It has never been "used to be" Freelancers have always paid the 10%. The below is from archived terms of service for oDesk.
Last Update: October 25, 2013, effective October 25, 2013
2.1 oDesk Fees.
oDesk charges Freelancers a fee for the services of connecting them with the Clients that hire them and collecting payment for work. Typically, this fee is equal to 10% of Client's payments, plus a fee for disbursements. If Freelancer elects disbursement through a third party, the third party may assess additional fees. If Freelancer elects disbursement in foreign currency, oDesk adds a conversion fee of 1.5% to the spot rate quoted by its foreign exchange vendor.
The calculation was only there so you could figure out how much you were paid before they took their 10%. The client has always paid the full amount billed to them and we were paid what was owed to us minus oDesk's 10%.
I know a lot of folks are having a hard time wrapping their heads around it but the only thing the calculator did was tell you how much you would earn after fees.
Sorry Suzanne, but I disagree. Older (around 2009) oDesk documentation clearly stated that the client paid the 10% fee. Later documentation (which, is still lacking in clarity) indicates that now the freelancer pays the 10% fee.
Jean, granted, the current interface (calculator) that is used to enter bid prices has changed and has caused some confusion. Actually, the interface had been changed at least once before. It's alot simlper to think in terms of gross vs. net earnings when bidding.
Ramon, although I believe it would discourage some good clients from participating on oDesk if they had to "pay-to-post" (even as an option, especially if freelancers could filter for paying clients only); I also believe that a client "pay-to-post" feature would resolve a lot of negative issues on this platform.
ADDED (after R before J): Oops, this is off-topic. Most of the threads here do not adhere ot any quidelines for "off-topic" posts
I'm fine with the new cost system. oDesk is gonna do what they're going to do. We best all just suck it up. Adapt and overcome. Do or die. If you don't like it, leave.
Oh, wait, did I just type all the reasons connects were OK? I can't remember.
Not so fun being on the other side, huh?
Hi Bob! Good to see you again!
"If you don't like, leave"? Nah, hang around because on this platform change is inevitable. I'm still hoping things will normalize, and good clients and good freelancers from all industries and types of work can function in harmony -- as the word "community" might suggest.