Sykes Search Quality Evaluator – New Vendor For Google Search Engine Evaluation Project (US only)

Sykes Search Quality Evaluator

There’s a new job position that is available through Sykes for a Search Quality Evaluator working from home part-time.

It isn’t known exactly what vendor this job could be for since Sykes is an outsourcing provider, but it could be Sykes, Appen or even Lionbridge. Another thing to note is that this job was posted on December 21, 2019 and is still listed. So, if you are looking for a job as a Search Quality Evaluator (known as Google Search Engine Evaluation project: Yukon, Internet Assessor, Rater) this could be your big work at home opportunity.

Judging from the job description about searching for online topics, and how frustrating it can be to get bad results, this is most certainly the same type of job as Search Engine Evaluator and you would be responsible for performing simple web searches on specific topics and then rating the results that are returned within the time frame they give you. A Windows PC is required for this work at home job, and no MACS are being accepted in this project. You must also have an activated smartphone with Wi-Fi capability. Applicants need to have strong computer skills or they will not be considered.  

The time you want to work on this project is flexible and you can work on your own time as you wish. There is a schedule provided after training, although it is uncertain what this training might be since there is no previous training for these types of jobs. Only the guide is supplied to you and you must learn on your own. After this training period you must work a minimum of 20 hours per week. 

One thing to keep in mind for this project is that you would be reviewing offensive and mature content. If this type of stuff offends you, then you may want to skip this one. 

Also, if you live in these states, Sykes is unable to hire you: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

You may apply for Search Quality Evaluator role here:https://jobs.sykes.com/en-US/search?keywords=Search%20Quality%20Evaluator&location=

There is no mention of what the pay is at this time. If you happen to be working on this program, we’d like to hear from you about the training procedure and what the rate of pay might be. As always, if you have questions about this project, send me an email or leave a comment and I will reply as quickly as possible. 

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Appen and Lionbridge projects – Hourly Rates Across Different Markets

Hourly rates across different countries: Lionbridge, Appen
Country

Vendor/Project
USAEUTurkeyBrazilJapanRussia
Appen
Echo, Index, Sharp, Cable 12$-13,5$ 14$ 7$
Arrow (Google) 10$ 14$ was 8$/now 5$ was 8$/now 5$ 15$-17$ was 8$/now 5$
Truckee (Insta) was 13,5$/now 10$ 14$ was 9,45$/now 7$ was 9,45$/now 7$ was 8$/now 5$
Nile (Facebook) was 13,5$/now 10$ 14$ was 9,45$/now 7$ was 9,45$/now 7$ 15$
Shasta per task per task per task per task per task per task
Yukon (Google) was 12,5$ (net)/now 10$ (net) 14$ was 10,5$/now 5$ was 10,5$/now 7$ 14$ was 8$/now 5$
Lionbridge
Internet Assessor, Rater, Internet Safety Evaluator (Google) 14,5$ (gross)
14$ 10$ 12$ 7,3$
Ads Assessor (Google) 13,5$ 14$ 10$ 12$ 7,3$
Maps Analyst (Apple) per task per task
Why Appen decreased hourly rates almost in all markets after acquiring Leapforce?

Feel free to share your information regarding payment rates in your specific country, based on your input I will update information on this post.

Internet Safety Evaluator Project For Lionbridge Review

Internet Safety Evaluator project review

This project is about a year old and was created and started when Google decided to exclude some YouTube video evaluation tasks from its main search engine evaluation projects: You are probably familiar with these projects: Yukon (Appen/Raterlabs) and Internet Assessor/Rater at Lionbridge. The Internet Safety Evaluator project picks up where search engine evaluation leaves off and the job has you looking at video search results to improve the search result quality for content. As an Internet Safety Evaluator, you are also required to provide feedback and analysis on video content found in the search results and provide ratings on their relevance with the search terms that were used. 

