My Review: Elance.com Isn’t a Scam But…..


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Good luck making any real money on eLance.

As a freelance worker, you sign up for free and you are limited to submitting 10 proposals per month. You can also buy additional connects (job proposals) with a paid membership through the month if you find you need more. You can upgrade to the Professional ($10/ 25 proposals per month) Small Business ($20/ 40 proposals per month) or Large Business ($40/ 60 proposals per month). I chose the Professional, as with the basic free plan you cannot add connects during the month.

First of all…I’ve probably submitted over 50 proposals and I got 3 jobs from it after 2 months into the search for a great work at home job only to find out I found out I was competing with HUNDREDS of big companies with loads of job experience on eLance from third world countries where they only charge $2 an hour.

I mostly applied or made proposals on writing jobs and jobs that consist of customer service and I am actually working a job right now for a gentleman in NJ who owns a cleaning business and a landscaping company. I am being paid $10 per hour.

Awesome right?

Um…No. It’s $10 an hour on the phone. I am realizing that the hassle of making sure I am always available for his phone calls from 8am-5pm just isn’t worth the money I’m being paid…or not being paid. I have yet to be compensated for my work as of yet and I’ve been answering the phone for him for about 2 months now. He probably hasn’t paid me because there isn’t enough to pay. I’ve answered about 50 calls, at 1-3 minutes on the phone.  So that averages about $20 – give or take – over 2 months being available FT Mon-Fri. NOT WORKING OUT.

The sad fact is that real writing jobs along with other coveted work on Elance.com gets outsourced overseas; making it difficult for US-based freelancers to compete or work for much lower pay. For example, a graphic designer such as myself would charge about $150 – $200 to design a logo for a business whereas the freelancers on Elance.com based in the Phillipines are only charging $2o-$30 for the same logo. It’s a no brainer for the employee and the winner of the proposal is making a killing (in their world).

Is it worth it? Maybe if you’re so broke and you can live on third world salary. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

I just answered an invite for a virtual assistant job from yesterday but I am pretty much wasting my time by even responding because there were 18 invites; most to the Philipines and the pay rate was $5-10.hr. My chances of landing the job is about 10% and my chances of making 10/hr is lower.

If you decide to work on eLance, you may want to check out http://www.freelancersunion.org/retirement/index.html. You’ll need it. LOL

I wish eLance would divide their website up to restrict countries working for other countries. THEN eLance would be a great job source.

But it’s only my wish… one that won’t come true.

Updated 08/26/2011

I have had a lot of feedback on this post, it is also the most popular post on my blog.
Thank you to all the people who have responded and gave me your advice on this subject.

Lately I have discovered that when I win a bid on eLance, I will work for that person for maybe a week or two and then the work declines and then eventually I get nothing from them. I have done virtual assistance jobs. I think I am going to look into WordPress jobs as someone suggested.

Please don’t be offended about my 3rd world country comment. It is just what Americans call other countries that are very far away.  But the fact remains, most of the 3rd world countries are bidding so low that us Americans cannot make the money we need to survive in our country. The cost of living is way higher here than in other countries.

Just my 2 cents.

Update 5/21/2012

I haven’t received an email from eLance for a year and just as I was approving a comment and replying to it, I get a notification from eLance:

Hello Cara,

Since you last visited Elance, we’ve grown our global talent pool to over 1.4 million freelance contractors – all available on-demand to work on virtually any project, large or small.

Come back to Elance today and gain instant access to great talent:

We’ve also made Elance faster, safer and easier to use than ever before.

Let us help you find the right talent to get your project done. 

Thanks eLance. But it’s too late.

xoxo P

 

182 thoughts on “My Review: Elance.com Isn’t a Scam But…..

    • Guys there isn’t much to complain about and from experience I totally disagree with this blog post (apologies!). I am experienced with Elance (not odesk) and if you are a good worker and provide high quality work, you will be paid accordingly if your feedback for one or two short cheap work projects is impeccable. Then there is nothing stopping you from earning what you deserve within a few short weeks.

