In December 2013 Odesk and Elance announces at the same time that they will merge.
All the community of Odesk was worried and scared of the merge, especially the Odesk veterans, myself included.
In the same period of the announcement the CEO of Odesk responded to the community assuring that nothing will change on Odesk. And if I may quote from the CEO Garry Swart back then.
"#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." - CEO Garry Swart (19 December 2013)
Here is the link his response back then: https://www.odesk.com/blog/2013/12/hear-letter-freelancers-yesterdays-news/
But what do you know I WAS RIGHT as always, back then I was commenting:
"My interpretation of this response is: no fees based on the merger, the fees will be based on something else and have nothing to do with the merger.
No, they will probably impose fees based in the name of improvement of service. Lets hope I am totally wrong about everything and I will wake up in mid 2014 in a flood of income and not a flood of notices from banks."
So 2015 is hear and today 18th of February I receive an email from Odesk with an announcement from CEO Fabio Rosati that:
"2. Announcing membership plans for more active freelancers and agencies
We’ve also created optional paid membership plans for highly active community members.
By default, you’ll automatically be on a free Basic membership plan, which comes with 60 Connects and the core tools to succeed on oDesk.
If you’re more active, you can upgrade to a Plus membership, which will give you more Connects, the ability to roll over your Connects, visibility into what others are bidding, and other premium features. You can change your plan at any time.
As we roll out memberships to the community, we’ll notify each of you with more info about what you need to do. In the meantime, learn more about the membership plans available toFreelancers and to Agencies. Ask questions and give feedback in our Forum and sign up for an upcoming live webinar on February 19 or February 20, where we’ll go over changes, explain features, and address your specific queries."
So it's basicly the same strategy and platform as Elance:
This is from FAQ on Elance:
"Each Elance Membership comes with a monthly allocation of Connects ranging from 40 per month for free Memberships to 100 per month for a Large Company plan. Your quota of Connects is replenished at the beginning of your billing cycle. To view your billing cycle date, click on your username at the top of Elance home page and clickMembership. Under Connect Activity, you will see your billing cycle dates."
So maybe you Odesk users will asks yourself what does this imply, well.. because I worked also on Elance I can share you my experience with these connects. Each Job oportunity will have from 1 to 3 connects as fee when you want to apply. If you want your aplication to be on top you pay more. The BAD NEWS is that when those 60 connects are gone you will wait 1 MONTH for them to reset. It's not like your old Odesk Application Quota that is reset once the Client denies your application, and you can apply as long as you still have connects. NO! when the CONNECTS RUN OUT, you will have to BUY MORE from Odesk (aka Elance now).
"Connects", membership fees and all the rest, if you want to be competitive you will have to PAY UP and buy more connects.
A note to Odesk CEO's, people might forget but the INTERNET Does not forget!!!
A note to Odesk Freelancers - be aware.
With Much Respect and care.
I must say I was also very disappointed to receive this news. The connects aspect doesn't bother me so much in the sense that I rarely use all of my applications.
However, the introduction of paid memberships is a step in the wrong direction. I cannot believe for one second that freelancers have been asking for paid membership options - however they spin it, it's just about increasing profits.
I don't like how oDesk introduced freelance membership plans. It's like they're capitalizing on the freelancer. I understand it's optional but reading how it works, it gives me a 'free-to-play' vibes where a player can optionally pay and gain better perks. If oDesk is really for the equality of the freelancer, then I strongly suggest that oDesk must remove the freelance membership plan.
@kevin Anthony M
With this method they will eliminate some of the low qualification freelancers but not all clients search for High quality freelancers. And this will drive small projects away from Odesk/Elance.
Is there any way we can actively oppose this? As someone new to oDesk, I joined because I actually liked the quota system. It was a solid way of picking and choosing who to apply for. But when I read about the membership plans, I just thought of the fact this is just capitalizing on both freelancers and those who need small projects done.
I work in Odesk and in Elance, this Fussion process is upsetting me, of course there are good things. One is the excrow protection, Odesk fixed price jobs was a field for scammers, now I think twice to bid for clients with no history or scarce jobs.
Right now Odesk-Elance has a dominant market position, one company, 2 brands, do you want coca-cola or pepsi?
What about to control jobs posted in the 2 companies at time? it is not
But I ask to all, Odesk fee is 10 % and Elance is 8,5 % with paid membership. Is this to be equalized?
All we know the answer...
No we can not oppose odesk. They are a business. They have full rights to change their policies as per their wishes. We can express our dissatisfaction or leave odesk permanently leaving our reputation and clients behind. But as independent freelancers we should all be ready for such scenarios. Odesk may come out with an announcement tommorow that we are no longer in mood to work anymore so we are closing our website. We all should be ready for this . Odesk never employed us. We do not have any employment contract with odesk. Odesk is a platform that we can use if we want.
I find all these changes since last year very annoying as well and I am considering other opportunities.
"We can express our dissatisfaction or leave odesk permanently leaving our reputation and clients behind"
Well to me all these changes are just forcing veterans and agencies to invest more in the Odesk platform, which to me sounds like a Mob move, either you pay protection fee or swim with the fishes!
These connects will drive away the low budget projects that's for sure! Things that posibly would not bother me so much but will also impose on some to buy premium features which is a **bleep** move done by Odesk because they have promissed they will not impose any subscription fees!
I see you've posted similarly on our main discussion thread. As we're trying to have one place where participants can locate the conversation and our responses, I'm going to close this thread to further comment.
Before doing so, I'd like to answer your initial question, regarding the change in direction since our merger was announced about a year ago.
At the time of our merger, we had no immediate plans to change our pricing structure. However, after taking a hard look at our workplace, 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.
We aren't asking users to "pay up" in order to be successful. With the Freelancer Basic plan, you still get 60 connects per month. We’ve carefully examined the application data when we settled on this monthly allotment of Connects. On average, it takes freelancers (even new ones) much fewer than 30 applications to win a job. We also expect that freelancers will find they will need to submit fewer applications to win a job in the future, which means more jobs with less wasted effort.