So where does the Internet Safety Evaluator part come in? Well, that’s the most important part and aspect of this role. While reviewing content, you will flag potential upsetting or offensive material to make the internet safer and more secure for all users. You will be able to express your opinions in comments about the video concerning the content and the quality of content, and at the same time, you will be protecting users from viewing unsuitable material. 

So what do you need to have to qualify for the position of Internet Safety Evaluator? Appen and Lionbridge are looking for dynamic and creative people who have a strong interest in improving online search results. One of the main things that you should feel comfortable about is working on sensitive or adult content. Candidates must use a smartphone for this position, and either an Android or iPhone device is suitable. The Internet Safety Evaluator should also have some familiarity with social media and Google products. Be prepared to be flexible concerning working hours and you should have the ability to understand and follow the established guidelines. 

The Internet Safety Evaluator position only allows you to have 20-hours max work time per week. 

The qualification process is identical to the Appen/Yukon Project or the Internet Assessor for Lionbridge. Read more about how to pass that exam here:

Also, don’t forget to check out the really cool tool that we’ve created for helping to pass these tough exams. See Our Exam Simulation Tool Here: https://examsimulation.passleapforceexam.com

Rating Process And Quality Metrics

As an Internet Safety Rater working on the project, you will have access to a variety of different task types. This is important because it helps you become more familiar with the core concepts of rating and it will help you build experience and knowledge concerning the program. During the beginning, the number of tasks you will receive will be low until you gain enough experience in the program. Once you feel that you have a good understanding of the program and become familiar with all the task types, you will start to see a switch in the task types that you receive. But keep in mind, this will only happen if the managers feel you have a strong grasp on the concept of what you are doing. From that point forward, you will only be required to focus on evaluating more video type tasks from an Internet Safety Rater perspective. You will also see a higher number of tasks given to you. 

As an Internet Safety Rater, you cannot work more than 1 hour per day and this limitation can last several months. The purpose of this limitation is to evaluate the overall quality of ratings that you are providing. During this time you will be given standard Yukon/Internet Assessor tasks (Needs Met and Side by Side and other types of tasks), additionally, you will be evaluated on your quality by means of standard Needs Met and Side by Side quality review tasks. 

If you want to know more about this process, read here:

The quality requirements are high and you need to achieve and keep a quality level higher than 65% or above. This is the very minimum and work is monitored on a regular basis. Feedback will be shared with you so that you can learn from your mistakes. If an Internet Safety Evaluator constantly performs below that minimum quality level or performs significantly lower than the minimum level, that person will be removed from the program. This is why it is very important to use the months long limitations and make sure to learn as much as possible. 

The things closely monitored to evaluation an Internet Safety Evaluator performance is the Needs Met, Page Quality (E.A.T.) and SXS rating. However, other things such as rating accuracy and the quality of the comments that you leave are another thing that is closely looked at. 

Once the Internet Safety Evaluator has shown a stable level of quality, the probation period ends and you will get a notification that the Internet Safety Evaluation transition period ended and all restrictions are then lifted and you see a higher volume of tasks. This is when you will start receiving ONLY video evaluation tasks and you’ll get a higher volume of them. There will be no more review tasks after the completion of the transition period. 

Internet Safety Evaluator probation and transition period

The Internet Safety Evaluator probation and transition period length all depends on the quality performance of the candidate who should demonstrate positive quality review scores. This period usually takes about 3-4 months but could possibly last up to 8 months depending on the performance of the individual. 

In terms of the complexity of this project and how easy it is to participate, the Internet Safety Evaluator project seems to be easier in particular after the transition period has ended. Working on video tasks is a lot easier than doing the Needs Met and Side By Side tasks. However, the big drawback to the project is online being able to work 1-2 hours per day during the transition period. 

You can work on other projects at the same time to make up for these small hours. You can provide similar rating services to other providers. However, due to project restrictions and customer requirements, you cannot work on Appen Yukon and the Lionbridge Internet Assessor at the same time due to an IP address conflict. 

