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I'd think about being cautious posting a good BB rating for a good client
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
May 16, 2008

What is the best way to lose a client? There can be numerous ways. But one of the most efficient ones is to post a good BB rating for the client you have been happy to work with. Why? Very simple - there are translators who work for the same language pairs. The details of a good BB poster are visible to everyone. So - "bingo, he tells that client is super, will write a proposal to that outsourcer offering cooperation". Well, once I lost a permanent client generating me around 30 per cent of a permanent income. Recently posted again on BB. Jobs do not longer come from that client (I do not think it is a coincidence). I am not a cripple, I have a big list of clients, and I will not be hungry for jobs, but going through proz BB for those who are really hungry for jobs, is one of the best ways to find "new clients". Dear people of Proz - I really hate that. Can't you make the details of the BB posters unvisible to the public? I understand that proz is not ebay?

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:18
English to Arabic
+ ...
I don't have a problem with that May 16, 2008

It's an open market, and good agencies are expected, and indeed deserve, to have a good reputation. Besides, all agencies already receive tons of applications every day, I don't think the BB changes that much. And if the agency is happy with my quality of work and my rates, why should they jump at the first opportunity to use another translator?

I don't understand this point:
Can't you make the details of the BB posters unvisible to the public? I understand that proz is not ebay?


What does that have to do with the point you were making above?


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 22:18
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Agree with Marius May 16, 2008

I too suspect that all my competitors are not so honest and giving good public rates on the BB is just publishing your clients' database over the Internet.

Nesrin wrote:
I don't understand this point:
Can't you make the details of the BB posters unvisible to the public? I understand that proz is not ebay?

What does that have to do with the point you were making above?


In my best guess, most of my clients, when receiving messages like "I can do for you all Uldis does for half of his price" would simply trash it. However, "most" is not "all".

Uldis

[Rediģēts plkst. 2008-05-16 17:43]

[Rediģēts plkst. 2008-05-16 18:10]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
you don't, but I do (> Nesrin) May 16, 2008

There are always two sides of the coin. There are clients who will always remain loyal to you even if you send the list of your best clients to your competitor colleagues. But others will change the vendor like socks if they are offered a rate that is 5 per cent less - we are not married with the clients. And translation market is not only an open market (I see no relevance of the "open market" in this context). It is a highly competitive market too. All I wanted to say (from my own negative experience) that people shall be cautious putting a good BB post. Would you like to lose 30 per cent of income?

About proz ebay. I meant a very simple principle - "Quod licet Jovi, non licet Bovi!". If you ever used ebay, you should know that there are ratings of sellers and buyers. Those are very good to check from whom you are going to buy an item (if that seller is a decent one). I think this principle was intended to be applied to proz with the same purpose (well, BB helped me a LOT many times, esp. avoiding bad reputation outsources and related problems). But that ebay principle, at least in my opinion, cannot be applied here as the things (proz and ebay) are different. Moreover, ebay implemented a bidder protection system - you bid for an item and your personal details are shown publicly. And then the bidder gets attacks from certain countries (even non ebay members) with offers to buy the same item for a much smaller price (and other relevant crap). Well, this similar principle seems to be happening on proz BB (at least when I made a couple of good posts). So, if the details of the BB post maker could be only seen to proz admins (not open to the public, i.e. ANYONE), that would be better (at least I think so). All those negative experiences do not add a trust to proz. I think that proz members shall be protected against that because not all people compete in a fair way.



[Edited at 2008-05-16 17:56]


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:18
English to Dutch
+ ...
Identity matters May 16, 2008

I don't think anonymous posters should be allowed.
I'm more impressed with ratings from people I know and trust than from people I know nothing about.
I've never lost a client after posting a good Blue Board rating.

Nesrin wrote:
It's an open market, and good agencies are expected, and indeed deserve, to have a good reputation. Besides, all agencies already receive tons of applications every day, I don't think the BB changes that much. And if the agency is happy with my quality of work and my rates, why should they jump at the first opportunity to use another translator?


I feel the exact same way.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:18
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Client poaching - just one side of the issue here May 16, 2008

MariusV wrote:

There are always two sides of the coin.


Absolutely true.
When I read your first post, I agreed with you, because you said "public", and I thought you were referring to the fact that BB records are visible to the entire Internet, not only for logged-in ProZ.com users. This is true, as it is now, anybody can Google an agency's BB record and see the names of those that made the entries.
I agree that this is too much disclosure. I would prefer names be hidden from non-logged in viewers.
However, in your second posting you clarified what you meant:

So, if the details of the BB post maker could be only seen to proz admins (not open to the public, i.e. ANYONE), that would be better (at least I think so).


