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Non-member outsourcers - shouldn't there be a minimum of info?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:20
English to French
+ ...
Aug 24, 2005

Hello all,

I just wanted to know what you think about this.

I would like to suggest that any non-member outsourcer, when posting a job, be required to declare their identity complete with e-mail address, snail address and telephone number.

I think it's only fair.

What say you?

If they don't want to supply that info, how about they become a member? What have they got to lose anyways?

[Edited at 2005-08-24 22:40]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-08-25 22:06]


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:20
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Yes Aug 24, 2005

and that is already so for times immemorial . The issue there is an option for outsourcers to check boxes "hidden" when entering their contact details, so the contact details are not shown to public. However, they are there, known to ProZ Jobs Moderators and the Staff, so no job missing these details is ever published on ProZ. Therefore, if you have any problems regarding the contact details, you're always welcome to contact Jobs Moderators.

Uldis


ViktoriaG wrote:

Hello all,

I just wanted to know what you think about this.

I would like to suggest that any non-member outsourcer, when posting a job, be required to declare their identity complete with e-mail address, snail address and telephone number.

I think it's only fair.

What say you?

If they don't want to supply that info, how about they become a member? What have they got to lose anyways?]


[Edited at 2005-08-24 23:06]


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:20
English to Swedish
+ ...
Yes Aug 25, 2005

Kill the "hidden" box!

[Edited at 2005-08-25 05:09]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:20
English to German
+ ...
Check details provided Aug 25, 2005

Hi Viktoria,
Uldis already explained the system; the reason why contact details may be hidden is to prevent such contact details from being sampled by automatic processes ("crawlers"), which is also why any contact details are hidden after 30 days.

In case of doubt, the first place to check is the Blue Board, where you will also find details that an outsourcer may have set to hidden.

You should bear in mind that, although Jobs/BB moderators check details for consistency, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information. Therefore, you should check in each case whether the details provided are, in fact, correct. One of the simplest ways to verify a telephone number is to actually call the outsourcer. Sounds obvious? Well, we have seen numerous cases where that simple precautionary measure wasn't applied.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Susanna Neiglick  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:20
English to Finnish
+ ...
Why not munge it? Aug 25, 2005

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi Viktoria,
Uldis already explained the system; the reason why contact details may be hidden is to prevent such contact details from being sampled by automatic processes ("crawlers"), which is also why any contact details are hidden after 30 days.


Why not use a munge process to avoid the crawlers' unwanted attention? A bit of code can easily hide e-mail (and other) information from automated bots (for example by hiding the e-mail tags and @-marks in the code, creating virtual e-mail directories from which the address is assembled etc.) but still retain both visibility and usability for actual people browsing through the pages.

IMHO it would be a good practice to require outsourcers to enter visible contact information _and_ to verify their identities before being allowed to post a job.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:20
English to German
+ ...
Publication may be desired Aug 25, 2005

Hi Susanna,
Why not use a munge process to avoid the crawlers' unwanted attention? A bit of code can easily hide e-mail (and other) information from automated bots (for example by hiding the e-mail tags and @-marks in the code, creating virtual e-mail directories from which the address is assembled etc.) but still retain both visibility and usability for actual people browsing through the pages.

There is no uniform requirement, for various reasons. Remember that the concept of outsourcers doesn't only cover agencies, but also freelancers and - admittedly to a lesser extent - end customers. Some of them might want to publicly show all details, whilst others don't. Just consider a freelancer outsourcing on selected occasions only, for example.

IMHO it would be a good practice to require outsourcers to enter visible contact information _and_ to verify their identities before being allowed to post a job.

You should find the details for any outsourcer posting jobs (with few exceptions, such as private individuals posting on a one-off basis) in the Blue Board.

Making sure you know who you're dealing with remains your own responsibility - ProZ.com is a venue, not a party to any business realationship. Therefore, the data which you see is a good starting point, but I would never qualify this as verified data in the sense that you could legally rely on it. Note that this is very clearly stated in the ProZ.com Terms and Conditions (which you accept when creating a profile), as well as in the FAQ.