If you want more information on other unrelated projects, you can find that information here:

If you have any questions about the Internet Safety Evaluator position or any other questions, let me know in the comments or simply send me an email and I will reply. If you are working as an Internet Safety Evaluator we’d like to hear about your experience. 

Preferred Raters Program For Lionbridge/Raterlabs

Preferred Raters Program

If you’ve landed here, you might have heard about the Preferred Raters Program…and It looks like there is finally some great benefits coming out for Lionbridge/Raterlabs for raters who achieve high scores and have consistently high-quality ratings and comments for all task types. This is for raters who work on the Yukon/Raterlabs project. Through this program, agents are identified and rewarded based on high-quality review scores and high-quality work they do on the Yukon project. 

It sounds really great, but it is highly selective and prestigious, and only available to a limited amount of raters. The requirements to get into this program are very high, as well as inclusion and retention…meaning it will be tough to get in and also stay there. Participants are held to strict standards of quality and professionalism and the quality team reviews candidates quarterly to determine if they qualify for the program for admission or if you’re already in the program if you stay or someone comes along and takes your place. 


So, what about the rewards and are they really worth it? 

If you do get into the Preferred Raters Program, you’ll get a boost in pay rate. You’ll go from $10 to $15.00 dollars for Raterlabs and from $14 to $18 at Lionbridge. Not a bad little pay raise at all even if it is temporary. 

As another added benefit, your username will be in green in chatrooms showing that you’re a highly skilled and very experienced rater. 

How Do I Qualify? 

As we mentioned earlier, raters are regularly reviewed to see who meets the requirements of the Preferred Agent Program. 

Note: Sending them emails might be the quickest way to NOT get into the program. It is not recommended to email them about your status in the program. 

Only if you have met the program’s requirements will you hear from the project’s Quality Team. If you don’t hear from them, then it may mean that you need to step up your quality or performance, or there just may be too many candidates and not enough room to fill them all. We do believe it might be the opposite since requirements are so high for the program. 

The most important thing to focus on is quality review scores for all task types. Having high scores in this area will get you looked at for eligibility for the Preferred Raters Program. But it’s not all as there are several other additional criteria used to determine an agent’s final acceptance into the program and we’ll go over all the things they use to select someone. 

Primary Selection Criteria

The very first thing to point out is only agents who have worked on the Yukon project for at least one year are eligible. 

And agent needs to complete enough of the following tasks to receive the minimum Quality Review feedback:

Needs Met: 6 sets of feedback

Side by Side: 3 sets of feedback

Page Quality: 2 sets of feedback

The quality reviews all have to be extremely positive for all the task types, not just one, and high adherence and demonstrated comprehension of the principles detailed in all the guidelines and project instructions. 

Comments are also a part of this and Preferred Raters will show excellent commenting skills for all tasks. 

An agent will have a consistent history of good interactions with the community that should always be positive. This includes all areas of communication with admins in chat, social posts, and emails. 

While we’re on the subject, we shouldn’t have to tell you that candidates that have a history of unprofessional, nasty, or obnoxious behavior in chat or other social channels won’t be considered for this program. 

Agents in the program will always meet the minimum hours’ requirement and complete all the tasks in a responsible manner and not releasing them in an excessive or malicious way because maybe the agent doesn’t want to rate the produced results. 

Did we mention that it’s hard to get into the Preferred Raters Program? We should mention it again and also state that it’s not an easy thing to achieve or maintain. But if you give hard work, perseverance, and show a very thorough understanding of the concepts from the General Guidelines, then chances are good that you’ll make it as a candidate. 

I’ve made it as a candidate, now how do I keep my status?

We mentioned that the Preferred Raters Program is considered prestigious, highly selective, and it is limited to a small number of raters. That just means it’s going to be a lot more difficult for you to get in and stay there. But after you are in, a rater must maintain the high-quality standards across all task types and have high-quality reviews after acceptance. 