      If you use marketing techniques to craft your profile and you take the time to familiarize yourself with recognizing posts from clients that wish to hire for quality as opposed to price its really easy to get decent pay. I work for no less than $20/hour, work for up to $50/hour and average at $30/hour and get all my clients on Elance (and I am a full-time freelancer).

  1. When I was looking for writing jobs, friends told me about elance, then I check them out. I’d be working for peanuts and writing, as it is, takes up a lot of time.

    But I find when I want technical work done, like creating a website or a squeeze page and don’t have the time or patience to do it, I can hire someone on odesk who’s within my budget. As a small biz, I couldn’t afford to hire me to do that so I’m glad there’s an odesk where I can get the job done in the price range I can afford, and not have to pass off that cost to my clients.

    It’s not just elance or odesk. For me, it’s social media. My clients think they can do the job themselves so they don’t want to pay me what I know my skills are worth (I’m a book publicist).

    We’re going to have to learn to work smarter to make money in the new economy.

  2. I’ve been on Elance for about two years and don’t really agree with the review of it here. I have found there to be jobs that are generally slightly higher in price than those I have found on oDesk (though I didn’t spend much time on oDesk, so maybe it is just an impression). Also, when it comes to writing in specific, I have found that English speaking writers have a big advantage over most overseas writers. I have had both the experience of being beat out by lower bids from non-native speakers and having clients come back to me later when the project ended up a mess. I have have also noticed that when it comes to writers many clients simply prefer writers from the English speaking part of the world–often stating that they will only accept bids from American natives.

    The key is getting past the first few jobs. Then things open up a bit. It’s not great pay, but you can get a steady $10 to $15 if you are good, and I have noticed that some providers/contractors get more regularly–check out the profiles for Benjamin Gran and Ajadedidealist. Both do fairly well. Neither by the way is me.

  3. Hi there,
    Am from your so called, 3rd world countries, India (but i don’t believe it). I have entirely different experience with elance.

    I charge $8 per hour, which gives me $7.3 after deducting elance fee. Am there since march and pretty running my family just with that. earning minimum 1300 to 2000$ per month.

    As per me, what happened to you was, the category you selected. It was an unskilled category. those works anyone with english and internet knowledge can do. So the big may go that low. If you go to good works such as programming, wordpress, graphics etc, i never seen anyone quoting less than 5$ an hour. Moreover you can take fixed price job as well.

    regards
    WibZ

  4. Thanks for doing this review! I’ve been looking into the Elance route as supplemental (on-the-side) income (I’m a recent college grad and I work part-time). I’m more into the portfolio-building part than the side-hustle, but I forgot to factor the competition part in until I read this post (hits self on head).

    Good read.

      • Well, the whole point with the boards is that there are lots of talented programmer outside of the US who are happy to work for peanuts.

        If you see it from the outsourcers’ perspective, then that is a great opportunity which may even save them from going out of business during recession. So they are not sad…

        We freelancers based in e.g. the US, Europe and Australia are the sad ones. You guys in the US even has it easier because your living costs and taxes are low compared to Europe and Australia.

  5. Thanks very much for this hands-on, detailed review, that is very useful. I bid for projects on freelance boards similar to O’Desk in the past – much lower than what I thought the work was worth – and didn’t get them. I guess they went to overseas company that charged $2/hour.

    I have also been doing online research for an overseas outsourcer which found my details through a freelance board. I did get paid as promised, but late (without apologies), and the hourly pay rate and payment terms were substandard in the first place. The work was pure sweatshop where I was constantly chased for output via the phone. I made about $300 for several days of intensive work, and couldn’t work the following days because I felt completely drained and slept all the time. Not worth it.

