are visible to members and non-members alike, but (2) outsourcer contact details will not disclosed to non-members in the case of member-only job postings. This will represent an improvement for job posters (who posting will reach more people), and for members (whose quotes will not be distracted from.)

- When a sufficient number of members is present, job postings made by non-members may be automatically restricted to members for a certain period of time. (In other words, either the poster or the quoter should be a member for matching to happen quickly.) This would represent yet another competitive advantage for member translators, and now, member outsourcers.

- A new profile format has just been releassed for beta testing, with improved design and readability. Whereas profile pages have until now been "dead ends", in the new profile format, a navigational structure has been introduced to encourage increased networking among members and outsourcers. For example, profile owners have the option of crosslinking to select colleagues. This can be used to recommend colleagues for projects in language pairs and fields in which the profile owner does not work. Such crosslinking will have the effect of assisting potential outsourcers in finding the best person for a job, and also of boosting the page ranks of respected ProZ.com members.

For members, crosslinking is optional; if no referrals are entered, no crosslinks will be shown. In the case of non-members profiles, however, if no referrals have been entered, crosslinks will automatically be inserted to member profiles.

Since profile crosslinking will be *to* members only, the net expected effect is that members will be further rewarded with client and colleague exposure, even as profile traffic for all site users increases.

A menu, including a directory link, will also be displayed in the new profile pages. Members will have the option of showing or not showing these links; the links will always appear in non-member profiles.

----------------------

I anticipate that the above adjustments will increase site traffic and boost the amount of client/member matching that occurs.

Please let me know if you have any questions related to the above.


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Elizabeth Ardans  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
automatic crosslinks Mar 26, 2006

Henry wrote:

In the case of non-members profiles, however, if no referrals have been entered, crosslinks will automatically be inserted to member profiles.



Hello Henry!

I don't understand what you mean by this. If non members do not choose a specific member, to whom will the referrals go to?

Thanks!


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Walter Landesman
Uruguay
Local time: 13:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Me neither Mar 26, 2006

Elizabeth Ardans wrote:

Henry wrote:

In the case of non-members profiles, however, if no referrals have been entered, crosslinks will automatically be inserted to member profiles.



Hello Henry!

I don't understand what you mean by this. If non members do not choose a specific member, to whom will the referrals go to?

Thanks!


I don`t undestand how this will work either, Henry.
Could you explain further, please?

Thank you.

Walter

[Edited at 2006-03-27 02:39]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 12:13
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Automatically generated referrals Mar 27, 2006

Elizabeth Ardans wrote:
Henry wrote:
In the case of non-members profiles, however, if no referrals have been entered, crosslinks will automatically be inserted to member profiles.

I don't understand what you mean by this. If non members do not choose a specific member, to whom will the referrals go to?

In that case, up to three members will be selected, automatically, from among those who meet the searcher's criteria. For example, if a potential client searches Google for "dutch german translators", and arrives at the profile of a non-member, crosslinks to three dutch-german translators who are (paying) ProZ.com members may be displayed.


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101translations  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 17:13
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Do limit the limited jobs! Mar 29, 2006

Henry wrote:


- The job posting system will be modified so that (1) details of postings are visible to members and non-members alike, but (2) outsourcer contact details will not disclosed to non-members in the case of member-only job postings. This will represent an improvement for job posters (who posting will reach more people), and for members (whose quotes will not be distracted from.)


What is happening is that it's easy for non-members to figure out our details from the posting (as long as they can use Google), so instead of posted bids, we get emails and even phone calls. This is not really an improvement and will lead us to open all the postings to avoid this. We are particularly averse to phone calls.

We'd like to revert to the previous situation where - by specifying that a job was only for members - we actually mostly prevented non-members from bidding, instead of having them bid in a way that is simply less convenient for them and for us.


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 12:13
SITE STAFF
Outsourcer contact information is no longer shown to those ineligible to quote Mar 29, 2006

Giovanni Giusti wrote:
What is happening is that it's easy for non-members to figure out our details from the posting (as long as they can use Google), so instead of posted bids, we get emails and even phone calls. This is not really an improvement and will lead us to open all the postings to avoid this. We are particularly averse to phone calls.


Hi Giovanni,

One of the changes in this release is that an outsourcer's contact information is hidden more completely from those ineligible to quote on a job. Even the outsourcer's name is not shown. I hope this helps to resolve the problem you report. Please let us know if outsourcer contact information is still leaking out somewhere in the job system.

Best regards,

Jason


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tuanis  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
elephantiasis Apr 4, 2006

"The outsourcer has chosen to restrict this job to ProZ.com members until 15:33 Apr 1 GMT " it said on my job posting. This is a false statement. I had not chosen to restrict this job. To the contrary, I had chosen to have this job available to as many translators as possible because the window between the posting time and the due date of the job was very small. Instead, Proz.com arbitrarily imposed this restriction on my posting. Although Proz.com told me there were 156 translators who would have qualified for my posting, I only received a single quote. An option to edit the posting once posted also did not appear readily available please correct me if I am wrong.