So, you want the names to be completely hidden, even from ProZ.com logged-in users?
While I understand your worries about colleagues poaching your clients, you need to consider the other side of the coin.
That is, a BB entry is much more valuable if you know who posted the entry. In my experience, you cannot trust entries without looking into who posted them. I have seen too many negative entries where after looking into the profile and sample translations of the person posted it, it was clear to me that the agency was probably right complaining about quality. In other cases, where some people mentioned low rates, others were very happy about the same agency, looking into the profiles revealed that only those that worked way below market rates were satisfied with the agency. The experience of the translator also influences my view on their entries - newbies tend to be either too excited about something that is normal expectation, or too harsh because they simply don't know better.
So, from my point of view, hiding the names from my view would greatly reduce the value of the BB, as I would not be able to make confident decisions based on the text of the entries only.

On a side note, if somebody wants to go after your clients, it is much easier to open up your WWA list, and send them proposals. As it is now, the WWA is also completely open, you don't even have to be logged in to see the names of the outsourcers.
I see THAT as a serious problem, perhaps bigger than the BB.

[Módosítva: 2008-05-16 18:35]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
it's not about anonimity May 16, 2008

Margreet Logmans wrote:

I don't think anonymous posters should be allowed.
I'm more impressed with ratings from people I know and trust than from people I know nothing about.
I've never lost a client after posting a good Blue Board rating.

Nesrin wrote:
It's an open market, and good agencies are expected, and indeed deserve, to have a good reputation. Besides, all agencies already receive tons of applications every day, I don't think the BB changes that much. And if the agency is happy with my quality of work and my rates, why should they jump at the first opportunity to use another translator?


I feel the exact same way.


Anonymous posters, I think, are not allowed to proz BB (I mean the poster has to be, at least, registered at proz). I do not have anonimity of the BB poster in mind (that the BB posts will not be seen to the public or to allow to post anyone). What I mean is a simple "non disclosure" of the posters info to the competitors. Why, e.g., there is no possibiliy for the poster to opt if he/she wants his/her language pair competitors to see (or not to see) if he/she posted a certain BB? The info in any case will be visible to proz admins and mods. This will NOT be ANONYMOUS. We have an option toggle on/off the rates in our proz profiles. Why same cannot be applied to BB postings?

"I've never lost a client after posting a good Blue Board rating." - if you WILL lose (hope you will not), you will see how it feels.




[Edited at 2008-05-16 18:45]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
save the sheep and make the wolf happy? May 16, 2008

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

MariusV wrote:

There are always two sides of the coin.


Absolutely true.
When I read your first post, I agreed with you, because you said "public", and I thought you were referring to the fact that BB records are visible to the entire Internet, not only for logged-in ProZ.com users. This is true, as it is now, anybody can Google an agency's BB record and see the names of those that made the entries.
I agree that this is too much disclosure. I would prefer names be hidden from non-logged in viewers.
However, in your second posting you clarified what you meant:

So, if the details of the BB post maker could be only seen to proz admins (not open to the public, i.e. ANYONE), that would be better (at least I think so).


So, you want the names to be completely hidden, even from ProZ.com logged-in users?
While I understand your worries about colleagues poaching your clients, you need to consider the other side of the coin.
That is, a BB entry is much more valuable if you know who posted the entry. In my experience, you cannot trust entries without looking into who posted them. I have seen too many negative entries where after looking into the profile and sample translations of the person posted it, it was clear to me that the agency was probably right complaining about quality. In other cases, where some people mentioned low rates, others were very happy about the same agency, looking into the profiles revealed that only those that worked way below market rates were satisfied with the agency. The experience of the translator also influences my view on their entries - newbies tend to be either too excited about something that is normal expectation, or too harsh because they simply don't know better.
So, from my point of view, hiding the names from my view would greatly reduce the value of the BB, as I would not be able to make confident decisions based on the text of the entries only.

On a side note, if somebody wants to go after your clients, it is much easier to open up your WWA list, and send them proposals. As it is now, the WWA is also completely open, you don't even have to be logged in to see the names of the outsourcers.
I see THAT as a serious problem, perhaps bigger than the BB.

[Módosítva: 2008-05-16 18:35]



It is normal that some people want their info on BB postings, others don't. Why not make a simple solution - to make an option (toggle on/off) that thing ? Same about WWA. Let alone that ANYONE can see and send proposals to the clients (as you mentioned)?

Very good for poachers:

1) here is the CV (dowload it and use the personal info for any purposes you wish);
2) recent projects (with brand names, volumes, dates, even end/direct clients/agencies)
3) toggled on rates on the profile;
4) BB posts, WWA - and up you go.

How about proz ? Is proz in favour for poachers, or for paying members who are on proz from the very start of it ? Let alone the trust - I made a mistake being naive, posted several good BB ratings, and some of my clients are gone. Now I will be much more cautious about making any things on proz (cautious means that I will not have that level of trust in proz I earlier had).





[Edited at 2008-05-16 18:57]


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Jason Kim
South Korea
Local time: 03:48
Member (2007)
English to Korean
It depends. May 17, 2008

Let's say the average rate for my pair in Korea is less than half of those in U.S.A. for some reason.
If I put good BB ratings, I might run the risk of losing my clients.
I guess WWA ratings may work that way too.
So I think it would be wise for me to wait until I feel confident with that specific client before I give them a good rating.

