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Beware the Blue Board January 11, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Translation Sites.

Kevin at Translation Tribulations has brought to light more questionable behavior at Proz.com in a post entitled “How low can ProZ go?“. I wanted to post it here in case some of you don’t read his blog (and if you don’t, why not? It’s very informative!). Apparently ProZ is supporting corruption in the Blue Board ratings by banning certain posts for arbitrary reasons. The person making the accusation illustrates her argument by presenting her recent history with a slow payer and her attempt to post a negative rating. It gives me pause to wonder just how accurate the Blue Board is. I’m glad I rely on Payment Practices, Zahlungspraxis and WPPF (WorldPaymentPracticesFree) over the Blue Board. Payment Practices does not censor ratings unless libelous claims are made. Rating are based on “just the facts.” Apparently the ratings on the Blue Board should be taken with a grain of salt. Definitely give Kevin’s post a read.



1. Craig Morris - January 12, 2012

I know ProZ from the other side – I got a negative rating from someone I used to farm out work to in 2007. This translator – let’s just call him Book Editor – wrote another translator colleague working on a project to say that they should write directly to my client and undercut my price to steal the client away. Fortunately, the colleague he wrote to immediately forwarded the e-mail to me. I am still working with him today.

At the time, Mr. Book Editor had already written me to complain about an invoice he said I had not paid. I apologized and immediately paid the invoice, which – it turned out – I had already paid on time a few weeks beforehand. So when he tried to steal away my client (it’s the one that you later worked for with me, Jill), I had already written to him saying that I would have to deduct the invoice paid twice from the current month’s work. Luckily, the difference was positive for me (I owed him money, not the other way around), for I am sure I would never have seen any return payment from him.

ProZ could not have cared less when he gave me a terrible rating and said he would not work for me again. My only choice was to remove myself entirely from their website, which I did immediately.

I was also not able to post any of this on his ProZ site anywhere, so no potential contractor knows what they’re getting into with him.

Jill (@bonnjill) - January 12, 2012

Wow! Interesting story, Craig. I guess it takes all kinds. I would never in a million years dream of trying to undercut one of my clients to steal one of their clients away. I guess the ethics are lacking or absent in some of our colleagues.

Kenny - January 19, 2012

That’s too bad that the Blue Board would not support two-way feedback, ala the eBay feedback system for buyers and sellers. And this is not to say that the eBay system is perfect. I once was defrauded by a seller there who (in retrospect) had a suspiciously high feedback score from supposed buyers. I think there was some fraudulent padding of the seller’s score that drowned out the negative feedback left by me and other real customers.

2. Carolyn Y. - January 12, 2012

Thanks for the warning! And the extra links to less shady boards…

3. Kevin Lossner - January 12, 2012

Wow, Craig. That one really sucks. I’m surprised that no action was taken there, but then most of my good experiences are from the days when moderators like Ralf Lemster watched over the job postings, etc. and vetted things. The Site Staff (SS) are far less competent and ethical many times. Some days it’s hard to tell who is served the worst by them.

This is why I decided to follow up with a post linking professional organizations around the world. I hope people steal that list or parts of it, repost it, share it, whatever, so that clients will protect themselves by avoiding proZtitution platforms. Sooner or later, most of the real pros end up in one of these organizations, and if they don’t, they ought to 🙂

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