As someone whose main focus is interpreting and as my posting history shows, I am a sparse and sporadic user of the website. Over the years, I have therefore been in a position to experience the full brunt of the changes to the websites ease of use, functionality and value to the language professional as opposed to a constant user who would experience these changes in a less stark more gradual and less obvious way.

Contrary to assurances of “an access policy shift designed to make the site (1) more open” I have found the site to become increasingly restrictive since I stared using it around 2001. First, I would get jobs in my mailbox labeled “for platinum members only. Then I had a job posting (again with a rush due date) delayed for a full day waiting to be “vetted”. And now, after a more Byzantine posting exercise than ever not only did I find my posting limited to “members” only, ProZ.com blithely and misleadingly attributed this restriction to me the outsourcer!
It is the outsourcer who delivers the core value to ProZ.com. The tools, the powwows, the forums, the glossaries, the kaffee klatsch and all the bells and whistles are very charming. However, it is the jobs delivered by the outsourcer, which bring in the revenue, which makes everything else possible and necessary.

I for one resent when the job I post is restricted –held hostage to serve as inducement not only to twist the arm of bidders to become “members” but to twist my arm –the outsourcer, the bottom line provider – to become a “ member” in order to gain full access to a market to which I provide the revenue source.

Had I known that this is what I would be subject to I would have simply placed a few calls amongst colleagues locally and gotten someone to do the job or done it myself. Automatically reaching for Proz.com as the first choice venue to post a last minute job is a thing of the past.


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Josephine Bacon
Local time: 17:13
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Matching profile to jobs Apr 5, 2006

Dear Henry,

I just bid on a job for a simultaneous interpreter and the automatic message claimed that my profile does not mention this field of expertise. That is because my profile says "conference interpreter". They are the same thing. Please ensure that the software understands conference interpreter to mean simultaneous interpreter.


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Ravishankar Govindraj
India
Local time: 21:43
English to Gujarati
+ ...
Autocratic Apr 9, 2006

Hi

Off late I am apprehensive that your recent actions have been rather unilateralal, save calling them autocratic.

When I registered with you I was an ordinary member, And there were Platinum members. Now you have unilaterally changed this to mean by members only platinum members. If this is true it is very bad!

About the recent site changes I would appreciate if you would accept the logical falacy in a site becoming more open and more focused at the same time. It is apparent that it is becoming more open for some and more focussed for some others at the same time.

In fact this recent anouncement is so embroiled in jargon that I did not really understand what you mean.

Your members, including non-paying members are free individuals and you cannot in any manner, explicitly promote or undermine their collaboration or non-collaboration unless you are willing to escrew their transactions. Am I wrong?

I feel you should look at the site being faster and redisigned to deliver what one looks for more easily. For example I have to log on and then discover that the job was closed or it was restricted to platinum members now so- called members only. Why cannot this be part of the message you send us? Granting that people like me are poorer why should we log in and waste our money for telephone line and internet connection and then discover that it is not for me just to increase your site traffic?
You will do better to improve your email messages. Thanks and Regards Ravishankar G


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:13
English to German
+ ...
"Allow non-members to express interest after 12 hours" = default setting Apr 9, 2006

Hi tuanis,
Allow me to correct a misunderstanding.


"The outsourcer has chosen to restrict this job to ProZ.com members until 15:33 Apr 1 GMT " it said on my job posting. This is a false statement. I had not chosen to restrict this job. To the contrary, I had chosen to have this job available to as many translators as possible because the window between the posting time and the due date of the job was very small. Instead, Proz.com arbitrarily imposed this restriction on my posting.

Not quite.
Restricting quotes to members for a period of 12 hours is the default setting on the Job Posting Form - you have the option to change this, but you did not use it. As you discovered this afterwards, instead of posting a note to the job (which didn't change the restriction, of course), you could have contacted a Jobs/BB moderator.

Although Proz.com told me there were 156 translators who would have qualified for my posting, I only received a single quote.

The number of members indicated is based on the chosen restriction.

An option to edit the posting once posted also did not appear readily available please correct me if I am wrong.

You could have edited the job before it was vetted by a Jobs moderator (which occurred approx. one hour after you posted it); once it went live, you could have contacted a Jobs moderator.

First, I would get jobs in my mailbox labeled “for platinum members only.

This was discussed with users and members; most expressed a preference to see the notifications even though they might not be able to quote straight away.

Then I had a job posting (again with a rush due date) delayed for a full day waiting to be “vetted”.

ProZ.com Jobs/BB moderators attempt to vet pending jobs within 2-3 hours, but obviously there's no guarantee for this.
Note that jobs vetting is conditional upon certain prerequisites - being a member is one of the ways to ensure jobs go live straight away, but not the only one (see this topic for details).

I for one resent when the job I post is restricted –held hostage to serve as inducement not only to twist the arm of bidders to become “members” but to twist my arm –the outsourcer, the bottom line provider – to become a “ member” in order to gain full access to a market to which I provide the revenue source.

