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Project Connect update (part 4): Milestone for charter program reached (+ press coverage received)
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 07:46
SITE FOUNDER
Dec 14, 2006

Dear Members,

As many of you know, one of the major ProZ.com initiatives for this year has been Project Connect--the program to actively market ProZ.com members' translation and interpreting services to the world's top language companies and end clients. (Project Connect was launched in June. The last update we gave on the project announced the creation of a category of job postings known as "premium" postings.)

This is the latest update.

Charter customer program successful

We have exceeded the number of charter customers we had targeted, in advance of our internal deadline. The companies attracted represent the spectrum from those in the global 500, to top-20 language companies, to up and coming agencies with excellent Blue Board ratings.

These paying customers are now able to find ProZ.com professionals in a more powerful and efficient manner than was previously possible.

The platform is well-received

As for the Project Connect platform, clients have so far agreed that its innovative approach provides a much better way to source linguists than anything else they have seen. They report that it is saving them time and money, while finding the professionals that they really need.

Most of our initial development objectives should soon be met (including some customization for beta customers). We have applied for a patent on the unique approach used.

The industry is taking note

Project Connect has not gone unnoticed by industry publications. The publisher Multilingual Computing featured our announcement of a new "sourcing" platform in its email newsletter. Also, industry analysts Common Sense Advisory reports:

"The universe of translators is limited, so all [language companies] draw on the same pool of professionals. In many cases, they manage their own internal databases... Translators, on the other hand, want to distinguish themselves [so they send their CV's to companies]... All in all, this labor exchange is an inherently inefficient process...

We think that [ProZ.com] has the potential to eliminate some of the friction in the currently flawed employment system...

Until the acquisition of Trados by SDL the translation technology market had been dormant. Proz for Employers is one of the novel solutions..."
- Common Sense Advisory

Additional press coverage was obtained when the new platform was used to source professionals for a not-for-profit project in which subtitling of a film on 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus was performed into up to 100 languages with the help of ProZ.com professionals found using the new platform. See the press release.

Appreciation

For what has been accomplished so far, I want to thank Mike and Jason Grimes of the ProZ.com team, and also those members who helped to make Mike and Jason's efforts successful.

For one thing, thousands of members responded to our call to "Help make Project Connect a success by Updating your profile." When members pause and take the time to update their profiles, it makes all the difference! Why? Because when premium clients test the system, they have a tendency to do so by trying to fill their most challenging vendor needs. When they get a good number of results from professionals with complete profiles, they often decide to invest time in exploring our community further.

Another way in which members have assisted in Project Connect is by providing input and feedback to the design firm that we hired to develop a new look for the outsourcer platform.

I would also like to thank those members (you know who you are -- thanks always!) who have introduced us to potential premium clients. Recommendations on any others are of course welcome from members: tell us who you would like to see outsourcing via ProZ.com, and if they meet our standards for premium clients, we'll make the case on behalf of the community.

Opportunities to improve

We need to keep strengthening the ProZ.com network. Based on direct feedback from those who have expressed interest in our new sourcing and vendor management platform, we need more professionals with complete profiles in language pairs such as Japanese, Thai, Korean, Chinese and more. (The good news is that the ratio of opportunities-to-members in these, and also Northern European, Middle Eastern and some African languages, is really quite favorable.)

Member experiences

We asked members who were contacted by premium outsourcers via the system about their experiences. Mariella Bonelli reported: "Today I have had my first job through Project Connect. I am very happy about this, my client is a very good one..."

Our goal is that there be more members saying the same thing in 2007. So for now, if you have been contacted by a Premium Client using the new platform, we want to hear about your experiences, both good and bad. Please send your feedback in a support ticket, addressed to the attention of Jason...

Looking ahead

We'll keep you posted--and periodically ask for your help--as Project Connect develops further. In the meantime, for now, please just make sure that your profile is complete and up to date--even if you are not looking for clients at the moment. Doing so will help to make Project Connect a success for the entire ProZ.com community.

To update your profile, go to: http://www.proz.com/quick_profile

Thanks!

Henry


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:46
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Hi Dec 14, 2006

Premium jobs are only for members? As far as the rest is concerned, I'm impressed! Might become a member again...

