Introducing a new ranking algorithm – CERT


Hello PPHers,

This week we introduced a new ranking algorithm that we have been working on for months now; together with a few things to help our community improve their CERT.

I have mentioned CERT in a few previous posts already, but I want to reiterate first why we did this:

Why did we introduce CERT?

First let me start by saying that any ranking algorithm, in our view, is aimed at rewarding the highest quality and most relevant talent up the ranks, so they get more exposure to Buyers.

Easy and frictionless discovery of quality talent is what keeps bringing Buyers back to PPH and what sets us apart.

Before CERT the way this worked was purely based on how much work is billed through the site, and the Buyer rating that work has received.

However, as our marketplace grew we realized more and more that this definition of quality is limiting. It’s not incorrect per se, rather it is  limiting as it doesn’t factor other things that matter a lot to Buyers. I.e. Sellers being professional and reliable, responding fast to messages, (sometimes the busier they get the less this happens);delivering on time and avoiding things like disputes, cancellation/abandoning of work and refunds.

It turns out that how one gets to the end result is as important as getting there – at least to our Buyers. This is also a reflection of how the offline world works : the perception of the quality of the experience one receives when buying something is a combination of the quality of the product purchased, but also the ‘pre’ and ‘after-sale’ service you get.

This is what CERT aims to solve for.

So what is CERT?

CERT is an acronym that brings together the 4 pillars that define quality for a Buyer on PPH.

In practice what this does is it takes the classic ranking score we had to date and overlays it with a quality score that’s derived from the C, E & T in CERT as below.

  • Community: Community is at the heart of PPH. What the C in CERT measures is how one is engaged as a member of the community, looking after not just their own interests but those  of the whole community. For example, how much one refers others to the site to help grow the community, how one is engaged in social commenting to help grade and curate great content, and how one creates great original content that is liked and shared by others on the site – be it their Portfolio, Hourlies imagery, copy, and profile completeness.
  • Engagement: The ‘E’ in CERT measures things such as speed of response, timeliness of delivery, and how our users abide by the Rules of Engagement of the site. Which in short means being professional and staying out of trouble, avoiding disputes, refunds, and anything that creates a negative experience for the Buyer as a general rule. The Buyer is, after all, your customer and whilst the customer isn’t always right, that should be the starting ethos in any professional relationship so as to keep customers happy.
  • Repeat usage: Retaining a customer is the ultimate metric of success for any individual or business providing a service. Sellers who retain Buyers (for the same or a new job alike), will not only have higher earnings (which itself boosts CERT), but will get a magnified boost to their CERT score on top.  So one dollar, pound, or euro retained is worth more than a new one, and that is because it reflects on great service delivery.
  • Trust: Authenticity validation via linking your Facebook or LinkedIn account is a good first step, followed by getting endorsements from past employers, and good reviews on PPH from work won on the site. To jump up faster you can import clients from outside of PPH and start working with them with Zero Commission fee.

How will this affect my ranking in practice?

Well for starters CERT is now a dynamic algorithm, which changes much faster and which promotes quality in a more holistic sense and not just Buyer reviews.

To stay at the top one needs to continue billing through the site. Unlike before the Earnings in CERT now has a decay factor, which avoids people who did really well a long time ago but are now dormant, to keep staying at the top.

Conversely, CERT helps fresh new rising talent to accelerate faster and have a shot to get to the top if they play by the rules.  To reward effort we overlay the quality score with a ‘no claims’ bonus, which turbocharges those who have not committed any violations for a period of time and have retained their customers. This gives them a shot at rising to the top faster.

For those who’ve already been successful at winning work it  means they can’t rest on their laurels and need to continue doing well to stay on top. Additionally, for those who are new and haven’t yet had a chance it means it is easier for them to move up quickly by sticking to the principles of CERT.

CERT levels

CERT is a continuous score that works in the background. However, to make it easier for people to understand we have broken it down into levels.  Sellers get a badge on their profile to reveal this level.


  • CERT 1:  You can get here without earnings, based on showing you are a promising prospect
  • CERT 2 & 3: You must have earnings through the site
  • CERT 4-5: You must have continued earning plus a high quality score
  • TOP 10: Limited to the top 10  CERT scored for the last 30 days rolling

The CERT-o-meter

We have created a few posts on the Blog to help the community put CERT into practical do’s and dont’s here.

However, more importantly we have introduced what we have called a CERT-o-meter which is customised for each user based on what level they are at. This is what you will see in your dashboard when you log in as seen below:

If you click on ‘Boost My CERT’ it will offer you personalized tips on how to improve it.


Closing remarks

We understand that some may be unhappy with this change as it will affect their score. If you would like further insight on the factors that affect your CERT Score, please read our post on Understanding CERT.

As with any change of this scale we cannot please everyone, and we take decisions based on what will improve the marketplace overall. We are confident that CERT will do just that. It will help onboarding and growth of Sellers. It will reward quality more fairly and more holistically. It will therefore bring more Buyers, thus more work to the site and retain them longer. This makes the marketplace and the community grows with it.

As always I am open to your comments, thoughts and remarks.




  • Jan White

    WOW! Sounds good to me! Thx PPH for remembering the people who sell creative talent and work hard but don’t always hit ‘Top Earner’ status.

  • palaceonweb

    I am getting good business through PPH. Not sure this CERT system is good for me..

