A few providers have complained that they have noted winning Bids which contain contact details.  

This is indeed against our terms of use. Contact details should only be exchanged when a bid is accepted, which is something that’s clearly communicated in the Bidding form.   

To prevent this from happening we have now implemented an automated filtering system where bids and messages containing phone numbers or emails will be automatically removed.  

If you need to communicate with the Buyer during bidding you can use the Messaging board in your “My account”. Equally, if you have questions prior to bidding you can use the public Messaging Board on the Project details page on the site.

Since we uploaded the new ranking system for Providers late last week, we have had a few people send us questions as to how it works. 

To clarify: your Score is different to your Rating. In fact it is derived by multiplying the Rating you get for each project with the Value of that project, and adding that up for all projects you win through the site. 

In other words: 

Score = Sum (Invoice Amount x Overall Feedback Rating) 

What this means is that  

a)    the more work you bill through the site the higher your score becomes

b)    the higher the rating you get for each project the higher your score becomes  

And of course, as you will have noted, profiles are ranked according to highest scores for each category and also search results. So the higher your score the more chances you have to win business in the future.

We therefore urge you to use the above to your advantage. If you choose not to bill work through the site, you will lose out on improving your Score. 

Lastly, a few providers have raised the question as to whether work they have done in the early days (prior to our billing system going live) will be included in the Earnings. The answer is yes. We are updating everyone’s earnings to reflect their opening balances.  

New rating & ranking system

November 23, 2007

We have enhanced our feedback scoring system so that now each provider is rated separately on 4 key dimensions  

       Work Quality
       Expertise/Skill
       Timeliness
       Communication 

each one receiving a Rating of 1-5, with 5 being the highest. This produces an average Rating that’s displayed in the summary Profile, but Buyers can now view how each provider is rated across the 4 dimensions so therefore the Rating is a lot more meaningful.  

The other key metric there is “Earnings” which shows how much each Provider has earned from the site. This gives Buyers a sense of credibility and track record.

The two metrics above – Rating & Earnings – are blended into an overall “Score” for each provider that forms the basis of the ranking i.e. those with the highest score rank top of the list and the search results.  

We hope that the above will help you build a higher score and therefore win more business.  

Please do give us feedback on this as we are always striving to improve the marketplace. Your comments will be heard!

Advance search

November 22, 2007

New feature “Advanced Search” launched today enabling our users to do an a much more detailed search on our provider data-base. The new feature allows you to search for particular keywords in people’s profiles and rank them according to different criteria. The default ranking is based on Feedback score.  Equally, you can search per location and also filter the search results to see only those providers who have Portfolio documents uploaded.

If you are a Provider, it’s worth having a play with this to ensure that the relevant search results feature you. For example, if someone is searching for a “graphic designer” the best “Profile Matches” will be the ones which have “Graphic Designer” in the title. So we recommend that your title is selected such that it reflects your core skill / profession. Try it and tell us what you think !  

Recently we exhibited at the Startup Exhibition at Olympia in London. It was refreshing to see that there is indeed a growing spirit of entrepreneurship. My view is that. if the new Chancellor doesn’t succeed in completely bringing it down to pieces with his proposed CGT and taper relief changes, the UK may be on the right track to reducing the gap that exists with the US in being a breeding ground for new businesses.  

Interestingly, the a very common problem people seem to face in the very early stages of starting a businesses is one of information. You would have though that it’s more tangible things like raising cash or building a team that top of the list; but arguably before one even gets to that stage even they need to read up on “how to raise capital” or “how to build a team” etc. etc.

Whilst one may think this is a paradox given the vast resources of information accessible online these days, it’s actually quite daunting to think how much information is actually out there: even in the blogosphere alone (which is still a relatively new phenomenon considering).

In light of that I decided to share with you a few of my favouritre sources of information relevant to small-businesses and start-ups (aside of www.peopleperhour.com of course!)

  1. Paul Graham’s essays:. Covering a wide range of topics from “common pitfalls in startups” to “how to raise funding”: very pragmatic, concise and to the point.
  2. Book called “Founders at Work” by Jessica Livingstone: a very pragmatic insider into the real stories behind some of the most successful startups, and the problems they faced, as narrated by the Founders. 
  3. Book called “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore: great marketing book relevant to anyone working on disruptive innovation
  4. Book called ‘The Tipping Point’: now a classic, and still the best book I’ve read on how things go viral
  5. Techcrunch:   Web 2.0 blog
  6. Venturebeat similar to Techcrunch
  7. A VC : Blog of a New York Venture Capitalist 
  8. The Funded : if you’re raising VC money you better go to this website! You will find stories of companies funded by VCs that may just change your mind (wither way)
  9. The Bootsrappers Bible, by Seth Godin. Also a summary available online on http://www.changethis.com/8.BootstrappersBible  
  10. Venture Hacks:  great  source of in formation for business planning. And what to avoid when negotiating Terms Sheets   

Needless to say, this is not an exhaustive list, but rather ten of my favourite sources. Aside of one other which I find myself looking back to every time things go a little bit astray, just to remind me that it could all be a lot worse: the ultimate pitch . Enjoy!