But there are thousands of agencies and lots of good ones out there.
In April my business was rather slow so I went through those thousands of agences and sent out cold call emails to those with good ratings, one company at a time though.
I usually expect about 3% positive result from any such cold calls.
I tried about 200 companies, and I actually did jobs for a couple of new clients, signed a contract, received some positive replies, and still expect some more in the future.

Let's say I have established myself firmly with a nice portfolio of clients in the future.
I might want to protect myself from competitors. But how?
I guess I have to rely on my job quality and performance and some continuous marketing efforts.
No company in the world can survive competition without quality, performance, and good marketing, and I believe freelancers are one-person companies.

I'd rather keep the BB and WWA systems as they are because it is good for me and others as there are no other better ways or resources available to one-person companies to judge potential new clients. And I think the market is broad enough if I am a good one.


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:18
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Does the world evolve around proz? May 17, 2008

I'm a newbie and I think proz is a great place. But surely it's not the only way to get clients? Like none of use would rely on one agency for work, we shouldn't rely on proz being the only place to get clients - no offence to proz

When we loose clients, we can either ask them why or speculate - the last is time consuming and depressing.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
no speculation May 17, 2008

Ivana Friis Wilson wrote:

I'm a newbie and I think proz is a great place. But surely it's not the only way to get clients? Like none of use would rely on one agency for work, we shouldn't rely on proz being the only place to get clients - no offence to proz

When we loose clients, we can either ask them why or speculate - the last is time consuming and depressing.


Is it so difficult to understand that I am not speculating about lost clients? I am speaking about CLIENT POACHING via proz BB. And I see it as a problem of proz and want to draw the attention to it - i.e. the client was lost not because I was a donkey, but because I was naive enough to put a good BB rating for the client. Cannot explain it in a simplier way. And yes, proz is not the only way to get clients, and not the only website for translators.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I understand your frustration May 17, 2008

MariusV wrote:
...but going through proz BB for those who are really hungry for jobs, is one of the best ways to find "new clients".


I understand. Browsing blacklists is a good way of finding good clients.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
browsing whitelists too May 17, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

MariusV wrote:
...but going through proz BB for those who are really hungry for jobs, is one of the best ways to find "new clients".


I understand. Browsing blacklists is a good way of finding good clients.


What is best - to have a lost of the best clients (not only a trash list, but the list of the best too) and from BB and from good words about such clients. No need to do hard work, no need to do search and research, almost no effort at all - all is like on the table. Just need to take it. Oh, yes, an email too - "Can do cheaper" and like that.


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:18
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Marius, I do know what you mean May 17, 2008

an I meant no offence. But it REALLY sounds like you ar trying to cover up that you are upset because you lost a client - and theres is no shame in that, I certainly get upset myself when I loose a client.

But, come on, the idea of client poaching is just silly - I would find it hard to believe that a translator who contacts agencies with good BB entries, offering low rates because the BB entry, can build a lasting relationship with any agency. Such a freelancer would never be able to raise prices and would soon have to look for other agencies without offering low rates.

Maybe I am naive?

I do myself contact agencies based on their BB entries and I do avoid those with bad BB entries. I wouldn't dream of marketing my services as cheaper than the other freelancers - I think that is a business plan asking for disaster.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
two sides of the coin again May 17, 2008

Ivana Friis Wilson wrote:

an I meant no offence. But it REALLY sounds like you ar trying to cover up that you are upset because you lost a client - and theres is no shame in that, I certainly get upset myself when I loose a client.

But, come on, the idea of client poaching is just silly - I would find it hard to believe that a translator who contacts agencies with good BB entries, offering low rates because the BB entry, can build a lasting relationship with any agency. Such a freelancer would never be able to raise prices and would soon have to look for other agencies without offering low rates.

Maybe I am naive?

I do myself contact agencies based on their BB entries and I do avoid those with bad BB entries. I wouldn't dream of marketing my services as cheaper than the other freelancers - I think that is a business plan asking for disaster.


Dear Ivana,

People are different. You, me, others will not go poaching - like we will never go to steal if we are in shortage of cash. We have our systems of self marketing, we have our "moral beliefs", and etc. But there are people who are different - who will do anything to get extra cash. And imagine if you have a client with whom you managed to negotiate the best rates in our practice, you work for that client for some 4 years, and one day you feel so happy and want to post them the very best comment on proz BB as a "thank you". And after that day you never hear from that client again. OK, things happen, we shall always look into the future (not into the past) and this is not the end of the world (30 per cent of your total income lost with one comment on BB). The only thing I wanted to say/offer is to have a possibility to toggle on/off your BB "posters ID" from the public. Some people really want their "poster ID" shown, so let's them have it shown. Some maybe do not - why they cannot have this option? At least, the latter will feel safe by posting a good BB rating knowing that some scams or poachers will not manage to use this info. I do not think it is technically very difficult to make and this was my friendly criticizm to proz and my offer (nothing negative).


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