If a rater fails to maintain high standards of quality, then they are put into a probational period and given the opportunity to improve. That’s good news since if you are in this program, you’ve worked hard to get where you are. However, if an agent continues to fail meeting the program criteria, they will lose their preferred status and the rewards associated. Also, once you are in the program you can be removed at any time at the Quality Teams’ discretion even without a probational period. 

So what if you are put on probation?

If a rater fails to meet requirements they are placed on probation. This probation is actually two more reviews and if your reviews are bad, then you’re out. One other thing:  If you are placed on probation and receive a substandard or unacceptable review score in ANY review type during your probationary period, your Preferred Agent status will be immediately removed.

So what triggers probation? 

When an agent gets three bad scores within the most recent 6-month period below the Preferred Agent standard, this will trigger a probationary period. Also, if the majority of your recent scores are all bad and not meeting the high standard, you are placed on probation. The bottom line is that your scores should be primarily Exceeds Expectations or higher. Meets expectations do not cut the cake. While they are respectable, they are not high enough scores to be in the program. Multiple scores of Meets Expectations can result in the loss of your Preferred Agent status. 

Another thing that should be mentioned is that two Substandard and Unacceptable review scores within a recent year’s time period will trigger a probation period. Any additional scores of the same type will result in the immediate removal from the program. Preferred Raters cannot have such low scores. 

The most important requirement of a Preferred Agent is that they consistently provide exceptionally high-quality work and if your scores fluctuate, it might suggest to the Quality Team that you are unable to maintain the high standards of the program, and you will be placed on probation. While it is a disheartening thing to be placed on probation, this does mean that you are being given the chance to improve your quality of rating. Remember that Meets Expectations is not good enough. 

Some other things that will provoke the Quality Team are poor commenting habits, excessive releasing of tasks, and complaints about unprofessional behavior in chat or other social channels could lead to probation or it could just see you leaving the program altogether. Remember that we said they have total discretion and can release you from the program at any time for any reason. 

If you are put on probation then it’s lucky you and you’ll have to use the opportunity to correct the problems and retain your Preferred Agent status. 

As we touched on a little earlier, Quality Teams review agents on a quarterly basis and if there is room to promote new agents, they will do so. If the program is full and all those raters are keeping their high standards up, then there won’t be any new raters accepted into the program. When a rater is removed from a program not meeting high-quality standards, then another rater who is consistently doing this is taken into the Preferred Agent program. 

You might be wondering if one low score will put you on probation. The answer is no and the Quality Agents recognize that sometimes bad things happen. However, if you continue to get low scores, then you will be put on probation until you fix them and they only give you two reviews after this and you must score high on BOTH reviews, not just one. 

Just so we are sure we covered this, while you are in the program, three low scores will get you noticed by the system which will trigger a probation period. 

A rater must meet high-quality standards in all areas and all tasks, not just one area. Because the program is considered prestigious, it is limited to a certain amount of raters. That said, if you are in the program and have some problem in one area, it will show and you will likely end up on probation. 

You can earn the status back if you lose it by demonstrating that the quality of your work meets the program’s qualification standards on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that just because a rater has been in the program before, preference will not be given over them when determining new rater eligibility. There are only two times you can be put on probation meaning that the third time and you are out of the program. 

We hope that we were able to answer your questions about the Preferred Agent program. Are you in this program? Tell us your experience in the comments and if you need help you can always reach us by email. 

Bing Search Engine Rating Projects vs. Google Search Engine Evaluation Project

Bing Search Engine Rating Project (Side by Side Judge, Multimedia Judge) vs Google projects (Yukon/Internet Safety/Internet Assessor)

When getting into Search Engine Rating Projects, you will find that one company will produce ratings for one search engine, such as Google, while another company will offer jobs as a rater in Bing which is Microsoft’s Search Engine. Like Google, Microsoft also needs research and pages rated just like Google.

As far as the job is concerned, it is basically the same job except you are rating results in different search engines that turn up different results. The pay generally varies depending what company you work for with some reporting earnings in the $12 to $15 dollar per hour range.

