Low-rated BB agencies sneaking in
Thread poster: Lingua 5B

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 07:36
German to Serbian
+ ...
Nov 13, 2012

It's becoming more and more frequent that I receive project offers from a not logged/not registered user that eventually turns out to be some kind of low rated Blue Board agency (with lots of 3s and 1s in recent period, or in their overall record).

One time I reported it to ProZ, but how can I keep reporting it each time and why doesn't Proz do something to prevent and block this kind of behavior?

I don't want these people to be given an opportunity to contact me by email.

And how is this different from scammer's behavior? Maybe there is a difference, but I don't see one crucially.


 

Jānis Greivuls
Latvia
Local time: 08:36
Member
English to Latvian
+ ...
Solution Nov 13, 2012

Hi Lingua 5B,

Solution could be as follows: go to your Profile > General Settings > Email Preferences > Select an option "Allow only logged-in ProZ.com members to send me email via my profile page".

Hope this helps.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Your responsibility to check Nov 13, 2012

Lingua 5B wrote:
It's becoming more and more frequent that I receive project offers from a not logged/not registered user that eventually turns out to be some kind of low rated Blue Board agency (with lots of 3s and 1s in recent period, or in their overall record).


You should consult the BB for all clients, not just clients with BB links in their e-mails.

Why doesn't Proz do something to prevent and block this kind of behavior? ... I don't want these people to be given an opportunity to contact me by email.


Well... if the user is not logged in, how is ProZ.com going to tell that he is a low BB agency?

And how is this different from scammer's behavior? Maybe there is a difference, but I don't see one crucially.


As far as I know, there is no rule at ProZ.com that if you have a ProZ.com account then you are expected to be logged in to that account when you send messages to other users. Anyway, such a rule would only frustrate those with genuine reasons for not logging in.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 07:36
German to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Misunderstanding Nov 13, 2012

The central issue here is not that they are not logged in. It's the fact they have multiple profiles they are using for manipulation.

No Janis, that is not a solution, nowhere did I write it was ONLY bad offers I was receiving from not logged in users. There can be a completely decent client out there that is not logged in. Yes, I agree about checking, but my checking won't change the overall unprofessional image this behavior is causing.

It's about manipulation, not about being logged in or registered.

[Edited at 2012-11-13 13:15 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The only thing you can do is report them Nov 13, 2012

Lingua 5B wrote:
There can be a completely decent client out there that is not logged in.

I'm sure if they're that decent, they will happily login or register - it only takes a minute to set up a very basic registration. I've had several clients do that - some have been end-clients (website owners etc.), others have been recommended to contact me personally via ProZ.com.

I hope that ProZ.com is doing everything it can to prevent multiple registrations for the same companies (as well as for the same freelancers). On the other hand, if you're accepting emails from people who aren't anything to do with the site, I don't see what they can do. By definition, these are people who nobody knows anything about. But if you know that particular companies are adopting this sort of practice then I hope ProZ.com would want to raise the issue with them. It ought to jeopardise their right to post job offers and contact freelancers.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:36
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Multiple profiles? Nov 13, 2012

Lingua 5B wrote:

The central issue here is not that they are not logged in. It's the fact they have multiple profiles they are using for manipulation.


This is a different issue than what you brought up in your initial posting, isn't it?
As far as I know, multiple profiles are not allowed on ProZ.
However, it happens that the PM or PMs have their own profile and their company has its company profile.
In the individual profile there is a line to indicate if they are affiliated with a company.
If you know somebody that is affiliated, but this is not noted in their profile, report it via a support request (with evidence, if you have) and it will be corrected.
I have done this before.

Katalin


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 07:36
German to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry I thought I was clear Nov 13, 2012

I thought it was clear from my initial posting. They are not a registered user, they send me a message from a brand new profile/or no profile at all, and then I find their original profile with bad BB rating on ProZ. This is the issue. I reported this kind of case once, and it only appears like they were asked to indicate on the profile who they were (since the profile was lacking any information) - it was a banned agency that contacted me and their profile was kept on ProZ even after I reported them. I apologize if I don't know all the rules but can the banned agencies actually open new profiles?

Katalin, that's contradictory, I see many agencies with multiple profiles, business name changes resulting in a new profile, updated profiles etc, and what not. But even this is not an issue, the issue is when they are sneaking from a brand new profile with zero information or a not registered status.

