Trust, But Verify When Using Freelancers

There is a considerable level of trust required when working with web developers, people who do data entry for you, and others who are working on your websites or representing your business in other ways. After working with people for a period of time, we tend to trust them with important tasks, but we should always verify their work.

A few months ago, I hired a company via Elance to do data entry for one of my websites. I manually approved each of the 100 or so entries that were added, and the company did a fine job of adding this information accurately, and without stealing content from elsewhere. I was very satisfied with the work.

A few weeks ago, I hired the company again for another similar project. The work was done quickly as before, and I paid them right away, trusting that the job was done as it had been done before. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Many (maybe all) of the entries contain content that was lifted directly from other sites – some even competitors. Because of this, I can’t trust that any of the information is accurate.

It was a big error, but I am also to blame because I should have verified before releasing payment.

When you hire someone to work on your websites, sell your domain names, or do other work for your business, they are representing your interests. People who visit your websites or do business with your employees will assume you either posted the content or approve of how you are being represented, and when you don’t verify that it’s done correctly, you can end up looking bad or may even get sued depending on the issue.

It’s important that you trust the people working for you. However, you should always do what you can to verify that their work is representative of your business and what you are expecting.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. This is good information. I want to add something that happened to me recently. I hired an experienced developer that did a great job. As we got into more projects, I realized we had severe ideology differences. I felt uncomfortable asking for work to be done on issues that the developer would not like. I appreciate the work that has been done, but I want to be free to express myself so I have to change developers. Websites get very personal. I now ask potential developers if there are areas of intolerance before getting started.

  2. Copywriting is an art, often confused with “copypasting” and “word jumbling.” In a global economy, it’s very tempting to hire far-away “professionals” with no history or ethics, especially when they charge less for the job. Quality, price or speed? Pick any two.

  3. I’m a member of the Operations team at Elance and am sorry to hear about your experience. Elance takes the quality of the work very seriously, for both Clients and Contractors. I’d like to find out more about your job and will reach out to you directly.

    • I appreciate your reaching out. It’s my fault for not addressing it when it was submitted. I assumed all was good. I sent the company a message this morning, but I am sure they won’t do it all over again.

  4. If you have someone emailing prospective buyers, make sure they follow the same guidelines that you would follow. You should also seed the list with your alternative email addresses so you can make sure they are doing things as you have instructed them.

  5. Im a developer and it goes both ways. Recently worked for a company who demanded I scrape data from other business sites and steal their information.

    • So true Elliot. I told the company my feelings on it and the risk THEY are taking but they didnt care. I wont name the company because it would upset some people as you would recognize the name.

    • This wasnt a contract job Elliot, it was a full time job. The message Im trying to get across again is, it goes both ways. It would shock you the type of companies you work with these days Elliot without knowing whats going on behind the scenes.

  6. On elance and other sites, I’ve learnt to try and schedule as few jobs as possible at once so that I have time to get back to each contractor and check all the work that they have done.

    Usually with elance projects, I do several milestones (ie one with 85% of the money then another with 15% so that when the bulk has been done, I can release money before sorting out the final issues)

    When you employ companies rather than individual contractors, I guess also that sometimes you may have one person in the team and sometimes you get a different person who doesn’t do it the way that the previous did. And also there’s the time issue, sometimes they are short on time and try and cut corners.

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