Google projects (Yukon/Internet Safety/Internet Assessor)

Some of these Search Engine Rating Projects are changing and they are being called different things such as ‘internet analyst’ which puts a twist on the tasks you are given. Previously when working as a search engine rater, you were given results that were based on generic search results. However, as time went by, Google started asking raters for permission to use their personal data. Basically, if you were surfing for stereo’s or smartphones, and you started doing this job, you’d get back results based on your surfing habits as linked to your Gmail address that you use.

The job that Raterlabs offers is a Google Search Engine and Google Playstore project where the raters are now called ‘Internet Analyst’ where the tasks you get are based solely on your personal Google use. It’s a part-time position that currently looks to be for the USA region only, but this does change from time to time. The requirements and skills to get this job are nothing that most people don’t already have if they are good at searching or surfing the internet. With this job they want raters to possess a computer with high speed internet, and also an Android phone with version 4.1 or higher, or an iPhone version 4 or higher. The job most likely involves doing ratings on both the computer and the smartphone. Sometimes tasks are available on only one device or the other. So it’s good to have them both because you will likely get smartphone tasks. It is also noted that in the description that they want raters who use Google Play often. There is a possibility that tasks involving Google Play will be available. This job’s testing and qualification is no different from the previous exams for search engine related jobs. There are three parts to the exam leading us to believe it’s the same exact material for the regular rater. The job is basically the same after all, the only difference is now its personalized to you. It is not known what the pay is for this job as that information is confidential and you sign a non-disclosure agreement about not discussing your pay. But it’s likely in the $12 dollar per hour range if its Raterlabs.

Appen Global also offers Search Engine Rating Projects even though they also own Leapforce and likely are using them as a source of experience and also taking advantage of the workers who were already employed by Leapforce along with their experience. Appen calls their position Web Search Evaluator which likely has the same test. It is unknown if Appen supplies raters for both Google and Bing but it’s possible that they do both. All the requirements and testing are the same for Appen since they are providing raters for Googles Search Engine. But it is rumored that the pay for this position is much lower than you would get if you worked at Lionbridge or Raterlabs. This is because Appen is a much larger company with a much larger talent pool to take people from. This allows them to pay much lower wages. So in this case it’s actually better to get these types of jobs at other companies like Leapforce/Raterlabs, and Lionbridge. It’s interesting to hear that Appen is doing some interviews from Skype now.

Speaking of Lionbridge, we are getting to them next. This company seems to have a good reputation for paying people better than the other companies for the same type of Search Engine Rating Projects. They also offer opportunities for the Search Engine Rater but they likely offer rating jobs for both Google and Bing. Microsoft does use Lionbridge to hire human search evaluators, but Microsoft calls you ‘judges’ instead of raters. Lionbridge was known to pay raters $14 an hour for these positions although that wage has probably fluctuated over time.

Miscrosoft’s HRS project (Multimedia Judge, Side by Side Judge)

You’re probably wondering what the difference is in rating for Google or the Bing Search Engine Rating Projects. Bing has a project called Human Relevance System or HRS and it’s the system that they use to have human raters judge search results with. The HRS project is similar to the Quality Rater program that Google employs. However, it’s interesting to know that Microsoft’s version has been around since 2004 since MSN Search began generating its own results.

Not much has been written about Miscrosoft’s HRS project, but leaked copies of the guidelines are floating around that go over the process of rating or ‘judging’ websites. The difference between Googles rating guidelines and the HRS is that HRS uses what is called a rating matrix. This matrix combines the searcher intent with how well the returned document satisfies the searchers intent.

You can see the five rating options that judges can use from perfect to bad. This is the absolute heart of how you would rate returned search results. This might actually be a little easier to understand for some raters by judging just the intent and how well the intent is satisfied.

