These website has lost their worth because initially these website were very effective for freelancer having effective free bidding plan but after upwork, now it's very hard and tough to find new job. that's why new bi just create profile and left to it.
I hope that upwork will must review of his bidding policy.
What you say about free membership plan and connects system is true, but the web interface seems to have taken a real hit, especially the loading times. I remember when the old oDesk website used to load almost instantly in my firefox browser even on a 128Kbps connection! I know the new site is also getting better, but it can still be made even better, especially on the performance front .
We do realize that with the changes and the growing number of users, the site performance may suffer. That's why improving the speed and performance of the site is one of the priorities in the new year and we have some projects lined up that should help with that.