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 »  Articles Overview  »  ProZ.com Site Features  »  Other  »  Using the ProZ.com Blue Board

Using the ProZ.com Blue Board

By Lucia Leszinsky | Published  02/1/2012 | Other | Recommendation:
Contact the author
Quicklink: http://www.proz.com/doc/3491
Introduction

The ProZ.com Blue Board is the complete, searchable database of records made up of feedback entries posted by language service providers in connection with outsourcers they have worked with. Service providers who would like to leave their feedback on a given outsourcer are asked to enter a number from 1 to 5 corresponding to their "Likelihood of Working Again" (LWA) with that outsourcer. This rating may also be accompanied by a comment and a non-payment report. In turn, outsourcers may enter a reply to service providers entries.

Adding an outsourcer to the Blue Board

Service providers interested in learning more about a given outsourcer, or willing to leave feedback on an outsourcer they have worked with, and outsourcers who would like to promote their services and good conduct through the Blue Board record can add a new record to the Blue Board. Added records are checked by site staff before they are made public to make sure supplied information is verifiable.

Conditions for making an LWA entry

For an LWA entry to be valid, the following conditions must be met:

  • Commissioned work must have been completed in full and delivered on time by the language service provider.
  • There must have not been complaints on the part of the outsourcer related to quality shortly after delivery by the service provider.

Fore details, see Blue Bord rule #2.

Blue Board reliability

LWA entries posted in Blue Board records are not confirmed in any way, and represent the opinions only of those posting them. Anyone who checks Blue Board records is encouraged to consider several things when evaluating entries: activity level, identity verification status, membership levels, registration numbers and other characteristics of posters.

LWA ratings and non-payment reports

As explained in the introduction, language service providers posting an LWA for a given outsourcer are asked to:

  1. Enter a number from 1 to 5 corresponding to their "Likelihood of Working Again" (LWA) with that outsourcer.
  2. Optionally, accompany their LWA rating with a comment.
  3. Report any existing non-payment issue.

LWA rating scale

The 1-5 rating scale, corresponding to the service provider's Likelihood of Working Again for a given outsourcer, is the following:

  • Rating 1: No way (the language service provider would definitely refuse to work again with the outsourcer)
  • Rating 2: Doubtfully (the language service provider would probably not work again with the outsourcer)
  • Rating 3: Maybe (the language service provider might work again with the outsourcer)
  • Rating 4: Definitely (the language service provider would work again with the outsourcer)
  • Rating 5: Most definitely (the language service provider would be delighted to work again with the outsourcer)

Comments accompanying LWA ratings

LWA entries, comments accompanying entries, and responses to entries are checked by site staff before they are made visible to make sure they are strictly focused on Likelihood of Working Again. This is clearly described in Blue Bord rule #7.

Examples of acceptable comments include:

"Friendly staff, payment made on schedule. Willing to work again with this outsourcer. Thanks!"

''Very nice people. Good rates. Payment as agreed. I certainly would like to work with them again."

"Poor communication, late payment, I was not impressed. Not sure if I would like to work with this outsourcer again."

"Uninteresting projects, lack of organization, no payment received so far."

Unacceptable comments --comments not in line with Blue Bord rule #7-- include:

"The project manager is a friend of mine so I always get the best projects from them. I'd definitely like to work with them again!"

"Mrs. Doe is a scammer and will never pay your invoices! Refrain from working for this agency, they are garbage!"

Non-payment issues

Upon making an LWA entry with a rating of 1 or 2, service providers will be given the option to report any non-payment issue involved with the outsourcer. However, LWA ratings of 1 or 2 do not necessary relate to non-payment issues. Non-payment issues must be explicitly reported by the service provider to count as such.

Service providers who report non-payment issues are required to update site staff on the situation. This means letting site staff know if and when the non-payment issue is resolved (by submitting a support request to inform they have been paid in full).

In the case of outsourcers, if they have resolved an open non-payment issue, they are invited to contact site staff and ask them to confirm this with the service provider. Only when the service provider confirms payment has been received in full, the LWA entry will be removed from the Blue Board record, allowing the service provider to make a new LWA entry reflecting the current situation. Note that this new entry may contain the same 1-5 rating as the entry that contained the non-payment report. However, site staff will make sure hat the comment makes it clear that payment was received or that no non-payment issue is open.

