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Proz.com corporate membership: good thing or a threat to us 'freelancers'?
Thread poster: Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:22
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Feb 20, 2007

Do you think the two memberships (freelance and corporate) can coexist? Will the extra revenue be spent on corporate issues instead of improving the site for us 'normal' freelancers? Is this bothering you? Or do you think we can only gain from this approach?

Giovanni

[Edited at 2007-02-20 12:10]


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Enrique
Local time: 19:22
SITE STAFF
Translators are at the core of ProZ.com Feb 20, 2007

The document Sixteen (16) cornerstones of ProZ.com presents the principles upon which ProZ.com has been built. They underlie the ProZ.com culture. In particular point 8 states:


8. Translators are at the core of ProZ.com. ProZ.com serves the entire translation industry by serving translators first. Recognizing that the players in the translation industry--translators, translation companies and end clients--are complementary, the site provides a fair and open workplace in which all parties can meet and work transparently and efficiently.


I hope this, and the site trajectory of many years, will answer this question to ProZ.com members who could be concerned about the way revenues will be spent in the site.

Regards,
Enrique


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Andrea Appel
Canada
Local time: 18:22
English to German
+ ...
Wish I didnt answer this threat Feb 20, 2007

......enemy?

[Edited at 2007-02-21 12:20]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:22
Member (2004)
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
8. Translators are at the core of ProZ.com Feb 20, 2007

I don't think they are anymore. I see a conflict of interests there. But this is just my opinion...

G


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:22
French to English
+ ...
Most likely Feb 20, 2007

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

I don't think they are anymore. I see a conflict of interests there. But this is just my opinion...

G


I agree with you, Giovanni. Too many interest holders, each with their own needs and agenda: end clients, agencies, independent professionals. And of course Proz, which is normal, it is not a non-profit. But Proz can't be all things to all people... I think I've said that on another thread. It is a basic marketing principle. I question whether long term this will be beneficial to Proz (image + finance).

I do not think it will be good for independent professionals, even those whose clients come from elsewhere.

Cheers,

Patricia


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Levan Namoradze  Identity Verified
Georgia
Local time: 02:22
Member (2005)
English to Georgian
+ ...
IMHO Feb 20, 2007

In my humble opinion, the Proz.com corporate membership does constitute the threat to us i.e. freelancers. I was truly surprised seeing that at first time. However, I do remember that none makes or forces me being the Platinum (BTW, is that term still maintained by the Proz?
Regards,
Levan


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:22
French to English
Explain "core" Feb 20, 2007

Enrique wrote:


8. Translators are at the core of ProZ.com.


I hope this, and the site trajectory of many years, .....



You've posted that a "core" statement couple of times recently. Personally, I find it meaningless.

As for the trajectory comment, I think that the point is not what has happened in the past, but people's concerns about where the site is heading. Ideally, of course, the needs of a "corporate" member and the freelancers should coincide, but what happens when there is conflict (e.g a corporate member developing a diabolical BB rating)?
I'm not expecting any answers from anyone now, but I share concerns that this sort of event could be an issue in future.

I also have a feeling that this corporate member feature could end up being linked to the WWA feature, about which concerns have been expressed in the past. After all, corporate members will want some guarantee, given the amount they are paying Proz, that the freelancers that they (the corporate members) contact are able to do what they (the freelancers) claim.
What better way to provide that guarantee than by WWA?
And what better way for Proz to recruit more corporate members than having freelancers ask their clients to add a WWA rating?

I stress that I have absolutely no objection to proz opening fresh revenue streams.
I also think that in terms of serving the freelancer community, it's possible that the limits of what proz can do have been reached (without radical new features, e.g. entering a partnership agreement with debt collection or credit rating agencies). The site could stagnate without change.

It's all a question of how this is approached, which remains to be seen, to an extent. And whether the freelancers will be just (temporarily?) overlooked in all this.
To say nothing of the large number of users who do not use the site to find paid work, but nonethess make a valuable contribution in forums and kudoz...