  6. Great job on your detailed report! I started working on Elance in 2009 and yes the competition is unbelievable!! One of the things I’ve learned by listening to some of my US clients is that they hired outside the US and won’t do it again due to some of the problems they encountered. I tell them you get what you pay for in most cases. If your willing to pay a fair wage (to anyone), the person you hire to do the work will be happy and happy people usually do a good job.

    BUT…..I made a decision that I would have to place bids on some of the jobs that didn’t pay as much just to build up a presence on Elance and it worked, but I like Alixalex felt drained and wanted to sleep all the time. It finally made a difference and I have 4 long term clients that pay at least $10 per hour……The story gets better…..

    I decided to get married in 2010 and he has total custody of his (our) daughter, I had been single over 20 years at that point and my daughter was around 24. Needless to say, there were major adjustments for everyone especially me and everything I had been working toward on Elance went down the drain quickly. Not only did I have to build my presence on Elance back up, I had to start at the lower paying jobs and build back up. A year later I can honestly say I am back where I was before I got married, just added my oldest as a helper on my Elance account and it works great for the family.

    Hope this helps, what is awesome about you is that you are an excellent writer and if you stick with it (Elance), I’m pretty sure it will pick up and people will be coming to you :o)

  7. hi. i am from the Philippines and i just find your post mentioning our country a bit offensive but thanks for an informative post. the reason why we charge lower is because a dollar from you guys is already 50 pesos for us.. and a lot of us are unemployed so we accept projects like this.

    you may wanna visit mys site too. http://www.athenatria.com thanks!

  8. Well, just judging by the way you write and the categories in which you chose to bid for work, I’m not surprised you didn’t get a lot of high paying work. Freelancing isn’t about deciding to be a customer service agent, or proofreader or editor, writing an anonymous proposal and then expecting people to hire you right away. I don’t know any skilled job that works that way.

    When I first approached freelancing I gave myself a few months to get the feel for what worked and what did not work in project selection and proposal design, and to find a niche that both played to my individual strengths and was also in demand. It took some trial and error. I communicated with a lot of clients in the initial ‘question and clarification’ stage to get a feel for what they wanted. I was honest with myself and with the client about what I could realistically accomplish (for instance I would have immediately nixed the idea of being on call for 8 or 9 hours a day, since that doesn’t work with my schedule) and what made me stand out from the “lowball bidders”.

    It took a while to really find my place and establish some good work experience. I would often read the forum posts in which a new person would think they wanted some extra money, sign up with an account, write a bio and then start bidding on everything from proofreading to writing funny blog posts about deodorant and on day 5 start posting that no one would hire them because they were American and charged a reasonable wage. People would always tell them to find their niche, find their special area of expertise, MAKE themselves worth their bid… I’m not sure the scattershot approach really works well.

    I’ve also hired out some creative writing and graphic design work on elance so now I’ve seen the process from both sides. You wouldn’t believe the proposals you get and the sense of entitlement that comes through in them! I wanted help with a logo, and psychology undergrads who had their specialties listed as “technical writing” and had no portfolio or example work would submit proposals saying they were artistic logo experts. Or I’d get a cut & paste form proposal that had nothing to do with logos, essentially saying, “Hi I’m a PhD MD copywriting aromatherapist with so many ideas for you!”

    It takes work to develop a business, and freelancing is a business. It takes time, patience, hard work and a lot of effort. I get the feeling some people think freelance means easy money. It doesn’t. It’s a business.

    • This blog doesn’t have anything to do with my bids on eLance.
      I have also hired contractors from eLance so I know both sides as well.
      This blog isn’t a business. It’s…my blog. I don’t point anyone here as my portfolio. LOL
      But thank you anyway for your input and advice :)

      • * Rolls Eyes * Ok, then please remove my post from your page and just don’t visit my blog. I’m not the only American who uses that term. Look it up on urbandictionary.com or Wikipedia. Cya…

  9. I find the part about Americans seeing other countries far away a bit offensive. Like most people here have stated, the conversion rate of a dollar to other countries is quite high and able to provide sustainable living, hence the competitive bid rates on eLance. The truth is, world power or not, jobs are being snatched from American on a daily basis, and online jobs are no different. Instead of complaining, Americans need to get off their asses and get busy!

