Being a freelancer is not easy, part of it is because some companies force you (yes, you can also use the other term require) to use a Time Doctor Program on your computer.
And most of the time this program is invasive instead of helpful, find out more about it below:
I was contacted recently by an agency looking for an SEO Specialist to work for one of their websites, the pay is okay and the work is exciting but there is only one catch.
You need to install a time doctor.
A time doctor may work differently depending on the kind of program that the client has, but in hindsight, what it really does is, it logs all the websites you’ve gone to, and all the time you spent on a website, along with screenshots of your desktop every 5-10 minutes depending on the settings of the program.
It also monitors the movements of your mouse, such that if you lag for a time, it will send out an alarm where the only way to stop it is to click on it and type down what you are doing at the moment.
In all honesty, it is almost a washed down version of a key-logger.
The reason behind this technology is that it purposely makes sure that the time you spend, working on client projects are well documented.
Seems a fair thing for an Outsourcer don’t you think?
Apparently other SEO’s are ok with it, they even brag about it and state that it actually helps their business and improve the relationship between their client and their company.
The problem with this technology is that it is so invasive it makes me sick to my stomach.
I have a number of qualms about this technology and a number of reasons why SEO’s should never be dragged into using this and of how it is un-ethical and counterproductive.
- SEO is OUTPUT ORIENTED– When one is asked to make a website rank you start with goals if the goals are not met then rankings will go down. You don’t need a time doctor for you to know that. You need a responsible SEO to make sure that those goals are met in time.
- SEO is about TRUST– The fact that you give all your log-ins and the responsibility to create backlinks to the SEO means that you are trusting that SEO to handle your site. Making that SEO run a time doctor does not make it any more insulting than implying that he can’t do his job correctly without you snooping in his every move.
- SEO is a CREATIVE TASK– every once in a while an SEO needs to log-in to Facebook or go to other sites to relax and de-stress, sometimes read the news or just watch a video on YouTube, that does not mean that they are not doing their job at all. If you’ve worked on link-building and content writing you will notice that it is as monotonous a task as punching a stapler on thousands of coupon bonds an hour.
- SEO has CHANGED A LOT – Gone were the days that an SEO would only mean doing an intricate On-Page optimization, there are already services within the SEO hierarchy that is a demand in itself. (ex: GMB services, Citation Linking, Google Penalty Recovery, Link-Building, etc.) Having clients in different fields of SEO alone is proof enough that using a Time Doctor isn’t a viable solution if you want to scale your business.
- IT IS AN INVASION OF PRIVACY– Whether a time doctor’s goal is just, and that is for a client to be able to check on his employee every now and then, it is still a very unethical way of doing it. I am very sure that clients, they wouldn’t want the employee have an access to his desktop and have it installed with a time doctor just to make sure that he will pay him on time.
Also think about this, would you require a professor who has dedicated his entire life to developing his skills, have a camera pointed at him in every class and be graded according to how many times he requested for a cigarette break in a 3 hour class
One of the replies I gave a potential client is:
Hello (Client Name),
Thank you very much for this, but I am not a fan of time trackers. In my 10 years of doing SEO I don’t really need anyone looking into my private and personal computer just to know that I am able to create an output.
I imagine that top SEO’s such as Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel and Brian Dean would also not agree on having it in their computers.
Suffice to say I turned down the offer.
It’s just like saying
“Hey, I would like you to work on my website and make me rich, but first I need to see everything on your computer anytime I want and use it against you when I need it”
Another Email I created is as follows:
Hello (Client Name),
Thank you very much for a very engaging conversation yesterday!
However after much consternation and consultation with my wife, I have decided that having a screenshot program on my computer no matter how good its intention is, might be detrimental to my career as a freelancer.
I understand that you already mentioned that you are not strict in checking the screenshots, nonetheless I really find the program intrusive and counter-productive.
In my years of doing SEO I have prided myself in being able to work in my own time and pace without the added stress of knowing that someone or something might be snooping around my computer anytime they want, regardless of the reason.
I find that the reason given where employers want to monitor their employees as it would improve their output is not self evident. Such programs has no correlation nor causation to an employees productivity or output.
To add, there might also come a time where my skills are needed by other people and as such I will be limiting my income potential by being beholden to such screenshot programs.
I hope you understand that I consider my clients as partners and not as big brothers who needs to check my every move, to be paid for the high quality of service, output and time I render for the campaign and not for the relinquishment of my privacy and freedom.
If you still feel that I can contribute in anyway in your company, please feel free to contact me.
Again thank you very much for your time and patience.
To Your Success,
So tell me again how can a time doctor be justified?