[Edited at 2012-11-13 14:27 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:36
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
You need to report it Nov 13, 2012

They are not a registered user, they send me a message from a brand new profile/or no profile at all


I am not sure what you meant here, but if they have a profile (new or old) they are registered users.

When companies go through name changes, I think it is a good idea to keep the old BB record, and I think the usual practice is to make a note on top of the BB record about the previous name(s) the company used.
I think this sort of info should come from us, so if you know about a company that changed its name and has profiles for both the old and new name, without an indication of the link, please report it to ProZ.com's staff. How else would they know?

The same thing goes for "sneaking in with a brand new profile". Report it to site staff, and they will look into it. I am sure there are blocked agencies who would try using this method to get in touch with people, but it is also possible, that a PM, who originally created the company profile quit his/her job, and the new PM does not know the login info, therefore he/she creates a new profile. Site staff can contact them and straighten out the situation, but only if you report it.

If you get an email via your profile, and it is a scam, or anything that bothers you, you can use the quick links at the bottom of the email to:
- block the sender from sending you profile messages (it blocks both the IP address and the sender's email address, too)
- report the sender as "spam".

You can also send a support request to staff, including the entire message, if the situation is more complicated. They always appreciate if you include all headers with the email.

Katalin


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Your responsibility Nov 13, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:
Your responsibility to check

Seconded.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Misunderstanding Nov 13, 2012

Lingua 5B wrote:
The central issue here is not that they are not logged in. It's the fact they have multiple profiles they are using for manipulation.


I didn't get that from your original post, sorry.

Yes, using multiple profiles for a single company is a violation of ProZ.com's terms of service. Using one profile per project manager is not, though.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 07:36
German to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
OK, but... Nov 13, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Using one profile per project manager is not, though.


And that manager is allowed to have a profile with zero information?

Katalin, they either contact me from completely empty profiles or as unregistered users, while actually having a ProZ profile or having a banned ProZ profile, is that more clear?


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:36
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Due diligence, and reporting is the solution Nov 13, 2012

Lingua 5B wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

Using one profile per project manager is not, though.


And that manager is allowed to have a profile with zero information?


As I said, if their profile doesn't have an indication about their affiliation with a company on the BB, report it, and it will be rectified. There is really no other way to deal with this, IMHO.


Katalin, they either contact me from completely empty profiles or as unregistered users, while actually having a ProZ profile or having a banned ProZ profile, is that more clear?


Again, if you know they are banned, or not worthy as business partners, don't work for them and report them to site staff. If you think about it, there is really no other way for site staff to find out about these cases.
If you allow anybody to contact you via your profile, than this is the risk you are taking. Everybody has to make an informed decision about those profile settings. Mine is set to be open, too, because I don't want to miss out on valuable contacts. I get nuisance emails time to time, but then I block them and/or report them, and the case is closed.

Katalin


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:36
English to Japanese
+ ...
Loopholes Nov 14, 2012

I agree with what Samuel wrote here.
But aside from that, regarding multiple profiles, I'm afraid there's a loophole and it's possible.

AFAIK, even if a certain agency, say "A Translations" is banned from Proz, the company's employees can create a brand new profile. If A Translations have 5 employees, I think it's possible to create 5 new profiles, each with different names (since there are 5 different employees).

And one of them could contact you through Proz mail, or if they have your email address, they could write directly to you. And there is no way that Proz could stop this, since it's NOT illegal to create a profile by a company employee who works at a company already banned at Proz.

Maybe that's one of the reasons why I see so many colleagues around the world still getting ripped off by agencies who have been banned from Proz long time ago, not to mention "Your responsibility to check".


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:36
Member (2004)
English to Polish
What's the solution? Nov 14, 2012

I am not sure what you (the OP) expect from ProZ...

You want the possibility to be contacted by non-registered users, but only those who are not affiliated with a "bad" agency? How on Earth can ProZ verify this? Even if the user is registered most information is entered on a "good faith" principle, that is it is generally assumed people do not lie about themselves. The alternative is a lengthy and, most of all, costly verification process which I am sure will not be very welcome by some members.

I think the only sensible solution is to treat BB as a positive verification tool. That is, if the contact has many good BB entries, the risk is lower. All other contacts, registered or not, have to be treated as a higher risk.


 


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