      • Photographess, your excuses are as offensive, if not slightly more offensive, than the original statements.

      • No Photographess, “third world country” is a term used to describe areas that don’t have the amenities available to them that Americans do. You know, simple unimportant things (I am being sarcastic) like clean water to drink and bathe in, ample food supply, medicine and vaccines…It isn’t their fault that slime balls will take advantage of their situation. If their work is good then they should be paid what the work is worth. If it is riddled with poor grammar and spelling, well the slime balls got what they deserve!
        The term third world countries has absolutely NOTHING to do with how far away they are. You are offensive to me, and I am an American. You also need to go back to school for grammar and word use.

      • I agree its the impoverished countries too.

        yoor entytld tu ure apinyon to your opinion.

        Thank you for your comment!

        PS Just kidding about my grammar/spelling/ Never claimed to be a paid professional… Its my passion. Smile

    • I found the comment that I, as an American, need to “get off my ass” offensive. That said, I am quite uncomfortable with stereotyping of any kind directed at anyone, anywhere. Hopefully we can have an intelligent discussion of the economic realities of working in the elance environment and refrain from non-productive name calling.

      I am an American freelancer who is using elance less and less. Working 60-70 hours a week for $7-10 an hour after you do the math (and that appears to be a good net) providing professional level service isn’t a basic living wage in America (need $12 hr to cover basic, food, shelter, utilities – and we’re not talking a nice house in the burbs, just a roof over your head and groceries.)

      Others may consider themselves “lazy Americans” and, as with any country, we’re all human, so there are, of course, some pretty darn lazy people in America. However, most of us are working our butts off. 50-70 hour weeks with no overtime paid have replaced the 40 hr norm.

      As far as elance is concerned, when someone wants you to ghost write a book and expects to receive quality that is worth ten figures on the market for 3 bucks a page – well, Houston, we’ve got a problem. My specialty is providing services to small business owners at rates discounted 30-80% from that of comparable providers on the American market. Being expected to work for less than 10% what the work is worth simply doesn’t work for an American provider living in the American economy.

      The fact is the dollar does go farther in many other economies, which is why we have people who come to America to work and send remittances back home to help their families. I am not interested in any debate as to whether that practice is “right” or “wrong” – simply that it is a common practice that does exist in and supports the current reality that the American dollar (so far) still has higher value in many countries around the globe.

      Because of this, freelancers from some other countries can often undercut an American bid, yet receive “the same” fee the American would have received even though their bid is much lower. This economic reality does, in fact, make it difficult for the American freelancer to compete on elance. To pretend this isn’t true doesn’t make it false.

      But that is simply the way the chips are falling on elance and to say negative things about people who live on the other side of any ocean is ridiculous. No matter where we live, we are all simply trying to make a living. If I could under-bid but still make a good wage to support my family, I’d do it too :)

      I will most likely not use elance much anymore. The problem is that many Americans (as well as others from “Western” countries) looking to outsource via elance who “require” an American provider expect to receive C-suite level work at Walmart wages. In essense, elance as it stands increases expectations of those wanting to outsource to Americans while at the same time making it appear high performance expectations don’t warrant high performance pay at American rates to American providers. Not the definition of a good place for an American freelancer to look for work.

      However, elance can truly help people just breaking into freelancing after being laid off and unable to find employment establish a reputation (it did that for me) – so time spent on elance isn’t necessarily “wasted” time. Instead, if you’re willing to work, it can be a great opportunity a freelancer can leverage as they build their business.

      I know it is time for me to leave elance as I am becoming increasingly frustrated and having negative feelings as so many posting RFPs do so requesting American providers, yet indicate budgets that, in reality, represent asking people to provide professional, skilled service for less than minimum wage.