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 18:22
SITE FOUNDER
Having membership options for companies and students makes sense, depending on your views Feb 20, 2007

If the relationship between freelancers and translation companies, and the relationship between freelancers and students, were us-vs-them scenarios, the new membership options (corporate and student) might introduce some conflict of interest.

In my view, those relationships are, ideally--and in fact for the most part--not antagonistic at all. In fact, I think that one of the best ways to serve our translator members is to provide appropriate and attractive membership options for students and companies.

I know some will not agree with this position, but after all, to work with each other, or against each other, will always be a choice. As you may have read more than once, ProZ.com was built for those who choose cooperation.

Whatever your views on these new membership options, what I can assure you is that we will be listening to your feedback as we develop the student and corporate options further.

And in case you missed it, the two new membership options were first announced here: http://www.proz.com/topic/65792


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Andrea Appel
Canada
Local time: 18:22
English to German
+ ...
not my place Feb 20, 2007

cant delete my posting..but update.

[Edited at 2007-02-21 12:50]


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Closeness between translation-related professionals Feb 20, 2007

Like many others here, having worked for many years as a freelancer translator, I don't think it is accurate to keep thinking of the translation business as focused solely or mostly on translators. We are obviously just one of the many pieces of the translation puzzle, though basically the major one.

There are all kinds of translation projects. Obviously some projects require an agency to produce the whole translation process: translation, proofreading, DTP, etc. etc. Other projects may require a simpler translation process that a freelancer translator (or a team of translators) can handle, etc. etc. So there is a wide range of professionals involved in the translation business.

So if Proz.com is now switching from being a "translator's only" place to a "translation-related place", this does not really make a major difference to me, as long as Proz.com continues to give me in return what it promised me as a translator paying member (and it does, so far, because I can still use the KOG database, the Blue Board database, the knowledge/article database, etc.).

On the contrary, I think it is interesting that translators and other players of the translation business will be in closer contact. That *might* bring a bit of "better understanding" of such a sometimes chaotic or even "improvised" business, because there are still many freelance translators who have not assimilated the fact that we need to work with a business entrepreneur mentality, so maybe there is something we all can learn or get in return from this "closeness" with the new corporate members. And btw, what I mean here is not necessarily that you need to become a *business* per se, but you do need to learn to play by the rules of business.

On the other hand, if anyone is concerned about the fact that Proz.com is going to get multi-millionaire revenues from having different kinds of memberships, I think that is not relevant to the usefulness that we translators are still obviously getting from our paid membership.

It's as if you questioned, for example, Google or Ebay for getting so much revenue, instead of simply enjoying/taking advantage of the usefulness they offer. Sure, you can say that Google or Ebay are "free" (which, btw, Proz.com also offers as an option), but the fact is that at some point these sites have gotten a major financial support from some investment groups, while in Proz.com's case this support comes mostly from the membership fees (and it seems lately from other new ad banners), not from any investment groups (AFAIK).

But if we are going to get some new membership types, what I would like to see in the near future is a more appealing offer/set of *advantages* for being a paying freelance translator member, in contrast with what non-paying users have access to, because unless this changes, a lot of freelancers may be tempted to decide that it is just easier to enjoy using Proz (in spite of all the criticism against it) for free.

And please don't invoke any "community"-related reasons for freelance translator membership payment, because obviously if you are now including corporate members, to invoke any "community" conscience would be contradictory.

Regards,

Ivette

[Edited at 2007-02-20 17:47]


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:22
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Get the message through... Feb 20, 2007

I already wrote here:
http://www.proz.com/topic/57404

how that would be beneficial, even before I knew that there was the plan to do that...

I think it makes perfect sense. There are some people who complain that elements of the site (such as the contest, some forums or polls) look "unprofessional"... now they need not worry at all - if the clients have a separate "entrance", all they will see would be pure business data, just the matter-of-fact directory of freelancers - no frolicking at all.


