We want to be sure Upwork is a place that works for you. That’s why we’re always testing our features to make sure they are successful tools you can use to grow your work here.

We heard your feedback, and boosted proposal placebo auctions are a step we take to measure the success of the boosted proposal feature.

Now, a very small percentage of job posts will have placebo auctions for boosted proposals. Here’s what that means:

  • Freelancers can still see the placebo auction and submit boosts, but no Connects will be taken for the boost. (Only the Connects needed to apply to the job will be taken.)
  • The job posts that have placebo auctions are still real and clients will still receive all proposals submitted. The proposals will just all be ranked organically instead of appearing at the top of the client’s stack, and none of them will have the “Boosted” label.
  • Freelancers won’t know the difference between placebo actions and normal boosted proposal auctions until after they submit their proposal. After they submit their proposal, they will be notified if the auction was a placebo.
  • Only a very small percentage of auctions are placebo. Whether a job’s auction is standard or placebo is entirely random and not impacted by a client’s spend, job post characteristics, etc.
  • The placebo auction testing is only being used to allow us to accurately measure data and improve this feature.

Our beta testing of boosted proposals revealed that the feature can be helpful, with the highest bidders who occupied the three boosted slots collectively had a 37% higher chance of being hired, with the highest bidder enjoying a 43% boost in their chance of being hired. This placebo feature allows us to monitor the average benefits users can expect from boosting on an ongoing basis, helping us build and improve its usefulness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s new with boosted proposals?

To help continually measure how proposal boosting is helpful to users, a very small percentage of auctions for boosted proposals will be selected at random to be boosted proposal placebo auctions. This means that on these job posts, the boost feature will not actually boost a freelancer’s proposal on the client’s list, and we won’t take the freelancer’s boosted Connects. All proposals will still be shown to the client, but ranked organically.

Why are we using placebos for boosted proposals?

The nature of work is constantly changing and we want to be sure that the features we create help you succeed. Placebo auctions help us continually measure the impact of boosting proposals.

Do you take boosted Connects from freelancers in placebo auctions?

No, we do not take the boosted Connects you bid in placebo auctions. We do take the Connects used to apply to the job, because the job post is still real and your proposal was still submitted, just ranked organically.

If you boost in a placebo auction, you’ll see a message explaining that your proposal has not been boosted and that the job was randomly chosen to not have any proposals be boosted to the top of the list.

The proposal will also say “Not boosted” when you view it in Active proposals, so you will know that no Connects were taken for the boost.

As a client, how do I know if my job post had a placebo auction for boosted proposals?

At the top of your stack of proposals, you’ll see a disclaimer that reads “No proposals are boosted on this job post.” If you click on the icon next to the disclaimer, you’ll see a message appear with “Your job has been randomly chosen to not have any proposals be boosted to the top of the list.”

As a freelancer, how do I know if my boost was on a placebo job?

Immediately after submitting your proposal, you’ll see a message explaining that your proposal has not been boosted and that the job was randomly chosen to not have any proposals be boosted to the top of the list. Your proposal will also say “Not boosted” when you view it in Active proposals.

How many job posts are selected to have placebo auctions for boosted proposals?

Not a lot. Only a very small amount of job posts receive placebo auctions. We only need a small percentage to get the data that will help us evaluate this feature. Whether a job’s auction is standard or placebo is entirely random and not impacted by a client’s spend, job post characteristics, etc.

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