But there is one other aspect of the HRS system and the guidelines go over it in a pretty detailed manner. This is called Freshness and basically you will look at the content to see how up to date it is. Some information can be relevant but be a couple years old when some things have changed and the information isn’t updated or fresh enough to contain those changes. The Freshness system is based on three categories; Fresh Not Important, Very Likely Fresh, and Most Likely Fresh. The Fresh Not Important will be for things where the facts will never change no matter how fresh the article or the page is, while the other two will be based on the articles ability to receive fresh content.

When it comes to the difference between Google and Bing Search Engine Rating Projects as far as their rating systems, they aren’t really all that different from each other. But if you will be working as a search engine rater, and you are looking for stable tasks, you might want to try and get Google search rating jobs since there is more volume when it comes to this search engine over Bing. Still, both jobs are decent, but it really depends on who you are employed by. Appen seems to be one of those companies that will pay people as little money as possible to make more money themselves. This was their whole point of buying Leaforce; to squeeze out the competition. So this company will pay less. Lionbridge or Raterlabs will be the places to try and get these jobs.

When it comes down to Bing, it’s not a very big project in terms of the number of raters who are hired for this as compared to the raters that are hired for Google. That shouldn’t be a big surprise because we all know that Google has a much higher search volume and a lot more users. The judging platform for HRS is a bit outdated, not convenient to use, and it only works on Internet Explorer of course. Also, the test has a part in where you have to judge the search results for relevance of around 100 items and they give you very little time to do this. Many candidates often fail the test and are unable to pass the exam.

iSoftstone is another vendor offering Search Engine Rating Projects and is regarded as the main vendor for Microsoft Bing. They also have the 3 test qualification and that test seems to be the same no matter who you apply for. The first test goes over the guidelines, the second test is an English Grammar test, and the third exam tests your computer and internet skills. All work is done in the HRS platform and you have to complete a qualification for each task. There is a guideline for each one of the tasks, but you don’t need to worry because everything is explained in videos and emails. Tasks are categorized as hits or pages and for each hit or webpage that is shown you get 0.01 penny to 0.20 cents US. If you do tasks/hits quickly, then you can make easily $10-$15 dollars US per hour, and some people even more. You might be tempted to go through some of the tasks as quickly as possible because the more you complete, the more money you obviously make. However, sometimes during these tasks you are sometimes tested so you have to be very careful. Too many mistakes and they will remove you from the project and you won’t receive any more hits. ISoftstone is a bit easier to work for in that they don’t have a huge amount of work compared to Appen/Raterlabs.

Basically, what this whole thing boils down to is the individual. Some people might like working for Bing because the workload is lower, but you’re going to make less money because of this. If you need more stable work and higher than average work, then working on a project that involves Google will probably be a better alternative.

Do you work for any of these companies on any Search Engine Rating Projects? We would like it if you shared your experience here in the comments. And as always, if you have any questions, let me know by email or in the comments and I will answer them as soon as possible.

 

Taxation for Independent Contractors Pros and Cons

contracting-with-an-independent-contractorTaxation for Independent Contractors – If you are working as a Search Engine Rater or Social Media evaluator for any company that doesn’t hire you directly, then you are known as an independent contractor. Regardless of whether you are an independent contractor, a freelancer, or consultant, you will be considered as ‘self-employed’. What this also means is that you are responsible for doing your own taxes. There can be some advantages to this and also some drawbacks.

Independent Contractor Tax Payer status

If you’ve been working for companies like Appen  or Lionbridge, you know that you are basically your own boss. It’s very rare that you have to work with other people in these jobs or have much interaction at all. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. Keep in mind that the people you are working for are not your supervisors. You’re a contract worker which simply means that you provide your services in exchange for a set wage or price. You are largely in control of when, how, and where the work is done. And you can do the work when you want to as long as it gets done.

Another advantage of being an independent contractor is that you will make more money than if you were simply an employee. The reason for this is because companies are willing to pay more for an independent contractor because there aren’t any expensive long term commitments and the company doesn’t have to pay extra money for employment benefits.