  • Penny


    The CERT rating needs to allow some room for refunds. I’ve provided several refunds where client requirements have simply changed and it hasn’t been anyone’s fault.

  • mkk123

    “Which in short means being professional and staying out of trouble, avoiding disputes, refunds, and anything that creates a negative experience for the Buyer as a general rule. ”

    So, sellers will get penalised for opening a dispute, absolutely regardless of the grounds on which it’s opened – i.e. even if the buyer hasn’t paid an invoice? That seems pretty biased.

  • Ryan Pilbeam

    And it just keeps getting worse…

    What annoys me is clicking on boost my CERT tells me to invite my clients outside of PPH on here. Thanks – but I’d rather not do that; I use PPH to pick up extra work, I don’t need to invite my clients onto the platform – there’s no benefit for me, my invoicing system works fine.

    It also says I’ve been involved in a high number of cancellations/refunds – maybe so (although I personally don’t think so) – how do you determine whether this was a dispute, or because the job wasn’t actually possible/client changed spec/incorrect info supplied by the client?

    Another one.. complete my profile – my profile is complete. I could fill it up with garbage but it’s short and to the point, there’s no value in waffling on.

    Invite my friends, use the HireMe widget, get endorsed by friends – again, these aren’t things I really want to do. My friends don’t freelance, I don’t want the HireMe widget on my site and I have enough feedback on here that a few endorsements shouldn’t matter, especially considering they can be faked anyway.

    I see what you’re trying to achieve with the new ranking system – but it doesn’t actually give an indication to the client on how good you are at what you say you are; and I can see clients easily thinking it’s exactly that.

  • Allison

    Until this morning I was the top rated PA of all time, the 3rd top endorsed PA and the top PA in the last 30 days. I have billed over £1000 in the last 30 days and have an 100% rating. I sell hourlies and win jobs and have a track record on this site established over 5 years. Now with Cert I have a rating of 3 which appears to be based on my response times to clients which you deem as slow. My clients often send me information by Workstream for info that doesn’t require a response so it feels a little bad to penalise someone for this, if this is the only reason. I have followed up instructions to try and improve this but a little more guidance would be appreciated if this is the only thing that you are penalising for…

  • Consultopia Consultants

    Have PPH found the self destruct button with this ranking CERT?

    I think so. I have given two refunds in three months. As I work in the legal sector it is not as straight forward as many other hourlies. Sometimes I have to tell the client that they really need to sit down face to face with a solicitor. Now, I think I am doing the decent thing, just looking to take money off people would be wrong and could get me barred by the Law Society!

    Then to get my ranking back I get invited to put clients who already pay me direct to come on to PPH, no thanks. I use PPH to earn extra money every month, not to introduce my clients to additional competition.

    I am honestly considering my position. I don’t do what 95% of the Freelancers do on this site, Graphic design, Websites etc. My work is SPECIALIST!!!

    It appears to me that PPH come up with some brainwave in the pub, then implement it without prior thought or reference to those who EARN PPH money, i.e. the Freelancers.

    I appeal that they change it quickly. I had 100% rating and can no longer see what I had worked for. Giving a refund has only ever been down to the client not understanding what they needed!

    Elance, Freelancer and a few others might have my advertising money instead soon.

  • Consultopia Consultants

    I agree with everything you say.

  • Consultopia Consultants

    Exactly. I work in legal, someone asks me for a Joint Venture document that turns into a complex tax and stamp duty liability contract needing both a solicitor and tax accountant. I offer that advice and we agree a refund. I get penalised! Would PPH prefer I rip the client off, get them involved in what could be a massive legal claim, with PPH being co-respondents? Clearly they do not factor these issue into account as the CERT system is weighted against the honest Freelancers.

  • Cyj Andrew

    This sounds like an interesting approach. At first, CERT sounded like an exam was required (CERT–ification). But after reading through the post, I think I like the idea. It could be a way of encouraging new talent, and up and coming experts, to engage with customers and the community. All of those are great for PPH and the seller’s bottom line, afterall.
    I will read the related articles to this one. I think I would very much like to “Boost my CERT”.

    Great work.

  • Consultopia Consultants

    The same for me. Some clients buy without reading. Then they realise they cannot get Champagne by paying for Lemonade. What are we to do.

    I am very, very angry over this change,

  • Jamie

    This new ranking system looks like a way to force freelancer to promote PPH for free in order to achieve higher ranking. What an ingenious move by PPH to leverage on the freelancer desire to get jobs. Wonderfully disguised as a tool to help Freelancer. Bravo

  • Grant


    I like the fact the lower earners are not getting penalised, as some jobs I need doing might only be £50-100.

    There is certainly a gap in the market for a focused developer to build a UK based market place that has a huge emphasis on a real feedback system. Each and every one of these sites gets a niche, gets traffic, then turns into a junk yard. I’ve got a 30 page plan that should get any good developer going if they want it 🙂

  • E

    From a self-marketing perspective, I preferred the rank of Rising Star. It gave the impression that I was going places and that the client was benefitting early on from a talent destined for greatness (not to put too fine a point on it…) But CERT 3 sounds, well, permanent. Like an egg classification.

  • Krisztina Toth

    I agree with Ryan. I issued two refunds. One because an hourlie of mine was bought without the client even asking in advance if I was available or up for the task. The second because a client awarded me the job a month after I placed my proposal and he was very unresponsive and vague in his replies. It strikes me to see that according to PPH, I’ve been ‘involved in a significant number of refunds’. I repeat that’s two refunds in three years!

