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Yesterday, after announcing our exciting plan to merge our company with Elance, I was overwhelmed and humbled by thousands of emails. Many expressed support and congratulations for this new chapter, and I found myself reading them into the early hours of the morning. Among your notes I received thoughtful suggestions, as well as your likes, dislikes and other comments. We plan to synthesize and reflect on these ideas and talk about them next year in another forum post. A number of you asked about potential changes to oDesk. Let me be clear: oDesk is constantly evolving and innovating to empower our customers—both our freelancers and our clients. Examples of innovations we’re already working on include improved support services for freelancers, and enhanced user profiles through even better testing and certification. But for the moment, three freelancer worries from your emails stood out to me and I want to address them immediately so you don’t need to be concerned. #1: I like using oDesk, and I'm worried it will go away. Brandon, an oBlog commenter, made a wonderful analogy as to how the merger will work: just as Apple owns both iPhone and iMac, oDesk and Elance will remain separate platforms under a larger umbrella company. That means if you're an oDesk user, you can continue using the oDesk website. Of course, Elance users can also continue using the Elance website. We recognize that you’ve worked very hard to build up your hours, feedback, work history and other elements of your oDesk profile. It’s important to preserve your online reputation on oDesk, and you will. #2: I'm worried oDesk will adopt membership fees or other aspects of the Elance pricing structure. Don’t worry! oDesk does not plan fee increases or membership fees based on the merger. #3: I'm worried there will be more freelancers, making it more difficult to find work. This is a misperception. We believe the merger will help us make greater investments in marketing, among other things. We plan to use these resources to attract more clients who, in turn, will create more jobs and thus more selection. Rest assured, even when the merger closing becomes official, we'll remain first and foremost committed to you, our customers. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, concerns and suggestions with me and please keep the ideas coming. The next chapter is all about creating more opportunities for you. Gary Swart oDesk CEO
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Elance charges a very minor membership fee of $10 per month which allows each person a certain number of "connects" -- or proposal apps. Consider it an investment in your business. There is also a "free" membership that automatically gets 40 connects every single month. EVERYONE is allowed to add anything to their portfolio for FREE. (If you don't know what you're talking about, best not to speak.)
4 of 10
Consider the number of posts there have been lately about a $4 minimum fee being unreasonable. $10 may not be much for you, but for some people, it is a much greater percentage of income. Elance also charges for seeking jobs in more than one category, which is a great disadvantage to people whose USP is that they have multiple skill sets.
5 of 10
If you can't afford to invest $10 in your business, then you're in the wrong business, and you need to go back to working at a real B&M job. If your first job doesn't pay for that $10 fee, then you're DEFINITELY doing something wrong and it's time to work for someone else. You neglected to read where I also said there is a FREE MEMBERSHIP that allows you 40 proposals per month. If you need more than that, then you're bidding on the wrong jobs or you're spamming. Elance is like oDesk in that way -- the decent jobs that pay well are very few and very far between.
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I have been using eLance longer than I have been on oDesk, I have never had to purchase their "connects" though I would if needed. Under their free membership, 40 connects is a lot if you apply properly to jobs that you are well qualified for, I have never used more than 5 in a month. Also, just like oDesk, clients can send you invitations, which means you dont have to use any connections at all. (again, how most of my jobs there come to me any way) I think it is a good place for people who are not bottom feeders, and dont mid stiff compitition for the higher quality of client available.
7 of 10
plan for the worst will be my mantra. Just hoping that more of the good things will come, speaking of which... I wonder if you'll ever roll out some kind of loyalty rewards program for folks like myself who've been here for the longest time running
8 of 10
First I do recommend the merger. I have confidence in Elance and oDesk and I hope they will come up with a great idea that will satisfy freelancers and clients. Let's watch as we work. Thanks.
9 of 10
Gary, There's a small request that I would like to make from oDesk aside from keeping the present rule on job application credits. Time is in short supply when a freelancer decides to apply for a job and starts to write his proposal. Knowing that a hundred other freelancers are also trying to land jobs; it is always more advantageous to send in the applications earlier. If the client can make clearer job descriptions, this time could be shortened and we can write more proposals. Over at Elance, I get the impression that the client is not pressed to be more concise so that the freelancer sends in an incomplete application by keeping the bid offer blank. Apparently, when this happens, the freelancer does not have all the job facts to commit to do the job at a fair price; or, that he may even be uncertain that he can do the job since there are some important facts about it that are not mentioned by clients. And because of the client's failure to describe the job properly, the freelancer spends a credit just to be sure that he sends in a responsive bid. I'm not quibbling about credits here; but, about wasted time of freelancers that have to squeeze more information about the job so that they can send in a better bid. I do mostly data gathering and formatting. This is a simple job and can easily be described if the source and the final output are demonstrated by providing URLs and other source details accompanied by a template showing how data is to be arranged. Would this be difficult to ask from the clients? After all, most of them start off by saying that theirs is an easy task. How could it be easy for them when they are unable to describe how the freelancer is to do the job? I suspect that a client has been thinking about the job long before he posts it at oDesk. He forgets that the freelancer was not with him when he decided to have the task sourced out. My suggestion is for the client to fill out only three items for his job description for data gathering, data entry, data mining, data extraction, file format conversion: 1. the source and/or a sample page from a file 2. a template for the data elements 3. deadline for job completion With these, freelancers can be submitting better applications or proposals and more work gets to be done. Thank you for listening and I appreciate the reply you posted at FB. Vicente NB: I am glad to know that oDesk will be retaining its "personality or identity" as a service provider.
10 of 10
I had just signed up to work on Elance also right before this merger was announced, and I have to admit I was disappointed. I am still on the site, but I do not like it nearly as well as oDesk. I just think oDesk is the most user friendly site that I have viewed overall. I also like that freelancers are only charged when we make money. To me, this seems the fairest system of all. Being able to take tests for free is extremely helpful for newcomers trying to establish themselves; this is the feature that made me choose to work on oDesk in the first place. I hope these features remain in place.