What is a “Means of Direct Contact”?
A means of direct contact is a little broader than just contact information, because it includes information that gives a way for a client or freelancer to be contacted outside of Upwork. Here are some examples:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Physical address
- Link to a contact form or form requesting contact information
- Link to an applicant management system or means to submit a proposal or application outside of Upwork
- Any handles, user names, or information that would enable a user to contact you on social media or another website or platform or application that includes a communications tool (Skype, Slack, or Wechat ID)
It is a violation of Upwork’s Terms of Service to request or share this kind of information before a contract starts. For example, you shouldn’t share this information in your job post, proposal, or during an interview. Waiting to share this information until a contract starts, can also help keep you safe -- learn more about our best practices here.
The following exceptions apply to Upwork’s contact information sharing policy.
- Clients who are on the Upwork Business or Enterprise subscription plan are exempt from this rule. They are free to request and share contact information before a contract starts. Freelancers who are engaging with a Business or Enterprise client are free to request or share their contact information with those clients. You can learn more about this exception here.
- Users can be exempted from this policy for legal reasons. Contact information can be shared if it is needed for legal purposes prior to a contract starting. Pre-contract communications must still take place via Upwork. See examples in the FAQ’s below.
- Contact information may be shared for systems access. An email address can be shared pre-contract under Upwork’s Terms of Service if it is needed to gain access to a system for the purposes of scoping a project. Pre-contract communications must still take place via Upwork. See in the FAQ’s below.
Neither clients nor talent may share contact information before a contract starts unless an exception applies. All users must conduct interviews and related pre-contract communications on the Upwork platform.
Requesting or participating in sharing contact information or communicating off-platform is a violation of Upwork’s Terms of Service and can result in warnings, holds, and/or account suspension. These users can fully lose the ability to use the Upwork platform.
Learn more about the best practices for sharing information on Upwork here.
Yes, you can share personal or company names. However, we advise you to be cautious with whom you share identifying information to prevent unwanted spam, fraud, or harassment.
Yes, If you worked on a website (design, writing, etc.) for a past client and want to share the link with a potential client as part of your portfolio, you also may do so even if the website includes contact information. In these cases, please be sure to ask the client to only contact you through Upwork until a contract is started. Please note that sharing social media handles/IDs is not allowed.
Yes. You are free to share details of the work to be done, including links to your website(s). You may do this even if the website includes contact information. In these cases, please be sure to ask the freelancer to only contact you through Upwork until a contract is started. Please note that sharing social media handles/IDs is not allowed.
Thanks for your question. Yes! We know sharing your past work is important. Therefore, you can share links to external portfolios when you submit a proposal. This link can be shared:
- In your profile
- In conversations in the Upwork Message Center
- In a proposal
Note: We understand external portfolios may include contact information, it is still fine to share these, though please make sure to ask the client to only contact you via Upwork.
Sometimes after the initial vetting process, a legal or formal process is required before final project scoping, negotiations, and/or a contract can start. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- A non-disclosure agreement
- A business license
- Identifying information to confirm the right to conduct business with local authorities
- Background checks
Companies maintain information in various formats and systems that could be needed for project scoping and at times access to these systems are granted by using an email address. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Github/Bitbucket/Gitlab or other code repositories
- Google/Facebook or other ad analytics programs
- Quickbooks or other bookkeeping/accounting programs
- Cloud drive folder
- Online e-signature program
- Website host or builder