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Is it ethical to work as a shadow developer by hiding identity? (Please read and help me)

Hi all, Please have a read on the discussion and help me with your thoughts.

Today, I have to decline projects from one of my regular clients. We surely had a great number of projects to collaborate with. The declining issue was about the working procedure of him which I came to know yesterday.

I just came to know that, he contacts potential clients or companies with his resume and apply for remote jobs. And, after that, he takes part in the interview, then delivers the test or project’s work by hiring other freelancer developers like me. ( He is also a Frontend developer. So, he passes the interview by answering questions rightly.) He once proposed me to hit APIs from his PC by the remote connection for a future client. I didn’t have to do that till now. But, it seemed a little bit of unsettling to me.

BTW, Today, I asked him if he clarifies the client that he has a team of developers or he works alone? If no, I also requested him not to add me on those projects. And, as I guessed, he is not working with me anymore on these kinds of projects.

I am feeling that I was right. Because a company hires a developer based on his skills, not his team. And, hiding the identity seemed unethical to me. And, I felt, I am just disrespecting my hard work.

But, I am also thinking- Have I done injustice to him?

Because, in Fiverr, I get offers from other developers from now and then (when I am writing this, I have got another one where he wants help for one of his client’s projects). So, how would I do work where many of the orders are like these? Should I ask all of them if they inform the clients or just hiding it?

I know there are subcontractors on these platforms. That is one thing, and hiding identity is another thing. That’s why I had to take a bold decision. But, I am afraid that- Will I get enough clients if I become this kind of strict?

I am seeking proper and constructive suggestions from you.

It is your outlook. But many freelancer take help in big projects.

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Yes, I know that. But Isn’t it unethical to present you as a single developer to a client but work as a team under the hood? Shouldn’t they inform the client about it?

This is your own decision to make. If you feel anything is wrong you are free to decline it. I do feel it’s wrong because if I were the buyer I would want to know who is doing the job.

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There is a debate on this going on in every topic about resellers, “agencies” and so on. I personally find it unethical, however, many people will tell you that as long as you’re getting paid it shouldn’t be your concern. It’s up to you to decide.

Your buyer is (technically) not doing anything wrong. Or rather, not doing anything unacceptable or overly unusual for the freelance world.

I personally think that it should be disclosed whether the buyer is an end customer or not. It’s up to me to decide whether it’s my concern or not.

I had someone I created 9 posters for and declined to work with them any further due to communication issues. They flipped out on me because it turned out they were selling my work at their own and made a commitment on my behalf to deliver 20 posters in total. That was fun. :slight_smile: