Why is Upwork Suspending Freelancer Accounts?

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Upwork has been suspending freelancing accounts from the U.S. to India, Ukraine to Kenya; this is happening worldwide and not limited to any demographic region.

You probably know or have heard of a freelancer who is crying foul. It’s frustrating, to say the least, but the question that is on the vocal cords of these freelancers is, “Why did upwork suspend my account?”

Here are some few complaints from different Facebook Groups.


This is a freelancer from Phillipines whose account was suspended for sending too many proposals without any hires.


This is a freelancer from Kenya, whose account was also suspended. His suspicion is that this has to be due to the recent focus of the government on online work in kenya.

The government of Kenya through the Ministry of ICT launched the AjiraDigital program on November 24th, 2016 and now anything bad that befalls freelancers in Kenya, Ajira is to blame. I pity these freelancers.

Ajira is not to blame for the recent encounters with upwork suspending freelancer accounts.

So, what is going on?

According to an announcement made on the Upwork community page on November 23rd, 2016, freelancer accounts are being suspended for sending too many proposals regularly, and not winning projects. It is not good for business and Upwork is there to make money and for the freelancer to make money.

The announcement goes on to mention that the contributing factors to the suspension of accounts could be due to poor skills to match the jobs available on Upwork and also a violation of the Upwork terms and conditions specifically on circumvention by some freelancers.

Personally, I feel that the decision to suspend freelancers is harsh and not warranted for. The suspensions have caught most freelancers by surprise and this is not limited to newbies but also veterans.

How should have Upwork approached freelancers that keep bidding and get no jobs

If you have never bid on Upwork, then you do not know how hard it is to get hired. It is hard but also easy.

I signed up on Upwork back in 2012, and the competition was minimal to moderate and getting hired was not hard.

Nowadays, a job posting receives more than 50 applications in under 30 minutes. The competition is fierce.

Back in the day, we had 25 applications that replenished once a job was declined, or you got hired. Today, connects rule the freelancers with each job application consuming two (2) connects out of the 60 connects allocated to an unpaid freelancer account.

What am I driving at?

It is hard to get accepted into an interview with all this competition on Upwork, and this causes freelancers to panic and over-use their connects. To the system, this is an indication of spamming, and it gets worse if you are not getting hired.

I believe Upwork’s approach to this issue has been very harsh and to try and limit the proposals sent; they should have come in with a connect limiting system or even a probation system of some sort.

  • A connect limiting system would work best for this issue as it would force freelancers to apply to only… ONLY to jobs, they are sure they can execute. If this is the case, a freelancer will spend adequate time crafting proposals that will convert the potential client into a paying client, which is what Upwork wants.
  • A probation system of about six (6) months would work to give the freelancers a chance to get acquainted with freelance work and at least get that one or so many clients that will give both Upwork and the freelancer money.

Are there any viable solutions?

If you have ever read or listened to the audio book, “Who moved my Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, you ought to know by now that instead of wasting time complaining and stagnating you need to look for other opportunities to make money online.

  1. You can start off by appealing your case on Upwork, and hope that your plea is heard.It is important if you have an ongoing contract and your account gets suspended. It is happening.
  2. Join other freelancing websites and grow with them.
    There’re tons of sites offering opportunities to talented freelancers in different fields, and all you need is to look for them and sign up. And yeah… get to work.
  3. Venture into ways to make passive income online.
    This is the surest way to ensure that you will never be at the mercy of a freelancing site or an employer.
  4. Work with direct clients.
    Direct clients are the best to work with. There is no intermediary or negotiator in between. It is you (the freelancer) and the client.

So let’s wrap this up…

There is a lot of speculation on what is going on. Some freelancers are attributing this to an influx of freelancers on Upwork, and this was evident when Upwork started rejecting new freelancer profiles. It is true that Upwork is receiving a lot of traffic and sign ups in thousands if not millions.

Upwork is in this for money and so when millions of freelancers sign up and the work available is limited, measures have to be put in place, they may not be the best, but it helps clean the marketplace.

Quality talent may and will be shut out from Upwork, but it is what it is… move with the cheese.

Your thoughts are appreciated, kindly write your comments.

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5 thoughts on “Why is Upwork Suspending Freelancer Accounts?”

  1. This is a beautiful article. I had been recieving messages on twitter from friends saying their accounts was rejected. I never thought this was serious. This is a good article to answer you call.
    You know the challenge we have today as veteran freelancers is keeping the job score at 90% (top rated).
    Atleast this year I did $20K + on Upwork.
    Keep on with the spirit man.

  2. Hi, I find your post very interesting. This just happened to me, I have been told that due to many bids and few completed jobs. I have tried to comply and remove my files to protect my privacy, remove my personal details to protect my business and reputation, which is otherwise thriving outside Upwork, and close the account on good terms. But they don’t allow me to close the account. They do not want my business but they also don’t want closure and they have not answered clearly why. Has this happened to other people?

  3. Great Article!
    Making your own platform is the best thing you can do.
    Nobody will rescue you, keep knocking on different doors.
    I need to read that book today, I hear so much about it. (who moved my cheese)


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