    I’m asking why is PPH penalizing sellers for the fault of buyers? Is there also a ranking system for buyers who post low budget jobs one after the other and fail to award even those?

  • Jon F

    This seems a very flawed system. There are many times where a client purchases an hourly but does not provide the information I need to complete it for them.

    I will attempt to contact them and if I get no response or they change their mind, I issue a refund. Looking at my CERT improvement list, I have a high number of refunds which affects the score.

    This leaves me with a choice – do nothing – but then PPH will contact me and say they are going to issue an automatic refund as there has been no update in the workstream, issue a refund myself (the fair thing to do) – although I will be penalised by PPH for not completing the job or simply do not provide hourlies in the first place.

    All three options seem to do neither me or PPH any favours.

    The escrow system is there to protect payments for both sides so for me to issue a refund and then have my CERT affected seems very odd and badly thought out.

    If I fail to deliver an hourlie – penalize me, otherwise there is no need for PPH to get involved.

  • Dan

    I think there are good and bad points with this system, but I have to agree that some of the suggestions on the Boost your cert page are basically methods for PPH to get more users.

    I.E: Invite your friends

    I don’t see how that in any way reflects my skills/ability/professional conduct etc..

  • C

    This is crazy! So, I sell an Hourlie and the client doesn’t supply the details required to deliver that Hourlie, so one whole month later I cancel that Hourlie. One month being 6 times the time required to deliver that Hourlie – and now I can get penalised for cancelling a dud deal! WTF?

  • marie

    the widget code does not appear to work, it does not display anything at all.

  • Jez

    Previous to this new system I’d have described my profile as impeccable….

    Now though it has gone down…. to Level 3.

    And I know this is due to my ‘refund/dispute’ history.

    NOT in the services I have sold, but in the services I have received, which to be totally brutal with you PPH, have been abysmal.

    (I was let down by 4 freelancers who simply won the work and did nothing for a week, were uncontactable, never got back to me and only when I cancelled their job did they get back with lame excuses and lies).

    So, erm, thanks PPH 🙂

  • Vanessa Medina

    I like the system, but it seems as the Cert 1 is the best cert you can get, and it’s the other way around. I had to read all this post to understand this. Will the clients be aware of this in an easy and graphic way?

  • PPHer

    It seems to me that this rating system is as much to do with encouraging sellers to publicise PPH using their contacts rather than actually providing an objective rating that measures a seller’s ability to deliver. PPH already has a feedback mechanism that is better than this.

  • wtoalabi

    This is not being fair to those of us who have had to issue refunds…especially when no one is at fault.
    Also, what happens when late project delivery is caused by the buyer?

  • Awardwinner

    CERT is a new idea! keeps getting worse. Algorithm is not working properly?

    See My qualification:

    I have 487 reviews with 100% rating score. Also 203 people have starred my profile, 27 people have Endorsed me and I have made £109K revenue, for the last 6 months I have been in the Top 10. Refunds happened in very rare cases just a couple of times and yet I have got CERT3.

    I doubt its working, people with just 47 reviews, have made it to top 10CERT, not sure about CERT’s working.

    Kindly don’t try to apply these types of algorithm which affects the old users of the community

  • Allen

    Hi Xenios,

    I am sure you are aware of the difficulty in securing clients for non-UK natives. And perhaps that most proposals do not generate any reply, let alone work. Your new rule of only allowing 03 messages per month if unanswered leaves us with very little opportunity to gain clients.

    Kindly try to look at things from our perspective (as non-UK residents) who find trying to win over clients to be a Herculean Task to put it mildly.

    Thank you,

  • vivienne neale

    Refunds and disputes are part of business. Sometimes these things are inevitable and have to be taken on the chin. Therefore to be penalised like this makes no sense. I know there are always two sides to every story but I’ve always found that freelancers seem to come lower down the pecking order to buyers on PPH. The fact freelancers have to pay for more bids if they need them and pay their percentage and buyers can just post a job with no ‘risk’ and therefore no interest in the people who might be working for them is a flaw in my opinion.

    I have worked hard to promote PPH and tried to be a responsible freelancer but I think it’s unfair to be penalised for refunds (unless you have failed to respond, completed a well below average result or generally been unprofessional – that’s different) But what happens is you have almost made a potential customer’s mind up for them. They see a 3 or whatever and swiftly move on and as people have said on this forum, all the hard work is for nothing.

    Really, I do not want to add my external clients to PPH and then eventually have to pay commission. What I do on PPH is one thing, what i do outside is quite another and I do not want to blur the boundaries – therefore I shall be penalised. I am so disappointed by this. I think perhaps it’s worth reviewing this change in the light of the comments received; I’m sure you will. Thanks

  • ampeculiar

    This is a big joke! It’s simply a carefully crafted way of USING sellers to build their platform. Within months I have made over £10,000 on PPH. My work is in SEO and I have written emails to Xenios about the work duration which isn’t effective. When carrying out link building, a true white hat SEO work is nothing like the crap high link building velocity work that most SEO guys deliver in 2 or 3 days. This is one of the reasons sites get penalised by Google. On other similar platforms like PPH, you are able to specify actual duration of work. For me I need 10 – 13 days to complete each order so you can imagine the lateness on my file. My clients understand what am offering and why I need to take that long but PPH customer support team clearly leave on a different planet. They keep bothering about lateness and possible refund when the client isn’t complaining. Now with the crappy CERT system, true hard workers that make them money will be penalised for silly reasons. It’s unbelievable! Why don’t you spend more money on your marketing budget or have a nice fee related reward for those that bring customers instead of penalising like it’s an obligation. Really crazy stuff going on here!