The other great thing about being an independent contractor and working on your own is that you get to deduct more business expenses than a typical employee can claim. Think about everything you need to do your job, your computer, your desk, your chair, even the internet connection you are paying for can all be deducted as an expense at the end of the year. This basically means free office equipment.

One of the first things that you will want to do is come up with a plan to save enough money to pay your taxes at the end of the year. Working as a freelancer means that no one is doing your taxes. Your pay is given to you all in one lump sum with no taxes taken out. It is important to understand the basic tax laws. If you are not sure what to do, it is advised to talk to a tax specialist in order to help you save enough tax out of your paycheck.

cons of working as an independent contractor

One of the big things is that contractors aren’t eligible for any type of health or unemployment benefits because you are basically self-employed. So if you need health insurance, you would have to find something on your own that you could pay per month. Now you see why being an employee has its benefits when it comes to taking care of taxes and health insurance. You can still do all this stuff on your own, and it’s not impossible to get your own health insurance, but all that stuff takes time to keep track of.

It should be noted that if you are a US Yukon project rater then you’re a part time employee and your taxes are done for you. There still are other projects that are done on contract basis.

Knowing your taxes and how much you need to deduct is the most important part. As long as you keep enough money to cover taxes then you won’t have to pay anything. The biggest problem here is not withholding the right amount or not enough taxes. A single person in the USA will pay more taxes than a married person will. So it’s important to know exactly what you should be deducting from your pay.

For the USA you must take out self-employment taxes which are Social Security and Medicare contributions.

things that can help you with tax issue

There are some tax calculators online that can be used to accurately deduct the correct amount of money in taxes, including the self-employment taxes. That money should be kept in a separate bank account always so that if anything happens with the main bank account, that money is safe. So create a savings account and put that money into the account and don’t touch it until the end of the year when it’s time to do taxes. It is important to remember that it’s better to save too much than not enough.

When it comes time to do your taxes, it might be good to hire someone that can put together everything for you including your business deductions such as your office equipment or computer that you use to do your work on. There are some limits of course on what you can deduct. Find out exactly what you should have paid and make out a check and send it to the tax government in which you live. In the USA it’s the Internal Revenue Service.

As an independent contractor you won’t pay less or more taxes than if you were an employee. The only difference is that you have to do all the paperwork yourself. However, you are able to take more physical deductions than an employee would because you provide yourself with all the tools you need to do your job on your own.

In closing, it shouldn’t scare you to do your own taxes. It’s not any more difficult than doing your taxes as if you were an employee, and you might actually get the tools you need to do your job for free.

Appen Acquires Leapforce in Multimillion-Dollar Deal

About the Deal

Appen Acquires Leapforce For Millions of dollars. What happens now? In what might not come as a surprise to many, Appen, the language and search data service provider has made a move to acquire its US-based competitor ‘Leapforce’ for an estimated $105.3 million dollars. Leapforce was founded in 2008, headquartered in Pleasanton, California, and specializes in search relevance through a highly automated and proprietary end-to-end technology platform, which of course is Raterhub; the tool used by search engine raters to rate search engine results. It is a move that will make the company a leading provider in search data services. Mark Brayan, Appen company CEO said that it gives Appen the capability to serve their customers better. This deal comes after Mr. Brayan and Leapforce CEO, Daren Jackson, met a couple of years ago and remained in touch and formed a friendship. About six months ago, Mr. Jackson reached out to discuss a potential deal as both acknowledged at some point that the businesses would be better working together instead of against each other.

The Acquisition is subject to customary conditions precedent and is expected to complete on or around 7 December 2017. Appen’s existing customer base consists of, amongst others, a number of large global multi-national technology companies. The projects awarded by these companies, or the ongoing services which Appen may provide to these companies, can generate large amounts of revenue from that one client. The same is true for existing customers of Leapforce. However, and not surprisingly enough, Leapforce generates 99% of its revenue from only two customers, in the approximate proportion of 71% revenue from one customer and 28% revenue from the other customer. We’re guessing that these are both Google, and Facebook.

