Radical changes coming
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06-05-2017, 10:06 PM
Excel, SugarSync, Photoshop
I can finally share with you details of the first essential step of the new plan, now that it has been completed.
As I mentioned in the original post, I have outlined a 3 step plan in order to give TF a shot at returning to the state of being a vibrant community where members can discuss modern standards of design and development. With things changing drastically over the last 10 years (not only forum-wise, but the whole social landscape) it is possible we won't be able to resurrect the very original state of TalkFreelance, and that is okay, it isn't supposed to. TalkFreelance must evolve naturally.
What the new direction aims to do is create an environment that makes membership a privilege not a right. With focus on quality of contribution rather than quantity, our goal is to attract professional graphic artists, web developers and entrepreneurs to a close-knitted community, to promote the collaboration in an unbiased, trusted environment, which in return will bolster a stronger sense of community and participation.
Most freelancers and entrepreneurs have definitely noticed that it has become a struggle to either find quality local professionals or compete in online marketplaces due to an overwhelming number of lowcosters - individuals and teams that compete solely on price, in which case the primary business objective becomes volume above anything else. Most such marketplaces, especially based on project-based bidding, is not nearly as effective for contractors in North America or Europe, as they were 10-15 years ago.
When we were going through our own membership database here, I noticed a similar trend. To use India as an example, in the early years of TalkFreelance, there was an average of 1 India-based registration for every 45 accounts on average. That ratio has been consistently dropping over the years, first to 30, then 20, then 1 account from India for every 10 overall, until 60–65% of all registrations have started to come from India (that is apart from other similar world economies). Coincidentally, the quality of contributions have been dropping and they are more or less consistent in proportion to these stats. This very much ended up being a self-destructive process.
Inspired by the early vibes of TalkFreelance, to revert this activity and to become attractive to truly top creative talent again, we made the decision to promote the resource within select markets only, while closing it to a number of others.
Over the last two weeks, we have physically removed 9,827 accounts from our membership, the vast majority of which came from India, Pakistan, Philippines and Bangladesh (the full list shown below).
This operation has only affected accounts with 0 posts, but already proved to be an excellent idea with a practical outcome. During the search we would come across a lot of accounts that had nothing but a link in them (link builders) or simply stored-for-later-use spam accounts. I am also reviewing the option to extend the clean-up even further.
Additionally, when TalkFreelance re-opens its registration (after we migrate to the new platform), it will no longer accept registrations from the aforementioned countries.
The full list of countries that are now restricted from TalkFreelance (in order of volume of removed accounts):
I realize that occasionally strong creative individuals residing in these territories will want to join and participate in our community and we should have a defined path to welcome them. Individuals from these countries will still be able to apply. However, a more detailed application will be required and only qualified people, as vetted by members of staff or community representatives, will be accepted. I haven’t thought this through yet to be honest, but I am certain we can come up with a clever solution in this regard. This is a secondary priority at this moment.
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