  • Wayne Hodkinson

    Ditto Jez. I was 100% and a Superhero and now a lowly level 4 WTF!

  • Wayne Hodkinson

    I was 100% and a Superhero and now a lowly level 4 WTF!

  • Ozra

    Even though i have a CERT4 and very close to CERT5 which seems to be the top level, i have to say that PPH should leave some room for refunds, we do not live in a perfect smooth world and sometimes **** happens, a year ago that wasn’t a problem because we could just issue a full refund, it was like a plan B in case something went wrong, both buyers and sellers could agree on a full refund, the automatic 1 star rating is really unfair (even though i haven’t got any of those) but who knows what could happen later, so i really think a refund or two per month shouldn’t affect the CERT ranking or rating and leave it to the buyer to decide if he want to rate the seller with a 1-5 star,



  • Martina

    What was wrong with the old system where clients rated us by communication, quality etc? Shouldn’t it be in the client’s hands you’ve already proved you have no idea and limited staff as unless you monitor every workstream closely you will continue to make mistakes like those mentioned. Way to champion the freelancer

  • Denise

    I too have experienced this problem with clients. We can communicate as much as we like, but we cannot force a client to give what is needed to get the job done. Some clients are like kids in a sweetie shop, they grab what they want, then sometimes are actually not ready to be able to take advantage of what they have in their hand. Hmm…

  • Kath Gooch

    Wow – Top seller for November with no disputes (ever as far as I can remember) with 100% feedback from 74 reviews and I could only manage a CERT 3??? Something is not quite right here!! Surely!!

  • Ομιλίτης-4

    You have to separate your promotion campaign from freelancers’ reputation. I don’t want to be your free advertising machine, if you want to promote you just pay me 🙂

  • Denise

    Agreed. This should not be part of the formula; it skews perceptions by who counts ie client. It may be an incentive to some, but perhaps rewards can be achieved some other way for inviting outsiders beyond the £10 bonus.

  • Atul Sharma

    Nice system updates. I will try to be on Top. 🙂

  • Denise

    Could not have put it better myself.

  • mkk123

    I’m not sure who PPH think they are fooling with “C is for community” – they might as well have been transparent about it and labelled it as “please give us free advertising”. Pretending it’s for the benefit of the users seems a bit patronising.

  • Gr8 Internet Solutions

    This new system is an utter disgrace, is disrespectful to freelancers who have spent years building a good reputation through PPH and serves no purpose other than to force users to hand all of their clients directly to People per Hour!
    It seems that the goalposts are constantly moved in order to force freelancers to drum up more business for PPH, rather than getting more business for their own business / earnings. once upon a time, PPH seemed like a good opportunity for freelancers, now it feels like an opportunity to line the pockets of someone else!

    Questions raised by this change include:
    1) Why should anyone hand their client list to PPH in order to improve their “CERT” rating.
    2) Why should PPH have any knowledge of business conducted with existing clients outside of this site.
    3) Why should we freelancers have to invite “friends” in order to improve our rating.
    4) Why does PPH keep on changing the way in which freelancers are ranked / rated. (1st ranked on work completed, then requiring Endorsements, now requiring completion of tasks).
    5) Why should a freelancer be penalised for giving a refund? (Is it because it loses PPH money?)
    6) Why should a freelancer be penalised for not submitting a proposal or declining a job quickly enough? (What if We’re unsure whether we can fulfill a timeline, as it’s dependent on other jobs we are working on? Why can’t we delay our response?).
    7) Why should we lose the great reputations we have earned, to give PPH a financial boost? Yes, PPH is a business but the business of earning a commission from our earnings is no longer good enough? (Sounds more like greed to me).

    What rating system is in place to protect Freelancers? Like many others, I have been “stung” by bad buyers and non-paying clients. How are you going to deal with them?

    Someone mentioned a “Self Destruct Button” – they could very well be right! PPH no longer benefits people trying to work for a living and hasn’t done so since then introduction of “Hourlies”. Now, it’s just gotten even less favourable!

    Personally, instead of focussing on improving my CERT rating on here, I’ll be devoting more time on other sites such as Elance, where Freelancers are held in higher regard by the business they are pumping revenue into!

  • Gr8 Internet Solutions

    People who have spent years earning their reputation have to start all over again, like yourself!
    It’s an awful and seemingly greedy move by PPH!

  • Gr8 Internet Solutions

    You are absolutely spot on, Ryan! Yet again, PPH failing the people who build their revenue!

  • Gr8 Internet Solutions

    Similarly to yourself, I had a 100% rating, earned over time. I also had some endorsements from external clients.
    I have never had to give a refund.
    I have never cancelled a job.

    I have a CERT 3 rating, because I haven’t added my private clients and (non-freelancing) friends to People per Hour’s (contact list) platform.

    I already got complaints from people who had agreed to give an endorsement and were then inundated with emails from the site. They even changed settings on the accounts they were FORCED to set up in order to endorse me but the settings for email correspondence apparently do not count for anything!

