I think that while you are trying to make compelling arguments for your policy change for a minimum wage, these arguments demonstrate your intent to feel justified for making the change and are only based on your perception. You probably should have considered a survey.
I see this as a move to change the already artificial minimum wage of $3/hr to something higher. To be clear, currently if you solicit for work the majority of those applying for a lower skill VA contract many freelancers already come in at around the $3/hr mark, this is confirmed by your own remarks in your announcement. However, there are those that compete below this artificial hourly amount in order to get noticed for having less than ideal qualities (Odesk hours, rating, etc.) or for the need of just doing work. I don’t agree with your 3% statistic by any means as my experience, while limited, is that it is higher than that and up until your policy change was increasing, no doubt this was seen by your folks as well. I make my point to draw attention to this future minimum wage, which will higher than $3/hr as those wanting to appear most competitive will be at the the bottom and the bulk of those qualified or not wanting to appear low end will but higher, probably around the $5/hr mark. So of course you recognize that pulling up the bottom shifts the entire competitive economy up and this is your actual goal, making Odesk more competitive in the eyes of freelancers, believing of course that clients will pay the new minimum as there is now no choice otherwise within ODesk.
This increase has no nothing to do with job quality, a feature of your system for which you have little control. Simply raising the minimum wage doesn’t change the experience, skill or intent of those competing at the $3/hr mark. If anything, you’ll have made it more difficult for clients to determine those that are more capable at the bottom, for simple low skilled VA work. As others have mentioned, you need to work harder at filtering out poor performers. That said, in my own experience, I see this as the biggest gap in Odesk’s service is to its clients. It is self serving not to unitize your own policies regarding eliminating those that defy, or otherwise circumvent ODesk work policies, however, I have witnessed it directly and these individuals continue to work and by working, continue to make money for ODesk. By messing with the dynamics of your market place you continue to serve yourself as a new minimum wage enacted to serve the freelances simply appears to have worked to serve yourself by raising your own minimum wage, by more than 3%.
Peter Kelton, Nov 14 06:18 PM
The logic of your argument supporting a $3.00 minimum also supports a $10.00 minimum. You could just as easily create a “Gold” service range of $3.00 to $9.99 and a “Platinum” range of $10.00 and above. I have never accepted less than $27.78 per hour but I have spent an inordinate amount of time declining fixed price shotgun offers of $50.00 (averaging six  per day). If you relegated such offers to the suggested “Gold” tier you would save us “Platinum” providers from lower level interference without losing your $3.00 prospects. In fact, rather than waste your time defending a $3.00 management decision, you might consider passing my comments along to higher ups. There are some simple marketing algorithms that would support a tiered structure to include clients and providers in both Bangladesh and Brooklyn. Such structures predicatively expand business. There is no stigma attached to either providing or shopping in Macy’s bargain basement. – Peter Kelton 11/14/2014
Implementing $3/hr is even too low, it has to be $5 at least. Why? Coz even skilled workers are being deceived by these employers trying to screw contractors starting at the on set of the interview. Most of them ask to many questions which more often than not are giveaway answers and when these crooks get the hint, they hire contractors with the lowest rates simply because they already run away with the experts with their ideas and already knows what to do. These acts are downgrading the whole nature of the interview process because as seasoned contractors vie for a contract, they divulge comprehensive information just so they can land the job but instead these unscrupulous employers runaway with information and hire lower-rated contractors to do the job for them. I think Odesk should also consider employers capability to invite a maximum number of interviewees and the amount of ads they post because most of them also post the same ad with different wording and titles like spamming. Employers once initiated the interview say to a contractor that chargers 8/hr, the employer should hire only contractors with the same rate or higher only so that they will not swerve to contractors with lower rates as an escape and sometimes they don't even hire at all which in fact after interviewing so many they end up not hiring and going somewhere else. This devalues the Odesk system which over the years has been declining tremendously. I hope Odesk with take a look into this matter seriously so crook employers cannot game the system and destroy the reputatio of Odesk and the quality of work of its contractors must be preserved. If they want low quality work, they can go somewhere else or go fivvr.
I'm glad that you've come up with such an idea. This is the way forward. I have seen clients awarding projects just because a freelancer bids very very low price. It affects me and certainly the client because more often than not, the client gets not the best of quality.
Some clients make it a habit to offer and pay the least possible amount which then forces the other freelancers to bid much lower than what the work deserves. I had once bid for a recruiting task, I was amazed when the client told me that he would pay 5 cents per person hired. It was ten times less than what a beggar gets. But the sad part is that those who are needy accept such projects. I consider this as harrassment, forcing people to work on lower rates than what the work is supposed to be done at.
That's why I love oDesk. It has changed my life, and for the good. Though it's merged now, but I still think oDesk was like way better than Elance. Local Funds Transfer is a blessing for me and in a place(India) where there are so many issues with Paypal, its the cheapest and the best thing ever!
Thank you so much Elizabeth T, just like minimum wage in a certain country there should be minimum wage on odesk too. Freelancers are already very cheap compared to the same in house but there should be a line drawn to how much you can milk a contractor per hour. Clients who need somone to do do a very small task can hire candidates on fixed payment but they shouldnt be able to take advantage of the free market system and pay them less then $3/hour just because the can Thumbs up fo this policy.
We apologize for the confusion but as you've probably noticed, we experienced a bug in our rollout of this update and do not currently have the new minimum rate in effect. We're working on resolving this asap and hope to have it fixed in the next day or so. I'll update this thread when we have more information. Thanks for your patience and continued support.