Outsourcer paranoid about being on the web
Thread poster: Umang Dholabhai

Umang Dholabhai  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:36
Member
English to Gujarati
+ ...
Sep 7, 2011

A certain agency recently approached me with a proposal along with their postal address etc. He asked me not to ever discuss his agency and that I should never name them on the web.

They are not on the web - importantly Proz or TC. I would like to have some inputs to let me decide if I should go ahead and work with them. Thanks in advance.

[Edited at 2011-09-07 08:53 GMT]


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xxxkalap
None of my customers Sep 7, 2011

is on the web (BB, TC etc.). Only one agency, a notorious bad payer. Which had a fantastic website too. Being on the web is not always a good sign. *sigh*

Try to find out if they are a registered business in their country, discover if the postal address is real, if they have premises, phone them, and if you have some doubts suggest them to visit them in their offices. Avoid fake companies and postal boxes.

[Edited at 2011-09-07 09:21 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My 2 cents Sep 7, 2011

Umang Dholabhai wrote:
They are not on the web - importantly Proz or TC.


This doesn't unduly worry me, unlike some others here. It just means I have to research them a little more, and accept only a small first job or ask for a percentage up-front.

He asked me not to ever discuss his agency and that I should never name them on the web.


That, though, would make me run. Of course, they should expect not to be identified and discussed in an open forum (like this one), but if they are against being on the Blue Board and similar then you have to ask yourself what they are afraid of.

Whatever you decide, I do hope it turns out well. Take care!

Sheila


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Sandra Peters-Schöbel
Germany
Local time: 00:06
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
to me it sounds strange Sep 7, 2011

To me it sounds really strange. My customers (at least the agencies) are all on the web. I mean, the web is a major part of their business.. Most of the contents I am translating are published sooner or later. Might be different for other contents.

Of course everybody is able to publish a website, it does not mean he is honest or a good payer...

What first came to my mind is that it is someone who worked for an agency and now tries to raise his own business... and is contacting the former clients of his former employer. I made this experience with a Chinese agency. After some time I got lots of emails from a former project manager, but also from the agency saying that I never ever shall reply to those mails nor get in contect with that person...

But it might all be OK with this agency though. One question I really would ask them (besidesof the things already mentioned by kalap) is how they are getting their clients and ensure the continued workload if they do not promote themselves? Do they have a local office where clients step in? And have their advertisement in the local newspaper?

Good luck,
Sandra


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:06
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Google Streetview Sep 7, 2011

Umang Dholabhai wrote:
They are not on the web - importantly Proz or TC. I would like to have some inputs to let me decide if I should go ahead and work with them.

Can you check their postal address on Google Streetview? See if the postal address really exists, and looks like a proper office. Streetview may even tell you who is at the address.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:06
English to Japanese
+ ...
Similar Experience Sep 7, 2011

Umang Dholabhai wrote:

A certain agency recently approached me with a proposal along with their postal address etc. He asked me not to ever discuss his agency and that I should never name them on the web.

They are not on the web - importantly Proz or TC. I would like to have some inputs to let me decide if I should go ahead and work with them. Thanks in advance.

[Edited at 2011-09-07 08:53 GMT]


I had a similar experience, except that in my case the agency was on the BB and on other translation sites with positive comments from service providers. I wanted to enter a BB (of course a positive rating), but they declined and told me not to disclose their agency name. I didn't know why and asked them, and they said that they don't want exposure on the Web. I respected the agency's opinion, but it was a weird experience, since as Sandra mentioned, we all know that both agencies and service providers would definitely love to promote their business by using a Web which is a useful tool in this computer age.


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:06
German to English
Tax evasion? Sep 7, 2011

My initial thought is to wonder whether the person is running some sort of undeclared business - for example, he isn't declaring his income from this business for tax purposes.

On the whole, people want to be mentioned (in the right context) so that they get more work coming in - so this sounds shady to me and I would proceed with great caution.


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Lindsay Spratt  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:06
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Strange Sep 7, 2011

This sounds dodgy to me too. I've never had anyone give me such instructions before. I think looking up the address on google and phoning them are good suggestions. Or why don't you question the guy directly? Does sound like it might be tax evasion as Armorel suggested!

Good luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not dodgy, I would say Sep 7, 2011

I think that, while it is a powerful marketing tool, is not a must for companies to have a website or to be rated on the web.

I think you are fairly safe as long as:
- You can yourself verify (with the Yellow Pages and Google Maps, as well as the Companies' House or an equivalent company registry in the country in question) the existance of the company

- You can have phone access (with a fixed line) to the person sending the job

- You get a PO with all the company details, full address, VAT number if applicable, payment terms, etc.

- You are eventually paid part of the job beforehand as a sign of good will


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
@ Tomás Sep 7, 2011

I agree with what you say, but I don't think that's quite the case here.

Umang Dholabhai wrote:
A certain agency recently approached me with a proposal along with their postal address etc. He asked me not to ever discuss his agency and that I should never name them on the web.


To my mind, being so dead against being talked about is not the same as lacking a presence.

Sheila


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Arthur Godinho  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:06
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Where are they? Sep 7, 2011

Without giving anything away, are they located in Houston, TX?

I do ask for a specific purpose....


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lydiar  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 10:06
Member (2006)
French to English
check their contact details Sep 7, 2011

Like others have said, I'd not be too worried about their lack of web presence but I'd want to make sure they actually exist and that they can be tracked to a physical address and phone number (and not one that is actually someone else's!). Yellow pages and google maps ought to be enough for that.
I'm also a fan of googling contact names alongside occupations and locations to find out information about who I am dealing with - but maybe I'm just nosy:)


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:06
French to English
+ ...
Reasons it sounds strange... Sep 8, 2011

A couple of things:

- how did they contact you? was it by themselves searching out your profile on the Web/ProZ and then contacting you by e-mail? whilst there exist in the universe businesses that decide not to bother with the Internet, it's maybe slightly odder for a business to decide not to have a web presence, but then actually rely on the Internet for going about its business;
- is there any indication of the paranoia about being mentioned? most reputable companies would be very happy to have their reputation and potential for further business spread by word of mouth. Most scammers, on the other hand...


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Umang Dholabhai  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:36
Member
English to Gujarati
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you (and another narrative!) Sep 8, 2011

Sheila Wilson wrote:


He asked me not to ever discuss his agency and that I should never name them on the web.


That, though, would make me run. Of course, they should expect not to be identified and discussed in an open forum (like this one), but if they are against being on the Blue Board and similar then you have to ask yourself what they are afraid of.


Sheila


That is what I asked myself and decided not to work with them irrespective of what they are afraid of. Thanks Sheila.


Thank you everyone for the help and suggesting some very realistic possibilities.

NB:
@Arthur
Without giving anything away, are they located in Houston, TX?


It is presumably an Indian agency - who knows it could be the TX one with an Indian 'agent'.

I have encountered a US based person who keeps an Indian SIM card, calls translators from that number to give an impression that she is based in India. She even supplies an Indian address in her emails. I stopped working for her as soon as I discovered this. The reasons are apparent. I only hope that other agencies do not get ideas from this.

btw Is paranoia infectious?


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xxxkalap
Yes, surely Sep 8, 2011

Umang Dholabhai wrote:

btw Is paranoia infectious?




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