  • Gr8 Internet Solutions

    It is exactly that!
    1) Underhanded.
    2) Deceitful.
    3) Disrespectful.

  • SofiaAntoniaMilone

    Honestly, looking at the suggestions for how to improve my cert, all I see is ways to drive business to PPH – which is nothing to do with how well I do my job, and also shouldn’t BE my job.

    I’ve also done everything in abundance that it suggests before any of this was dreamed up – without any incentive – so now I’m feeling rather hard done by if I’m honest. I’m an ambassador, I answer PPHers queries in my spare time, I’ve driven countless clients and freelancers to use this site before 0% and endorsements were born.

    This feels like a slap in the face – I’ve gone from 100% looking good to ‘cert 3’ – which as a buyer I’d not understand, and as a seller I’m ashamed of. Awful.

    And of course, as I look at how to improve my ranking, if I put aside everything I’ve done, I can only glean that I have to bill more, and earn more to rise further – which actually is the exact OPPOSITE of the ethos this system is supposed to be counter-acting, surely?

  • Gr8 Internet Solutions

    I wrote a whole response to this, but during moderation it appears that it was not allowed!
    I have said something against a flawed system, so it is not permitted for public viewing! (They do things like this in China also! )

  • Gr8 Internet Solutions

    Anybody else notice that comments pointing out the ridiculous nature of this system are being moderated and removed?

  • Afsheen

    Disappointed with this algorithm..I was almost there to be a superhero and all of sudden, i am CERT 3. I find old system much more simple and reflective of my skills, capabilities and trading history…I don’t really understand CERT as it complicated and flawed…totally clueless how is it promoting skilled sellers?

  • Alison

    I always had 100% feedback…yet now I am knocked down to a CERT 2 – which makes me look rubbish to prospective clients – yet everyone has been exceptionally pleased with my work. Very disappointing. It has put me off using PPH. It should be a fair reflection of the rating from the client, not how much we are marketing PPH.

  • Manto

    I got CERT1 with only 4 jobs won. I thought I am allowed to be proud with this as I am put in a similar rank to other freelancers who have won mountains of job at PPH. I’d love to increase my CERT by, obviously, promoting PPH, but unfortunately I am anti-Facebook personally and ever since I worked here it’s my biggest flaw for a ‘complete profile’ which, I believe, a mandatory to leverage CERT. If only PPH allow connect to Twitter, I can connect to my Twitter account and probably I will help promoting this lovely site with my tweets. But as long as it’s otherwise, I am settle with never rising CERT.

  • Consultopia Consultants

    I agree Dan. I do not know one single Freelancer. Not one. So how do I boost my CERT by introducing more? Crazy!!

  • Mike_Hodges

    PPH seems to be on a mission to damage itself and its clients. Recently we had the “Limiting the asking of questions” farce and now this radical and nonsensical change to the rating system. Which, from my perspective, is nothing about ensuring the buyers of services have a way to judge the service providers but a blatant attempt by PPH to use us to push PPH and boost its profits at our expense (our time, our contacts from outside PPH etc).

    These two recent episodes lead me to draw two conclusions.

    A. PPH feels that it can make any changes to its processes, terms & conditions etc and we, the people who actually make money for them, must accept it like craven sheep.


    B. PPH appears to lack even the most basic idea of customer service. If I treated my clients like this then they’d desert my business in the blink of an eye.

    Finally, I will not link PPH to my social media or my website. Not now, not ever. If that effects the work I can win via PPH then I will accept that and move on to other online freelancing service providers. I suspect that I won’t be alone, which is a shame.

  • Milios Thanasis

    Well, i am not sure if this “New” rating system will be better than the one before. The previous was pretty straightforward based on the income. This one ? For example how invite my friends will help me boost my Cert Rating (this doesnt sound like it’s a way for users to provide reliable and honest service to pph clients, more like a way to promote pph, which is fine as i already do, but not this way). Time will tell, the only thing i know is that i was 100 dollars away from moving up the ranks and now i am a Cert 4, and dont know how to become a Cert 5 (Also Cert 5 when compared to Cert 10 (limited to the top pph’ers of a given period) is somewhat missleading, when people see some freelancer with Cert 10 and arent aware of how the system works, if the go to a user with a Cert 3,4,5 later on it will be a complete disaster.

  • Matthew

    I recently (in the last week) became a superhero here on PPH, but It now seems that my hard work to get there has now been a waste of time… 🙁

    PPH – I’m starting to lose count now of how many times you have upset myself and other freelancers with your recent changes (let me remind everyone of the 3 clarification message rule)… Isn’t it about time you actually asked for feedback from the people that earn you money (freelancers) before bringing in your eccentric ideas?

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Thank you all for your feedback. We are listening and will publish a new blog tomorrow to address your questions and concerns. We are confident this will help to provide you with some clarity on CERT.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Thank you all for your feedback. We are listening and will publish a new blog post tomorrow to address your questions and concerns. We are confident this will help to provide you with some clarity on CERT.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    CERT is aimed at rewarding the highest quality freelancers so it is good for anyone who aims towards that :-).

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Penny,
    We understand that refunds and disputes are not always a Seller’s fault. We don’t penalize anyone for refunds but we do reward and promote those with a low refund rate.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Liam, Everything will be taken into account 🙂

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Mkk, just to clarify that we do understand that refunds and disputes are not always a Seller’s fault. The number of penalties has greater impact on your CERT score. That is, the number of refunds and disputes the Seller is solely responsible for. Let me know if you have any further questions.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Ryan,
    We’re sorry to hear your concerns. The new CERT score is a function that encompasses many things including feedback, earning, endorsements, profile completion and much more. This is a way for both new and existing Sellers to show they have a good working track record and build an element of trust with potential Buyers. It goes without saying however that feedback still holds much more weight than endorsements.