Also bear in mind that the majority of jobs passed at ProZ.com are not posted, but passed as a result of direct contacts made through member profiles - in any case, make sure to verify the details provided yourself.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:20
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Veryfying identities Aug 25, 2005

I cannot answer about applicability of munge process, as neither me, nor other moderators are programmers and I just don't know anything about it.

About verifying identities- there are ProZ members with verified identities- you can see that on their profiles if there are a checkmark "ID verified". Also, if there are any response records in their BB entries, you also can assume the outsourcer's identity verified.

However, as to Jobs/BB moderators verifying identities of new outsourcers, it is just not possible. As Ralf pointed out above, we check their details for consistency, but we cannot do more- as you know, moderators are unpaid Site volunteers and imagine our phone bills, if will start making international phone calls to verify new outsourcers.

Uldis



Susanna Neiglick wrote:
Why not use a munge process to avoid the crawlers' unwanted attention? A bit of code can easily hide e-mail (and other) information from automated bots (for example by hiding the e-mail tags and @-marks in the code, creating virtual e-mail directories from which the address is assembled etc.) but still retain both visibility and usability for actual people browsing through the pages.

IMHO it would be a good practice to require outsourcers to enter visible contact information _and_ to verify their identities before being allowed to post a job.


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Susanna Neiglick  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:20
English to Finnish
+ ...
Munging does not exclude publication Aug 25, 2005

There is no uniform requirement, for various reasons. Remember that the concept of outsourcers doesn't only cover agencies, but also freelancers and - admittedly to a lesser extent - end customers. Some of them might want to publicly show all details, whilst others don't. Just consider a freelancer outsourcing on selected occasions only, for example.


Munging the addresses and/or contact information entries really does not affect the legibility, visibility/non-visibility or the usability of the text. The process just makes harvesting e-mail addresses impossible for various bots wandering in the Internet looking for addresses to spam.

This is going off-topic already, but I, for one, choose not to display my direct e-mail address on my proz.com page because there is no munging or address obfuscation function and my address would surely be harvested. I think munging all addresses, whether visible or not, would be a good practice (and would help to reduce spam).

Making sure you know who you're dealing with remains your own responsibility - ProZ.com is a venue, not a party to any business realationship. Therefore, the data which you see is a good starting point, but I would never qualify this as verified data in the sense that you could legally rely on it.


The verification of personal identity through a credit card transaction is ok for PayPal, Moneybookers and many others as well. Although it isn't quite the same as showing your ID card, it's better than nothing at the stage where you are just starting a new business relationship. I think that allowing only members with verified identities to post jobs would reduce the risk of fraud. It is not, of course, possible to control direct job offers in a similar way, but at least it would be something.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:20
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Why don't they become members? Aug 25, 2005

What I don't understand is why these "anonymous" outsourcers don't become members. Don't you all find that suspicious? I mean, if they are an agency (which they very often are), why do they need to hide their contact details? Of course, this way, there are no Blue Board entries on them, no way to check if that address really is theirs, no way to look at their website, etc.

By allowing for non-member anonymous people to post jobs, ProZ allows for bad payers and chaotic agencies to still target ProZ members. Why then would anybody want to be a member? Why not be anonymous, everyone? What's the point in being a member anyways? We had the same problem with non-member KudoZ users. I wonder if this issue will be fixed as it was the case with KudoZ...
[Edited at 2005-08-25 15:24]

Paying members of ProZ have to leave traces of their contact info, but non-members don't. Is that fair?

[Edited at 2005-08-25 15:28]

[Edited at 2005-08-25 15:28]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:20
English to German
+ ...
Non-member outsourcers are not necessarily bad Aug 25, 2005

Hi Viktoria,
Allow me to correct a few misconceptions:
What I don't understand is why these "anonymous" outsourcers don't become members. Don't you all find that suspicious? I mean, if they are an agency (which they very often are), why do they need to hide their contact details? Of course, this way, there are no Blue Board entries on them, no way to check if that address really is theirs, no way to look at their website, etc.

Some outsourcers use ProZ.com for a very limited part of the site functionality, and although moderators suggest to regular non-member posters to create a profile, some prefer to post without that.

