Independent contractors and freelancers are living in a state of "continuous worry" about the effect a negative review could have on their business, according to university researchers in Bristol and Oxford who found review platforms are leaving so-called gig economy workers at the mercy of malicious customers (here).
Their study found popular review sites often operated without checks and balances to verify the ratings, and they also lacked effective processes for the contractor to seek redress. Lead author Dr Alex Wood, a sociologist from the Bristol Business School, said:
"It was shocking how workers expressed continuous worry about the potential consequences of receiving a single bad rating from an unfair or malevolent client, and how this could leave them unable to continue making a living."
Study co-author Professor Vili Lehdonvirta, from the University of Oxford, added:
"This study is important as tech companies continue to rewire the social fabric of our lives and platform rating and reputation systems are becoming increasingly ubiquitous beyond the gig economy. Countering these processes of reputational insecurity will not only be an important policy endeavour for improving gig work but also the wider platform economy."