    Regarding disputes and refunds, we understand that refunds and disputes are not always a Seller’s fault. CERT measures the amount of refunds issued in relation to your total sales. I hope this provides you with a better insight.
    Thank You

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Allison,
    Congratulations on your billing and feedback. Just to clarify response times only refers to new work enquiries. Ideally to grow your score aim to respond within 24hrs.
    Hope that’s helpful for you.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Consultopia,
    Thanks for sending in your concerns. We understand that refunds and disputes are not always a Seller’s fault. CERT measures the amount of refunds issued in relation to your total sales. I understand that your work is specialist and we are not saying that refunds will never occur. Are you selling Hourlies or winning proposals for your work? Let me know so I can provide you with some suggestions that may help to prevent refunds. Many Thanks

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Thanks for your great feedback Cyj Andrew, yes in turn this will help the community. Let us know how you get on with boosting your CERT score.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Mohd,
    Thanks for your comments. Apart from individual performance we have to reward contributions to the community. If the community grows everybody wins. An increase in the number of Buyers using the site also increases the number of Jobs that get posted. The Seller, Community, and PPH all benefit from this 🙂

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Kriztina,

    We understand that refunds and disputes are not always a seller’s fault. We don’t penalize anyone for refunds but we do reward and promote those with a low refund rate. The greater impact on your CERT score is the number of penalties. That is, the number of refunds and disputes the seller is solely responsible for. I hope that provides you with some clarification.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for your feedback.
    Apart from individual performance we have to reward contributions to the community because PPH is firstly a community. If the community grows everybody wins. An increase in the number of Buyers using the site also increases the number of Jobs that get posted. The Seller, Community, and PPH all benefit from this.

    I hope that gives you a bit more insight into why community activity can help to boost your CERT.

    Many Thanks

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    It’s a way to reward contributions to the community. If the community grows everybody wins. An increase in the number of Buyers using the site also increases the number of Jobs that get posted which provides more opportunities to Sellers like yourself. I hope that helps you to understand why the C in CERT exists for the community.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Claire,
    PPH is a community and growing the community means more work for everybody. As an increase in the number of Buyers using the site also increases the number of Jobs that get posted.
    Let me know if you have any more questions relating to this.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Web Studio,
    If you would like to improve your score you try and implement the 10 practical tips to boost your CERT score we posted here:
    Let us know how you get on.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Vanessa,
    Glad to hear you like the system. Yes clients are aware of the scoring.
    Many Thanks

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Awardwinner,

    Congratulations on your success with PPH. The CERT score is a function that encompasses many things, each of which are factored in a different weight as outlined here:

    Once you have a better understanding on what factors effect your score and implement some of the suggestions it will be reflected within your score.
    Let me know if you have any further questions.
    Many Thanks

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Thanks Atul!

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Kath
    Thanks for sending in your concerns. Just to provide you with some more insight CERT also takes into account your response time, follow on work rate, endorsements etc.
    We have published a blog post today to help provide users like yourself with a better understanding of how CERT works with the aim being to help you achieve a higher score:
    Let me know if you have any further questions.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Afsheen,
    Thanks for writing in. This should help you gain a better understanding of CERT:
    Many Thanks

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Manto,
    You can also link your profile with LinkedIn. It’s a great way for Sellers to build trust with Buyers,

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Allison,
    Have you also read our insight into CERT explaining which factors are considered within your score?
    You can view it here:

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi linda,
    We understand that refunds and disputes are not always a seller’s fault. We don’t penalize anyone for refunds but we do reward and promote those with a low refund rate. The greater impact on your CERT score is the number of penalties. That is, the number of refunds and disputes the seller is solely responsible for. I hope that provides you with some clarification.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Nick,
    CERT still takes into account client feedback but also other factors that are important such as response rate, penalties and follow up work as these are all good signs of a great Seller.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Antonella,
    Thanks for your comments. In reference to your concerns sorry to hear you feel it came unannounced as we have previously posted about CERT including practical tips and a brief introduction to what was to come.
    Regarding refunds we understand that it’s not always a Sellers fault and that is considered within the score. You can get a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the final score here:
    Do let me know if you have any further questions.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hey Charlotte,
    Sorry to hear your concerns. Just to clarify that CERT takes into account various factors such as feedback, earnings, response time etc. The introduction of CERT also means that new freelancers to the site have the opportunity to build their reputation on PPH by inviting existing clients to the website at no cost to them which helps to builds trust with Buyers. You can read more about that here to get a better understanding of CERT:
    Hope that gives you a bit more clarity on the new ranking system.
    Many Thanks

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Laura,
    Sorry to hear about your concerns with CERT. With regards to the community yes we do reward those that contribute to the community as an increase in the number of Buyers using the site also increases the number of Jobs available for our freelance community. Our latest post explores this in more detail and should give you a better understanding of CERT:
    Please let me know if I can help with any other questions you have.
    Many Thanks

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi WebMarketing Analytics,
    Just to provide some insight. CERT takes into account feedback and earnings. In addition to this we also look at factors like response time, percentage of refunds to total sales, follow on work etc as these are also a good reflection of great Sellers. We appreciate the work you have put into building your reputation on PPH and the new ranking system aims to really champion the highest quality Sellers. Please look through our tips on improving your score as small changes could help to boost it further:
    Many Thanks

  • JC

    It’s awesome, only thing you now need to do is setup a Buyers CERT as well so that you have a score as a buyer and a seller or those who only buy can also be gauged by a score.