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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:52
English to Hindi
+ ...
Important development Feb 20, 2007

On the ProZ CorporateZ MembershipZ:

1. I was tempted to take it but I'm not a company, would never sacrifice my Univ job to become a full-fledged company [though I could if I want], and so, I didn't spend that extra money.

2. I think the fear is unjustified. Without any affront to any member/user who might think so or might bring up such a point, I sincerely think that such fears only originate from those who do not have sufficient amounts of work. I'm in this situation where I would be glad to hire another colleague...to share the burden and I could do it on a regular feature. Also, ProZ gives its Platinums [and even non-members] priority and it has been clear that Platinums enjoy a lot of benefits and if my sixth sense is true, they will keep on enjoying them. I have been a ProZ member since 2000....

3. ProZ needs to diversify and grow. We all would like to grow as persons. So, why should we grudge is ProZ wants to grow as a company? ProZ needs money for its growth and expansion and ProZ needs to diversify into different kinds of businesses, which are variations, not diversions, on its original theme. Are we ready to pay $395 or $595 or $995 or some such amount as platinum freelancers so that ProZ may not employ marketing professionals and other brains to work for Corporate members and ProZ might use such special resources for us? If ProZ needs more funds [and as I said, we all like to expand in our own lives], so, if ProZ doesn't have the Corporate membership, are we ready to pay more and finance it?

These, I believe, are pertinent points and they have been said without keeping in mind that I am a ProZ Moderator and without seeking to offend anyone.

Roomy Naqvy

[Edited at 2007-02-20 18:03]


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Sarah Ponting  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:22
Italian to English
+ ...
Without even mentioning it to us? I should hope not! Feb 20, 2007

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I also have a feeling that this corporate member feature could end up being linked to the WWA feature, about which concerns have been expressed in the past. After all, corporate members will want some guarantee, given the amount they are paying Proz, that the freelancers that they (the corporate members) contact are able to do what they (the freelancers) claim.
What better way to provide that guarantee than by WWA?
And what better way for Proz to recruit more corporate members than having freelancers ask their clients to add a WWA rating?



I find that a particularly disturbing possibility. Can site staff reassure us that it's not the case?

Sarah


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:22
French to English
+ ...
Think again Feb 20, 2007

Roomy Naqvy wrote:

On the ProZ CorporateZ MembershipZ:


2. I think the fear is unjustified. Without any affront to any member/user who might think so or might bring up such a point, I sincerely think that such fears only originate from those who do not have sufficient amounts of work.


I think you need to revisit that point of view. A number of us do not depend on Proz for work and are concerned rather about issues of professionalism, respect of the profession (that also translates in fees), privacy issues (the WWA one and others) and so on.

I will happily stand corrected if I am dead wrong.

Cheers,

Patricia


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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:52
English to Hindi
+ ...
professional issues Feb 20, 2007

Patricia Lane wrote:

Roomy Naqvy wrote:

On the ProZ CorporateZ MembershipZ:


2. I think the fear is unjustified. Without any affront to any member/user who might think so or might bring up such a point, I sincerely think that such fears only originate from those who do not have sufficient amounts of work.


I think you need to revisit that point of view. A number of us do not depend on Proz for work and are concerned rather about issues of professionalism, respect of the profession (that also translates in fees), privacy issues (the WWA one and others) and so on.

I will happily stand corrected if I am dead wrong.

Cheers,

Patricia


Agreed. I would agree with your point. But I would also like to state that I believe in ProZ personally... I hold paid memberships few years in advance even though I hail from India [and some of my fellow Indians cry about not having any money to pay memberships etc etc or some of them quote pit bottom rates--not all of them do but some of them] ....and I believe personally [not because I'm ProZ Mod] that ProZ will tackle all issues of lack of professionalism if they are brought to its attention.

Roomy


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