Upwork, one of the world’s largest freelancing websites, was mistakenly blocked for some 14 hours by the telecom regulator before it was alerted and made it accessible in Bangladesh yesterday morning.
Sources informed that Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission had blocked a porn site—rk.com—but in the process inadvertently shut access to all sites spelled with “rk” such as upwork.com, wework.com, artwork.com and network.com.
Industry insiders said Upwork was blocked from around 9:30pm on Wednesday till 11:30am yesterday.
The period is a prime time for locals to avail work orders and deliver services due to the country’s time difference with other zones, said freelancers.
The site’s officials said thousands were affected locally and globally.
The online platform currently has 60,000 accounts of Bangladeshi freelancers, around 3,000 of whom regularly avail work from it, said Saidur Mamun Khan, who heads the marketing and data operations of Upwork.
“From Upwork we have informed our customers and the freelancers of the problem but we are not sure how it occurred,” said the industry veteran who earlier served as Upwork’s country head.
None from the regulator was available for comment.
“Definitely there are some financial loses related with it but I think the foremost effect was the image crises before the freelancing world,” said Al Amin Kabir, founder of Marketever which works with Upwork.
“The whole world already knows that Bangladesh has problems with internet connection and there are also quality issues,” he said.