  • David Black

    You get what you put in with PPH, I had my account for a year or two on the sidelines, focusing mainly on local work. It was only when I started to take it more seriously, see it (in it’s own way) a marketing channel that needs as much attention as print, search or social media marketing – That things started to pick up quickly.

    It’s early days with CERT, let’s see how it pans out!

  • NeilWkz

    I don’t do much but use this as a billing system and only bid for jobs where it seems I can build up an ongoing relationship with the client. I originally thought that I had been downgraded – As I’m Cert 5, but it seems outside the top 10 that’s the highest level. So I guess that’s pretty good good, I’d be keen to make sure the explanation of rankings is clear.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Neil,
    Yes thats correct, congratulations on achieving Level 5.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hey David,
    It takes into account the initial contact so the first time you’re invited to submit a proposal or the first time a Buyer enquires about an Hourlie.
    Hope that gives you a better understanding 🙂

  • Jan White

    Could the promotion of PPH also be seen as an aid to self-promotion? Could it be to all our benefits to see PPH grow as this should also facilitate the opportunity for our personal growth? What’s wrong with being a Cert3? For many this would be something to be proud of surely? The challenge of Cert should be viewed as a good thing and as a new way of building business, it provides another new challenge and a way to ensure our individual growth as well as a monitor for our involvement in tthe growth of PPH the umbrella under which we source and build our businesses. My clients buy my skills not my Cert rating, so I am looking at Cert in a positive light, the only thing I’d like to see is information which says you need to do X+X to get to the next Cert level. Form me, Cert is fun and motivational and, like every other new goal in life, it will provide the push I need to work a little harder and achieve a little more and that will definately benefit me, so if promoting PPH gives me the chance to develop additional skills in marketing me as an Contractor then I am happy. Thx PPH.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi All

    Thanks for your comments. We just wanted to give you an update.

    As the original post highlighted we believe that the introduction of CERT will make the quality of the marketplace better, however in saying that we have seen your feedback and suggestions and we will be making some changes in the coming weeks to accommodate some of your pain points to make CERT a better experience.

    Thanks again for your feedback.

  • David

    Hmm, I created a PPH account a long time ago. Did bid on a couple of jobs. But did not get any work. I’ve literally just logged in again with a view to bidding on some more jobs but bit nervous as it appears the CERT system is like the unfair at times Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) that’s eBay use where the buyer is most of the time deemed to be in the right with no recompense 🙁

  • rob

    I think this is poor form PPH. I do not think that this will help your freelancers at all. I am equally unconvinced that it will help you to increase your profits. As an organization, you cannot continue to prioritise clients over freelancers and expect to keep top talent; without the talent, your site will ultimately fail.
    The cream will rise, and people will find ways to manipulate the system, but changing the goalposts so often, and in a way that insults some of your most committed freelancers is damaging.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Are you a new Seller to the site? CERT has many advantages for both new and existing Sellers. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Sag,
    When you feature your Hourlie the Hourlie goes to the 1st slot in both default listings page, as well as in searches for your relevant keywords within the Hourlie. With other Hourlies also getting featured, the first Hourlie goes to the 2nd and then the 3rd slot until it drops off.
    Let me know if you have any further questions.
    Many Thanks,

  • PeoplePerHourBlog

    Hi Mane,
    Can you confirm if you registered as a Buyer or Seller?
    Many Thanks

  • Stuart

    I was dropped a cert today, because I was turned down for a job I bid on yesterday, that turned out to have already been awarded to another. There was no mention of this when I was bidding and see this as totally unfair.
    have had earnings through PPH this year, so can not see why I should
    have been dropped down a level because of something that was not my

  • Bernie

    I stopped bidding for jobs on PPH quite some time ago as the jobs/rates being offered were so ridiculously low it didn’t even justify wasting time bidding for work. I reactivated by PPH account out as I was curious to find out if the situation for Freelancers has been improved. It disappointing to discover that absolutely nothing has changed in the favour of Freelancers. The problem has merely been white-washed. The number of facebook likes for PPH speaks volumes!

  • Mohsin

    Hahahaha… wow so many negative reviews and PPH ignoring them all ????

    Whats wrong!!! Come on, be for us!

  • Author Ingrid

    Ah, I am new to People Per Hour, and this Cert system just looks SO complicated and fraught with potential obstacles. I agree with a lot of the previous comments. I think that I will be checking out the likes of o desk etc, before I start spending too much time attempting to get work via this site!

  • Dragan

    Hello PPH
    Why my Cert level go back when buyer did not accept my proposal?
    Tnx – Dragan

  • unukpo paul ejiro

    I am back to People Per Hour, and this Cert system just looks confusing .I agree with a lot of the past comments. I think that I will be checking out the likes of elance , before I start spending too much time attempting to get work via this site.

  • Forskolin Testosterone

    Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your site quite a bit up fast!
    What host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate link in your host?
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  • Olam

    Hey, I’m on Cert 4 at the moment. I’m trying to reach Cert 5. But I’m not sure where I’m lacking. Can anyone help me to reach to Cert 5.