As Uldis and I have pointed out before, this does not mean that they can post anonymously: the vast majority of jobs posted by non-members are vetted by Jobs/BB moderators (see this posting on vetting conditions); we don't allow any job without contact details that at least appear to be complete and consistent. This also means that we will create a BB record (unless it is obvious, as stated before, that the job posting is a one-off by a private individual, for example).

By allowing for non-member anonymous people to post jobs, ProZ allows for bad payers and chaotic agencies to still target ProZ members.

Can you substantiate this statement?
Sadly, you will also find non-payers among outsourcers who are ProZ.com members, even Platinum members. Such cases are dealt with on the basis of the ProZ.com Termination Policy. An online mechanism to report non-payment has been introduced with the recent Blue Board release. Consequently, simply requiring a ProZ.com profile would not provide any protection per se. We've been doing this job for several years now, and have seen several attempts by non-payers to enter "by the back door" - in contrast to KudoZ, a filter won't help here.

May I respectfully suggest that you gather more information about the various measures and processes designed to protect members before jumping to conclusions? Please don't hesitate to ask if anything is unclear.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:20
English to German
+ ...
...and another response... Aug 25, 2005

Paying members of ProZ have to leave traces of their contact info, but non-members don't. Is that fair?

Once again, please read the available information in the FAQ:


Please note that the contact details marked as mandatory on the Job Posting Form must be completed in each case - job postings with incomplete details will be removed by ProZ.com staff or moderators.

These details are:
- full contact name (we reject jobs posted with an initial, or just a first name);
- company name (if applicable);
- e-mail address;
- mailing address;
- contact telephone number.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:20
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
This is not the case Aug 25, 2005

for at least about a year already BB record is created for *EACH AND EVERY* outsourcer publishing a job on ProZ. The only possible exception is when a freelancer- ProZ member or a one time -individual posts his job for the first time (maybe he needs help because of tight deadline, whatever). As soon as he posts already 2nd job, BB entry is created even for him.

ViktoriaG wrote:

What I don't understand is why these "anonymous" outsourcers don't become members. Don't you all find that suspicious? I mean, if they are an agency (which they very often are), why do they need to hide their contact details? Of course, this way, there are no Blue Board entries on them, no way to check if that address really is theirs, no way to look at their website, etc.


That again is not so. There are *NO* anonymous job posters on ProZ. As Ralf already explained, if the details are hidden in the job posting itself, they are there in the BB record. BB at the moment have more than 8000 entries and new ones are added dayly. And- to be mentioned on the BB, the outsourcer doesn't have to be a ProZ member.


By allowing for non-member anonymous people to post jobs, ProZ allows for bad payers and chaotic agencies to still target ProZ members. Why then would anybody want to be a member? Why not be anonymous, everyone? What's the point in being a member anyways?

Paying members of ProZ have to leave traces of their contact info, but non-paying members don't. Is that fair?


Quite often outsourcers, especially large Companies, post jobs not logged in. In that case it appears to you that a job was posted by non-member. Though again- these jobs are always linked to the BB record and if you look there, you'll see that the poster *IS* a ProZ member. About restricting the job postings to members only, it doesn't make sense nor does it increase security in the slightest. To create a profile takes just few minutes, and mind you- most fraudsters we have catched, *HAD* ProZ profiles created. And believe me, we catch quite a few, so your text about ProZ "ProZ allowing for bad payers and chaotic agencies to still to target ProZ members" is not fair.

Uldis


[Edited at 2005-08-25 15:48]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:20
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
But what happens when... May 12, 2006

This happened to me once.

I was contacted by an anonymous person who is not a member, so all I had was a user name, which is not a clue at all. They sent me ProZ mail, and they offered me a contract. But every time I asked them to give me their contact info, they pretended they never heard my request, and they kept sending me details on the contract, examples, etc., but no contact info. At that point, all I had was a first name...

I lost lots of time dealing with this person - and it didn't lead to a contract, for obvious reasons.

I understand that jobs cannot be posted without contact info, but members CAN be offered jobs through ProZ mail, without the sender giving any contact info. Isn't there a way for ProZ to prevent this? I mean, I didn't become a member to be bothered by unknown people who are not serious, I come here for work. I lose productivity in the process, which is not at all the reason why I became a member here...


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Non-member outsourcers - shouldn't there be a minimum of info?

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