We’ve seen a lot of reaction on the Community regarding our recent announcement. If you haven’t yet seen our official blog post with this information, we encourage you to visit that post here.
Following the blog post we’ve been responding to your feedback on our Community discussion thread here. We’re going to keep that thread active, but since the thread has exceeded 45 pages, we realize it may be hard to extract our responses to many of your questions and comments. So, we’re consolidating many of the frequently asked questions and comments in this new discussion thread below.
*edited on Feb. 23rd* - Please note our CEO, Fabio Rosati, has also replied directly to some of the more consistent feedback we've heard from the Community. You can find his reply in this thread here.
*edited on March 10* - Please note, in response to some of the input we've heard from the community, we have updated our policies for returning Connects to freelancers. For FAQ #3 below, we are updating our policy so that if a job is cancelled without hiring (by the client or oDesk), the Connects used on that application will be returned for you to reuse. Returned Connects are subject to the usual rollover restrictions, maximums, and billing cycle timing.
We’ll continue monitoring your feedback and answering new questions as these two solutions begin to roll out.
Frequently Asked Questions & Comments:
1. Does this mean we will have to pay for a Plus plan in order to be successful?
No, we don’t expect all freelancers will need to subscribe to a Plus plan in order to be successful. With the new system, you’ll be competing against a smaller and more relevant pool of applicants, increasing your chances of getting hired when you’re the best fit regardless of whether you’re on a Basic or Plus plan. With the Freelancer Basic plan, we carefully examined application data when choosing 60 Connects so that even free members would still have plenty of opportunities to win jobs.
After carefully reviewing the application behavior of freelancers in our workplace, we found that 90% of highly qualified new freelancers need fewer than 30 applications to land their first job. Similarly, 90% of highly rated experienced freelancers submit fewer than 30 applications per month. We thus felt that a budget of 60 Connects per month (approximately 30 applications*) would still allow most freelancers to be successful, while reducing the number of unnecessary applications that are sent overall.
2. Is this just a way for oDesk to earn more from Freelancers?
No, we are making this change as part of our overall efforts to improve the quality of the marketplace and provide freelancers with more opportunities. With the new system, you’ll be competing against a smaller and more relevant pool of applicants, increasing your chances of getting hired when you’re the best fit. By ensuring that there are fewer applications, successful freelancers will spend less of their time applying and thus more of their time earning. oDesk succeeds when you succeed in earning money and winning business and we want to do our best to continue to make that happen.
3. Why don’t you force clients to hire? Shouldn’t you return Connects for these “dead” jobs?
Some clients may not close their job post because they’ve already hired elsewhere, their project/hiring needs have changed, or because they’re coming back at some point to make a hire. We do not expect to change the way job postings are managed and won’t force them to close if they don’t hire.
**We do not plan to return Connects should a client post a job without hiring. At this point, we only plan to return Connects when oDesk removes a job for violation of policy or other reasons. Should this change, we will inform the Community.
(**Update March 10, 2015 -If a job is cancelled without hiring (by the client or oDesk), the Connects used on that application will be returned for you to reuse. Returned Connects are subject to the usual rollover restrictions, maximums, and billing cycle timing.)
We're also going to do more to improve the quality of the job posts themselves and to take down poor quality job posts. We want you to be confident when applying to jobs and we know you're looking for more information and more confidence that a client is going to hire.
4. What are you doing to improve the quality of clients/job posts?
Raising the standard of clients and jobs is a focus of ours. Late last year we began efforts to notify clients who show low hiring and/or success on their jobs. We're only going to increase these efforts.
We're also going to do more to improve the quality of the job posts themselves. We want you to be confident when applying to jobs and we know you're looking for more information and more confidence that a client is going to hire.
These are areas of focus for us. We want to improve the overall quality of the marketplace for both freelancers and clients.
5. You said last year, when oDesk merged with Elance that you wouldn’t be introducing membership plans like this. Why change now?
At the time of our merger, we had no immediate plans to add membership plans. However, after taking a hard look at the marketplace and its growth over the past year, we’ve decided that implementing Connects and Memberships is an important step toward improving workplace quality and providing more value to our most active and invested community members. Based on feedback from our community asking for better access to opportunities, we believe this is the right thing to do.
6. Why don’t you just reduce the application quota across the board. Doesn’t the ability to buy more Connects (as part of a Plus plan) contradict the objective of less applications?
We are still reducing the number of applications across the board, but we want to provide an option for those who require more. Note that we aren’t giving away a ton more Connects on the paid plan, either. We want people to take job applications seriously, whether they’re a paid or free member. Thus, we’re giving people the option to buy more only if they need it, but not offering a drastically higher base allotment on the paid plan.
7. Why don’t you just do more to drive out the low-quality freelancers instead of restricting our opportunities to apply?
We will continue to take efforts to warn, suspend, and ultimately remove poor-performing freelancers from the oDesk marketplace. You've seen the results of some of these efforts recently here in the Community. We anticipate a variety of programs and initiatives working together to continue elevating quality across all areas.
8. This change is really only benefitting oDesk and not freelancers.
These changes are expected to benefit clients and the freelancers who find it difficult to stand out on available jobs that they're a good fit for. We are making these changes with these interests in mind. The best situation for the marketplace is when clients find it easier to find, hire and pay high-quality freelancers.
9. This is an unpopular change. Will you reconsider?
We are monitoring and will continue to review the feedback and comments from our Community. Your input is important and can help to guide how we make these and other programs better. That said, at their core functionality, Freelancer membership plans and Connects are changes we're preparing to move ahead with.
