Like eBay, feedback onis an extremely important part of ensuring your success. Having great feedback lets potential buyers know that your previous buyers were happy with your performance – in other words: you did an excellent job for someone else, you'll probably do an excellent job for me.
However, you can't always please everyone. When this happens, oDesk makes it possible for you to hide your feedback comments (not the score itself).
But the question remains: should you hide comments?
The psychology of feedback
Whenever I see a profile that has hidden feedback comments, the first thing that comes to mind is, "what are you hiding?"
More often than not, when unfair feedback is left by either party, people can tell when someone is simply being spiteful…but it relies on people using their better judgment. They can't do that if your feedback is private.
Without being able to read the feedback, good or bad, people tend to assume the worst. This can be much more damaging than leaving unfavorable feedback comments up for all to see.
While you may think that it tarnishes your good reputation, hiding feedback comments can subconsciously cause significantly more damage – especially for new providers with a shorter work history on oDesk.
Honesty in feedback
I'm sure many will disagree with me, but I don't think feedback comments should be hidden.
Because of oDesk's double-blind feedback policy, you'll never know when someone will be unfair, or even vindictive, in their feedback. Which is why you need to be honest in yours.
If, for whatever reason, you couldn't complete the task, leave it in your feedback. I'd much rather read, "I completed the first half of the project, but the second half was beyond the scope of my original bid so I did not complete it" or "XYZ was a great buyer, unfortunately, a family emergency came up and I couldn't complete the assignment" instead of "user has made this comment private".
Not only will this give an accurate description of what went wrong (if anything did go wrong), it will set potential buyers' minds at ease not having to guess at what went wrong in your previous assignment(s) to warrant a low feedback score.