Giovanni


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Does this mean that members without 100% completed profiles will be automatically excluded from this Dec 14, 2006

henry wrote:

Looking ahead

We'll keep you posted--and periodically ask for your help--as Project Connect develops further. In the meantime, for now, please just make sure that your profile is complete and up to date--even if you are not looking for clients at the moment. Doing so will help to make Project Connect a success for the entire ProZ.com community.


Henry


Not all paying members are interested in filling in all the requested information on the profile page. It's really very extensive.
Does this mean the de facto exclusion of those paying members from this new feature?


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 07:46
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Filtering criteria are left to clients Dec 14, 2006

writeaway wrote:
Not all paying members are interested in filling in all the requested information on the profile page. It's really very extensive.
Does this mean the de facto exclusion of those paying members from this new feature?

No. The decision of whether or not to require complete profiles is left to clients.

Beginning in January, clients will have an option to require complete profiles (ie. those with all of the "required" sections completed) as a condition of quoting and directory searches. We have announced this previously; everyone in the database was mailed (with the exception of those who opt out of receiving all notifications).

Remember, it is possible to enter "I choose not to enter this information" for most of the "required" items. When this is entered, the system regards the profile as "complete".


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Way to GO Henry, et. al. Dec 14, 2006

This has been a super major effort on your part and clearly you've suceeded. Congratulations are in order.

For the non-paying members:
Most online agencies with non-paying members do not even give you access to forums or any feature of the site, let alone jobs. C'mon, if you're going to be serious about this you have to show how serious you are. Jobs are not handed on silver platters to us, our profession is still very obscure to the public and: 1) you need at least a decent profile, 2) I insist on credentials simply because the clients are demanding it...and let's not even mention continuing education.

We want them to take us seriously, let's behave in a serious manner as far as our profession is concerned.

Once again, success! ProZ.

Belkis


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 07:46
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Belkis. Dec 14, 2006

BelkisDV wrote:

This has been a super major effort on your part and clearly you've suceeded. Congratulations are in order.

Thanks for your support, Belkis.

I want to emphasize that while the results so far are very encouraging, the project is still in its early stages. Clients explicitly designated as "premium" account for fewer than 1% of job postings and directory searches right now. (That does not mean that many of those posting standard jobs are not desirable outsourcers - they just have not yet been exposed to the project.)

With the active participation of the community, we hope and expect the number of "premium client" opportunities available to members to rise substantially in 2007.

I'll be posting a few more details in the (long overdue) jobs plan soon...


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:46
Italian to English
Henry, did you see Giovanni's post? Dec 14, 2006

If you can tempt Giovanni to sign up again, then you've really cracked it

Joking aside, and no offence of course to the simpatico Mr Guarnieri, congratulations on the charter customer programme, which has obviously homed in on a very real market need.

I'm very impressed by the way you have stuck over the years to your original mission of providing the marketplace the market wants for free and making your living from subscriptions for premium access.

Best,

Giles


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 07:46
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Giles Dec 14, 2006

Giles Watson wrote:
Henry, did you see Giovanni's post?

If you can tempt Giovanni to sign up again, then you've really cracked it

Yes, I did see it--but the words "Might become a member again", coming from Giovanni, sounded like a threat. (Just kidding, Giovanni, I am very pleased to read your encouraging words and would love to see you return to membership!)
I'm very impressed by the way you have stuck over the years to your original mission of providing the marketplace the market wants for free and making your living from subscriptions for premium access.

Thanks a lot, Giles. Tuscany seems like only yesterday!


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:46
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Surely... Dec 15, 2006

I'm not that bad? I think this is a good move forward to establish Proz as a quality platform for serious outsourcers... so, well done.

Giovanni


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Question for Henry Dec 15, 2006

writeaway wrote:
Not all paying members are interested in filling in all the requested information on the profile page. It's really very extensive.
Does this mean the de facto exclusion of those paying members from this new feature?
(... premium jobs...)


Henry wrote:

No. The decision of whether or not to require complete profiles is left to clients.

....it is possible to enter "I choose not to enter this information" for most of the "required" items. When this is entered, the system regards the profile as "complete".



Hi,

May I ask when was the "I choose not to enter this information" option incorporated to the quick profiler?

The reason I ask is because I had made a comment along the same lines of writeaway's in another recent thread ( http://www.proz.com/topic/61016?start=15&float= ) and Enrique said/answered:

"If you choose not to complete the required fields you will not qualify for premium jobs, and you could also be excluded from some normal directory jobs if the outsourcer filters using a field you did not complete."

Maybe I didn't understand Enrique's answer well (which could perfectly be the case, by the way), but now I get the impression that the said "I choose not to enter this information" has been incorporated since then. Again, it could have been there all the time and I just didn't notice it.

But whenever it was incorporated, congratulations!, it is a great idea. It certainly didn't sound (at least to me) "logical" that if I was paying for membership I was somehow being excluded from such an important job option. So well done! It sounds very promising and I am looking forward to the other promised improvements.

Regards,

Ivette

[Edited at 2006-12-15 13:22]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 07:46
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification (in response to Ivette) Dec 15, 2006

ICL wrote:

May I ask when was the "I choose not to enter this information" option incorporated to the quick profiler?

Thanks, Ivette. We added those options during the profile completeness campaign in September.
The reason I ask is because I had made a comment along the same lines of writeaway's in another recent thread ( http://www.proz.com/topic/61016?start=15&float= ) and Enrique said/answered:

"If you choose not to complete the required fields you will not qualify for premium jobs, and you could also be excluded from some normal directory jobs if the outsourcer filters using a field you did not complete."

Maybe I didn't understand Enrique's answer well...

Enrique misspoke in his comment, at least in the part about premium jobs. There was no time in which complete profiles have been required as a condition for quoting or appearing in directory searches, either in the standard or premium platforms.

The client option will be made available, possibly in both, for the first time in January.


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks, Henry... Dec 15, 2006

...I appreciate the clarification, because this kind of misunderstandings can lead to some site "urban legends" that then grow as a snowball, as you know.

And just in case, Enrique, my intention was just to understand, so if I quoted you was just to get a better picture. As you know, I myself can get a bit confused about all these profiler options

Happy weekend,

Ivette

[Edited at 2006-12-15 13:31]


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Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
German to English
+ ...
Project History and CV Dec 16, 2006

Henry wrote:

Remember, it is possible to enter "I choose not to enter this information" for most of the "required" items. When this is entered, the system regards the profile as "complete".


Good evening,

When I read the above, I thought I could complete my profile without providing any additional information, but apparently these two (project history and CV/resume) are required for a "complete" profile?

I'm 99% outsourcer, what am I expected to enter there?

Or are freelancers your primary concern? If so, that's fine. Perfectly legit. But maybe you could say so somewhere.


And, by the way, IMO an "honest" profile is much more desirable than a "complete" one. I'm referring especially to false claims and declared native language(s). And soon this "fraud" will be even more public, when this Project Connect takes off? It's only a question of time.

Henry, don't you think you should tidy up the house a bit before the visitors come?

Don't mean to spoil the party, just comments from my perspective.

Ciao,
C


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Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:46
German to English
+ ...
Not editable? Dec 18, 2006

I tried to delete my above interjection, as it has probably already served any purpose it ever will, but this doesn't seem to be possible 24 hours laters...

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 07:46
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Responses to Cilian's questions Dec 18, 2006

Cilian O'Tuama wrote:
Henry wrote:
Remember, it is possible to enter "I choose not to enter this information" for most of the "required" items. When this is entered, the system regards the profile as "complete".

...apparently these two (project history and CV/resume) are required for a "complete" profile?

No--those are in the "encouraged" section. The giveaway does ask people to complete all "encouraged" sections, but the "required" sections are what constitute a complete profile for all other site purposes.
I'm 99% outsourcer, what am I expected to enter there?

Good point. I'll think about that one. You should have a chance at the prizes.
And, by the way, IMO an "honest" profile is much more desirable than a "complete" one.

We have to shoot for *both* honest and complete. It turns out that some outsourcers don't even let profiles into their database without native language (for example) specified. We can speculate about the appropriateness / fairness of this, but it is a market reality.
Henry, don't you think you should tidy up the house a bit before the visitors come?

That's the idea! Thanks for helping...


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