We’ve also carefully studied the impact this change will have on the marketplace and we are confident this is the right thing to do for the betterment of the marketplace. We want clients to more easily find you and hire you.
10. I left Elance because of the Connects system there. Now should I leave oDesk?
The Elance marketplace operates quite differently as Connects/Memberships have been part of the experience for quite some time. In general, this type of system has worked well there. However, we are making this change on oDesk because it is the right thing to do for our freelancers and our clients.
Also, please note that oDesk Connects and Memberships will be different from Elance in several ways, including:
11. I don’t see how this will help me as a freelancer be more successful.
We expect good freelancers will be hired even more frequently. With fewer applications in the marketplace, successful freelancers will be able to spend less of their time applying for opportunities and more time winning jobs and earning money. oDesk succeeds when you succeed in earning money and winning business and we want to do our best to continue to make that happen.
12. Will the free membership plan still allow me to apply for jobs in more than one category (eg Writing and Translation, Software Development, Business Services)?
You will still be able to apply for jobs in any category and list up to 10 subcategories and 10 skills on your profile, regardless of whether you are a paid or free member. We do however encourage freelancers to apply for jobs within their skillset to be successful on the platform.
13. You’re limiting our number of applications, are you going to stop automatically hiding applications?
We will continue automatically hiding proposals that aren’t a good fit for a job. That said, we’re also going to keep working on ways to better inform you when a job post is a good fit or not. We encourage you to keep evaluating jobs carefully so you can decide whether they are a good fit for your skills and experience.
14. I don’t apply a lot today. How is this going to benefit me?
As someone who doesn't apply to many jobs this is unlikely to affect your job application behavior. However, it is likely to have positive implications for your earnings. As more clients find it easier to hire, their positive experiences will lead to more hiring on the marketplace as they become more frequent returning customers. Your history and good performance on the site will make you an even more attractive consideration for those future jobs.
The biggest thing you need to work on is this auto-hide feature. If an application is going to be hidden, then the freelancer should be informed of this and the reasons why the application will be hidden.
I can live with the connects if I know that a client will actually see the job I'm applying for. Right now, I don't know that.
How can a person possibly improve if the freelancer never knows that their proposal is being hidden? I know people have been asking for this (and for getting rid of it), but I have yet to see any progress made on this.
Keep the auto-hidden feature but at least let me know if I'm being hidden.
Thanks David, makes sense. We definitely want to improve this functionality and provide more info where possible for freelancers as they consider appying to jobs.
Quote: I can live with the connects if I know that a client will actually see the job I'm applying for. Right now, I don't know that.
You make a good point, especially since candidates that are a good fit continue to get hidden. I usually check hidden candidates and see this is something that continues to happen.
I don’t like this connect thing, but like David mention, if it has to happen, at least let freelancers know when they get hidden.
I wonder what will happen with the connects when a freelancer is hidden? Will that be a wasted connect?
I am not sure how all these answers are going to help agenices anyways. Its for sure you have plan to earn .
20$ to 80 Connects divided among Agencies Freelancers if you are not able to land jobs for team than you have to buy addtional connects which will profit odesk by 1$ per connect . this is really not gonna help agenices and making Odesk earn addtional from agenices . I usually pay odesk 1000$ /month As Service Fee or so.
your are limiting agenices to provide work to team and limiting agenices to win projects for large teams .
so its for sure large agencies will buy all 400 connects and profit odesk addtionally with 320$+20$ = 400 connects .
Response time from client is around 10% which is 40 Replies if 1 connect consumed as 1 appliaction and winning jobs out of them again 10% to 20% . you can see where the agencies boat is going with large team . They gonna sink or will stay limited to few members .
VERY VERY BAD MOVE BY ODESK
Thanks for your input. We’re implementing the Connects system so your agency no longer has to send as many applications to land a job. With a lower quota, everyone will be more selective about applying to fewer, better-fit jobs. This means you’ll have less competition when you apply, increasing your chances of standing out when you’re a great fit. Ultimately, we think you’ll have more success with fewer applications.
Thanks for starting a new post. I'll just repost my last comment in this one as well.
I know I keep posting but this announcement and the way it is written is very insulting.
I can't imagine ANY FREELANCER wanted a paid service. Are you kidding me. Read the 42 pages of comments. Not a person is happy about this.
Can we see some kind of research or proof that some one...ANYONE that said "you know, I like oDesk but you know what would make it better...if we had to pay". Your blog posts sure indicate that this is what freelancers wanted.
Also, how many more connects come with a paid memebership? It's not unlimited, at least it never said that in the blog post. Most jobs will cost an average of 2 connects according to your blog post, which means it'll be 3 or 4. My prediction.And most jobs on here never hire. Do I then get a refund on my connects?
How is oDesk different from Elance besides calling them connects instead of the termology Elance uses? Seriously, how are the two sites different?
I remember when the merger happen and oDesk made the claim that the site would not become paid. By making this site now paid oDesk has ruined it's integrity. The second a new site pops up with free memebership or structure similar to oDesk I gaurantee a huge decline in memebership.
I don't think it'll take long either. I'll surely move. And then instead of telling people about oDesk, which I've done in the past, I'll tell them about the new site.
To me $10 isn't much, intergrity and honesty is. By initally claiming oDesk wouldn't be paid and now making it paid oDesk has lost that.