Objection - the main revenue source to ProZ.com is paying members (Henry, please correct me if I'm wrong). Nor are posted jobs the main source of work: based on evidence available to ProZ.com (according to information made public by Henry), more jobs are placed via the directory.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Phyllis Mitzman
Local time: 12:13
Dutch to English
counterproductive policy Apr 10, 2006

In some ways the new job posting policy is counterproductive for companies choosing to open their posting to everyone immediately. Posters choosing the option to open a posting to everyone know why they choose to do that, and forcing them to restrict that posting to members only for 12 hours defeats the entire purpose. If a poster does not wish to have his name and contact details displayed and does not wish to be bothered by replies, it is possible to restrict the posting, but why should those of us who understand the system be forced to have it restricted. It prevents people from responding, especially when there is some urgency, or when the freelancer must be in a specific location. Posters should be able to choose the option that best suits them.

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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:13
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Misunderstanding Apr 10, 2006

phyllis mitzman wrote:
...
Posters should be able to choose the option that best suits them.
...


They are! See above...

Gianfranco


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xxxvlelecta
English to French
+ ...
Ever more restricted and more unfavourable for translators Apr 11, 2006

Dear Sirs,

I have been a kind of a passive (non-paying) member. My translation comination consists of three languages (engl, fra, it plus Serbian as a mother tongue). NOT A SINGLE JOB HAVE I RECEIVED VIA THE PROZ COM.

Why?

Well, first of all, because of the PRICE POLICY of your site. Your site is open both to professionals and to translation amateurs. Those AMATEURS take sometimes very difficult job requiring a very high degree of general knowledge and education and high professional comand of a certain language. Then, such "colleagues" start asking KUDOZ questions sometimes about the most elementary language and professional points and things. When it comes to bid a job you just look for the cheapest - and when it comes to quality - let the outsourcers have their say.
Never in my professional life have I done a job for under 15-30 Euros a page i.e. some 0.06 to 0.12 Euros per page. Proz com wants me to sell my high-quality work for a price of EUR 0.03. So, I am tremendously happy about the fact that I have never gotten a job via your so-called translation network.
Second, your membership policy is rather strange - your site is getting more and more restricted and unfavourable to translators and so we come to the paradox: the higher and more sophisticated technology and ever more restricted fundamental human rights - the right to work under the equal opportunity conditions.
Thank you very much for your "network". From my yearlong experience I know that whenever a firm, a system or an organization gets restricted it is getting nearer to its end.
I wish you all the best in your future "work" to the benefit of your owners and to the detriment of both translators and outsourcers.
Yours sincerely, vladaelecta.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 13:13
SITE STAFF
ProZ.com has no price policy Apr 16, 2006

vlelecta wrote:

I have been a kind of a passive (non-paying) member. ... NOT A SINGLE JOB HAVE I RECEIVED VIA THE ProZ.com COM.
Why?
Well, first of all, because of the PRICE POLICY of your site....
...When it comes to bid a job you just look for the cheapest...
... ProZ.com com wants me to sell my high-quality work for a price of EUR 0.03.


Being passive and being a non-paying user of the site are factors that make it less likely that you will get jobs through the site, as ProZ.com members meet new clients four times as often as do non-paying users of the site.

ProZ.com is just a venue where translation companies and language professionals can meet. The site does not select any professional, and therefore it does not have a price policy.

You can get jobs through the jobs postings area (not biddings, just jobs postings and answers by translators), through the directory and by networking.



Second, your membership policy is rather strange - your site is getting more and more restricted and unfavourable to translators and so we come to the paradox: the higher and more sophisticated technology and ever more restricted fundamental human rights - the right to work under the equal opportunity conditions.


I see nothing strange in a membership policy aimed at benefiting ProZ.com's members while it keeps many features open for the welcome participation of the non-paying users of the site.

Regards,
Enrique Cavalitto


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Joanna Krahelska
Local time: 18:13
Polish to English
+ ...
the message is clear (at times) Apr 17, 2006

Henry wrote:

- The job posting system will be modified so that (1) details of postings are visible to members and non-members alike, but (2) outsourcer contact details will not disclosed to non-members in the case of member-only job postings. This will represent an improvement for job posters (who posting will reach more people), and for members (whose quotes will not be distracted from.)


- A new profile format has just been releassed for beta testing, with improved design and readability.
[/quote]

the above are fragments where the message is not too clear, surprisingly so, I would say


For members, crosslinking is optional; if no referrals are entered, no crosslinks will be shown. In the case of non-members profiles, however, if no referrals have been entered, crosslinks will automatically be inserted to member profiles.



now here the message is clear enough to me: pay or go

imagine a potential outsourcer coming across a profile... it seems the perfect match but the profile happens to be one of a plain user (former member)
nicely positioned on the page, there are links to members (former Platinum members)
sure, they paid for the membership and deserve to get something in return
but... do they really have to get it this particular way?
to the potential outsourcer, the links mean something like "OK, forget the non-paying unprofessional impostor whose profile you just happened to open by sheer mistake, go check the real professionals"

the more I read about changes on ProZ.com, the less inclined I feel to pay for "membership"
strange, isn't it?

the best, jk


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