This brings up questions such as the acquisition of those contracts, or how Google feels about this merger of the two companies. The existing CEO and CTO of Leapforce, Daren Jackson, will join the Appen management team and will continue to manage the Leapforce business going forward. Leapforce is heavily dependent on the CEO who has the key relationship with its major customer and is key to the operations and service delivery of the Leapforce business. This of course means Google. Leapforce has only about 21 full-time staff, all of whom will be joining Appen.

What Are Potential Risks for Current Leapforce/Raterlabs Contractors?

The biggest question about this merger is finding out what exactly what will happen with Leapforce independent contractors. One of the risks that was mentioned in the acquisition merger was as follows:

“Some of the Appen Group’s search relevance and data analytics services are crowdsourced to, and often performed by, independent contractors. This is also the case for the Leapforce business. The independent contractors performing these services are retained pursuant to written agreements with a member of the Appen Group that commonly specify the individual’s status as an independent contractor, confirm the individuals are not employees of the employing company, and require the individuals to indemnify the employing company in the event the individual incorrectly represented their status to the employing company.

So if you are a Leapforce independent contractor, then you might have to sign new agreements with Appen after a certain time. And for the time being it looks like your job is secure, but its only as secure as it was before. Leapforce can at any time choose not to renew your contract for whatever reasons they see fit.

Or there could be a good chance that Leapforce independent contractors could have their contracts not renewed because Appen has a huge crowdsource pool from which to draw people from. Why do we think this? It was also mentioned in the merger agreement the following as seen as a risk factor for the merger:

“Notwithstanding the foregoing express contractual language, from time to time in the United States individuals retained by a member of the Appen Group as independent contractors may file claims for unemployment with the applicable state unemployment agencies claiming employee status with a member of the Appen Group and seeking unemployment benefits. Leapforce, being a US-based business, enhances this risk. Unemployment benefits are, from time to time, awarded by the US state unemployment agencies, which may result in nominal charges or increases to the employer’s unemployment tax accounts with the various states in which these individuals perform services and in which the member of the Appen Group does not have existing employees. The Appen Group is also subject to the usual risks posed to businesses that employ crowdsourcing, including claims relating to employee classification, claims to benefits, wage and hour claims and other employment claims.”

Of course this is true for any company when they acquire another business. But to be honest, in some markets Appen is known for paying miserable wages as compared to Leapforce and Lionbridge for the same search engine evaluation job. They have even lowered wages in some countries and pay far less than Leapforce did. There really isn’t any regard for the independent contractor in this situation.

And while its certain that all the internal employees were taken care of, as they will also go to Appen with their CEO, it is uncertain what the discussion was about the current raters. In our experience, independent contractors with both companies are simply a number or statistic. As an independent contractor for either of these companies, you are nameless, and you are expendable. This is the sad truth about being a contractor and working for these companies, along with the fact that you’re not really an employee for any company, and you have no benefits at all unless you are an employee.

And outside of this merger, it’s easy to see the behavior that this company takes against the people that help make them money. In some markets, Appen Global reduced their hourly rate for a project known as Aztec. In fact, some raters were hired with a higher starting hourly wage than others. And as mentioned before, in some countries Appen only pays HALF of what a Leapforce rater is paid.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the current independent contractors who work for Leapforce and whether they retain their contracts. One thing that is uncertain is if Appen will be calling the shots on the current Leapforce raters, or if Appen will take over and get rid of the ones that are paid more so they can take from their talent pool those who are paid far less for the same job. Regardless of the outcome, we feel that there might be a lot of raters who will end up losing their jobs in the mid or long term. After all, Appen Global doesn’t really care about the little guys who actually do the work. They seem simply set on cornering the market by acquiring their competitor, and then paying people lower wages for the same job.

If you are currently a Leapforce search engine rater or Raterlabs rater, leave us a comment and let us know what you think about the merger, what has been shared with you. We’d like to hear from you.