  • Karen Anne Hill

    I am new to this site (but top rated on Upwork) and am very confused why I have gone down from CERT 4 to CERT 3 literally overnight, with 5 star feedback! It does play with my personal confidence levels!

    I have also noticed a lot of buyers seem a bit ambiguous with their rates of pay when it comes to articles. Perhaps more attention could be paid to them being more specific in the first place, this would cut out a lot of time and wasted proposal credits.

  • Muhammad Shazzad Khan.

    I hope that CERT will be helpful for the experienced Freelancer.

  • AJK Digital

    Thats seems fair process and good system to ensure the qulity of service for buyers and sellers.

  • Job Mwendwa

    Just like football you have to stay on top of your game for the 90 minutes, as you never know hat will happen in the 90th minute. You have to agree that some sellers become proud because of their top rankings and then end up mistreating the client because they have a lot of jobs coming in. They forget that there are other top talents down below who would kill just to get that one client that they are chasing away, and also would never allow anything to amount to a refund because that’s the only ticket they have to top rankings.

    No matter how I look at this system, I can’t fail to see the fact that it’s bringing a level playing field for every one in PPH. When you read almost all the comments above, only the top sellers are complaining because they had been used to stealing the lame light from other freelancers with their shinning rankings which they achieved years ago then gave a rest because they got free traffic from PPH previously biased algorithm. Just because someone joined PPH 1day ago, doesn’t mean that you are better than them, remember this is freelancing, no time for sleeping.

    If your hands are full with projects, then give a pause and let others who have the time do the jobs whilst you free your plate. But don’t just continue adding more projects and giving low quality services and refunds because now the new algorithm recognizes the real meaning of QUALITY SERVICE for each and every job done.

    For example, I have over four years experience in design and web development outside PPH doing projects for big corporate companies but because am new to PPH, I can’t get clients with all my big profile I provide just because I have low ranking. Though I managed to cash in over 140 GBP in less than a 10days of joining and now my CERT puts me in level 3, I still find it hard getting jobs because the big players are saturating everywhere with bogus proposals and poor quality works, and meaningless features which ends up being a disappointment for buyers.

    I think this algorithm gives every one a fair chance to prove themselves knowing that every action counts. If you sleep too much, just know that you will find your position taken away by those who stayed awake. If PPH for you is just a bonus for your income, then concentrate on where you earn most and let others do what they were meant to do.

  • Boby Paro

    Waiting for PPH app Android/iOS…

  • Ibrahim Khalil

    OK. Thanks for this article.

  • zeke moore

    sounds good , this will help a LOT of people like myself

  • Ronda Lee

    As a new member of PPH, and having a background in Psychology, and Business Administration, I feel comfortable speaking on this matter. Please keep in mind, it is important to research all possible information, prior to anything. Although some may not like the CERT idea or how it is laid out for achievement, it is important to remember, the world is constantly changing. If we do not be innovative and change with it, we will not be successful, nor will we reach sustainability.

    As far as sharing or linking your clients outside of PPH, it is actually a great concept for a successful and economical change. When outside clients or new friends are brought into the PPH community, the community grows, giving more options and opportunities, to all involved. Keep in mind, your outside business is also the reputation of PPH. One should want to expand the opportunities and help the community grow, as it will only help you grow. Also, if PPH were to increase their marketing dollars spent, the community would have to pay for it. Therefore, the most economical way for everyone to grow, without increasing cost, is for the community to share their links, and invite others to join.

    As far as scores being affected based on response times, it is important to either respond or deny as soon as possible. This will enable others to respond, or deny, or even complete the task in a more efficient and timely manner. In return, more opportunities and options can be considered, which may fit your criteria better than the one you could not decide on or complete, in a timely manner. As you know, delay’s can cost all involved money, therefore, if unsure, just deny it, rather than delay it.

    Hopefully this helps explain the need for the CERT program. As with rolling out any new program, there are going to be revisions that need made however, the overall concept is great, and gives us a chance to grow as a community. We should all appreciate these changes and try turning all negatives into positives, and grow within, not without.

  • Gulraiz Gull

    i want to know that i am on 3CERT know what i have to do next to get on 4CERT

  • Kazi Saifur Reza

    Awesome system…Hope for the best.

  • Monirh Hossain

    This is great….

    Now I am on CERT 4. Hoping for Top Ten.


  • virender

    Best feature by PPH

  • Mimi

    Thanks for People Per Hour

  • SEO Rank My Business

    Great Post. Thanks.

  • Williams Mugwagwa

    I am new on this site. Like any other system, there may be good and bad points about the CERT system. We will see how it goes.

  • Dimitar Stanislavov

    I find CERT for superfluous and obstructive. Customers make their conclusions, thinking that it is a level of competence for a particular freelancer. I’m sorry, but I will never invite any of my other clients to come here because of the constantly raising fees.

  • Kelly

    I am sorry to hear that, Dimitar! Do please email us at so we can discuss your concerns.

  • Gem A

    I agree with what others are saying about losing CERTs through refunds.

    There are lots of reasons for giving someone a refund and to lose points because of it simply isn’t fair.

    I was forced to refund a customer and lots points. I raised a dispute because the buyer was clearly trying it on, they eventually lost the case and had to pay – but I still didn’t get my points back.

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