Contesting an LWA entry

Outsourcers may contest LWA entries only if:

  • The service provider has not worked for the outsourcer (service providers can prove having worked for a given outsourcer by presenting to site staff a copy of a PO or of an email message through which the outsourcer explicitly assigns the project to them).
  • The service provider was assigned a job, but did not complete it on time (outsourcers can prove this by presenting to site staff a copy of an email message in which the service provider is informed that the project delivery deadline expired).
  • The service provider was assigned a job, but there were quality issues notified by the outsourcer to the service provider shortly after delivery (outsourcers can prove this by presenting to site staff a copy of an email message through which they notify the service provider of quality issues with the project delivered).
  • The service provider reports a non-payment issue when payment has been made (outsourcers may be asked to prove that payment has been made by presenting a copy of a payment receipt. Service providers will also be contacted for corroboration).
  • The comment accompanying the service provider's rating is not limited to their Likelihood of working again.
  • The LWA entry violates any other Blue Board rule or Site rule.


Note that when email messages are requested by site staff to confirm information reported whether by the service provider or the outsourcer, these must be supplied in .eml or .msg format to allow ProZ.com to authenticate them (these formats preserve all the original encoding in the headers). No other format, including screenshots or .pdf files, will be accepted as supporting or concrete evidence. Also, these messages will remain confidential (only visible to site staff and the member submitting the information).

Invalid reasons for contesting an LWA entry (in which case, site staff will not take any action):

  • If the LWA rating is too low.
  • If the service provider reports a non-payment issue and the outsourcer states they are planning to pay soon (in which case, the entry will remain in place until payment is confirmed by the service provider).
  • If service provider's rates --agreed upon with the outsourcer-- are too high.
  • If the service provider making the entry is not a site member (i.e. paying member).
  • If the service provider reports a non-payment and outsourcer states they cannot pay because the client did not pay them.

Termination policy for outsourcers

Since ProZ.com serves as a place for language companies and language service providers to meet and engage in good-faith transactions, the use of the site in a dishonest or fraudulent manner results in termination of site use and associated privileges. The following is the policy for the termination of offending outsourcers:

If a total of two complaints regarding a single outsourcer have been received from unrelated sources, a warning will be issued to the outsourcer. The warning will serve as notification to the suspected party that its privileges are in jeopardy. The outsourcer's access to job posting and profile messaging may be suspended as a precaution until all non-payment issues have been resolved.

Upon receipt of a third complaint, the issue will be brought to ProZ.com staff for review. At its sole discretion, ProZ.com staff may then choose to suspend or revoke the outsourcer's right to use ProZ.com.


A full copy of the termination policy can be found here.

Note that a warning may be sent to the outsourcer either in written form --via profile mail-- or through the activation of a warning in their profile. The suspension of job posting privileges imply the technical blocking of job posting rights and profile messaging (i.e. a technical restriction is applied so that outsourcers cannot post any more jobs or contact service providers via their profiles until non-payment issues are resolved).

As with every report of abuse in the site, service providers must have at hand relevant and concrete evidence of what they report (email correspondence, for instance) in case site staff needs to investigate the issue.

The Blue Board record for service providers

For service providers, the Blue Board record has proved to be a great tool for risk management. By checking the Blue Board record for feedback on a given outsourcer before accepting a job offer, service providers can prevent or mitigate risks. Blue Board records do not only contain ratings and comments, they also provide information about the outsourcer in question (website, contact name, address, phone numbers, etc.).

If a record does not contain any feedback yet, service providers are invited to make a call for entries from service providers who may have worked with the outsourcer (by clicking on "Call for entries" in the outsourcer's Blue Board record page). This will cause a request for entries to be published on the ProZ.com home page and an email to be sent to all those who have subscribed to such requests.

Access to the Blue Board is unlimited for ProZ.com members. Site users can access individual Blue Board record data by paying with browniz points or by using cash deposited to their ProZ.com wallets.

The Blue Board record for outsourcers

Outsourcers who are listed in the Blue Board and have received positive entries report a higher degree of trust and shortened project launch cycles among those service providers who reference the Blue Board.

Outsourcers with a good Blue Board record are encouraged to include a direct link to it in their email signatures. ProZ.com profiles are automatically linked to outsourcers Blue Board records.

To improve their overall LWA rating, outsourcers can make a call for LWA entries --from their Blue Board record page-- or invite service providers who have worked with them to leave feedback on their records.

Managing LWA entries

Outsourcers can manage LWA entries posted in their Blue Board records via the Feedback management page. The Feedback management page allows outsourcers to perform the following actions:

  • View their Blue Board record and post replies to LWA entries
  • View the LWA entries they have received
  • Request LWA entries from service providers who have worked for them
  • View Blue Board statistics

To be notified of actions performed in their Blue Board record (new entries, non-payment reports, etc.), outsourcers should contact site staff to request their email address to be associated with their record.

Further reading

Also watch this short video tutorial on "The Blue Board: what is it, and how can I use it to manage risk?".





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