      It is my hope that all of us, no matter what country we live in, find great financial success and personal satisfaction as we build our individual businesses.

      • “One job was to write 50 abstracts of papers 200-350 words. They wanted turn around in 5 days and was only willing to pay $25 for the entire job. This included the time spent reading the paper and researching.” – My goodness….
        Thanks for your comment!

  10. Thanks, Photographess…

    Your year-old article here saved me from signing up with Elance. Actually, I looked at the “Terms of Service” page there, with 13 PDF files of stuff one has to agree with before registering, and that was plenty to turn me off.

    To say it’s harder for a freelancer to do business today than before is a gross understatement. I’ve found the thing that has worked for me is narrowing my talents to a narrower market… from a graphic design generalist to a book cover designer. I don’t turn away other work that may come my way, but my focus is on the publishing industry primarily. It’s something to consider for anyone in any field really, who’s struggling for work.

    The best to you and thanks again.

  11. “Third world country” has nothing to do with distance from the United States. The term is an outdated one used to describe countries that are underdeveloped in comparison with countries like the United States, United Kingdom, etc… I can’t believe you actually think it is used to describe “countries that are far away” and don’t know what the term actually means.

  12. To start off, great post. It definitely helps people put things into perspective that Elance is not just going to be a money-maker for someone right off the bat. I have seen all too many sites that act as if it is just so easy to sign up to sites like e-lance and instantly start making some quick money part-time. It’s good to see the honesty here ;).

    Just like any other business, it takes a lot of time to build yourself up on Elance. As others have stated, a good portion of how often you’ll get jobs is building your reputation on the site. This can be quite difficult in the start, as there are many contractors on Elance that just don’t leave feedback after jobs are finished.

    I can definitely say, there is a lot of competition out there for jobs. Most jobs I apply for end up having at least 15-25 proposals before someone is hired. Some of the prices are also unreasonably low, at least compared to what typical US pay is. When you add up how much time you spend submitting proposals, on top of the work itself, you realize that doing the small jobs is simply not worth it. It’s the niche markets you have to target, where there is less competition because more skill is required. Also, the long-term jobs, where they want it to be an ongoing project. That is where the real money is, but of course, it still takes a long, long time to get there.

    Oh, and Cocomarumba, I am at a loss as to how you think us having a higher cost of living makes us “lazy”? If you want to try and attack Americans and say you’re taking our jobs, you might want to learn to write proper grammar first. You have no place to take offense when the writer of this post used the proper terminology; used by not only Americans, but the world. “Third world country” isn’t slander, it’s a definition based on economic status. If you don’t like living in a third world country, then move. After all, you’re taking all of our jobs, right? So, you can afford it ;).

    Anyway, good luck to anyone wishing to make a living off Elance. Find a niche, bid low until you establish your reputation, and work your way up from there. Be patient, and it just might happen.

  13. I am a freelancer on Elance. And here are my thoughts about it. The Writing section is the best section to be in. (especially if you can “ghostwrite books.”) It seems to be the easiest to “get your foot in the doo”r and be paid average rates.in the beginning.”I would rate Graphic design next. The worst is the Admin section. It’s repetitive work, researching on the internet (things like I need a list of all the vacant lots in the U.S.) Yes, that was one job posted. Many are like that. It doesn’t take skill or thought except for having the resources to locate such large categories of data. Since it doesn’t take skill, or thought I’ll say 95% go to the cheapest bidder. The other 5% will go to the bidders with the most jobs already done. Elance used to have a min. fixed rate of $50 for a job which is why I signed up there. In the last few months they have lowered their rates to $20 fixed rate and $3 hourly rate. The thought on that, directly from Elance is, by doing that, it will bring in more clients. It has, but those clients are looking for “cheap” labor. And there are hundreds, if not thousands willing to work for that. I am in the Admin section. In the entire 12 months I have been on there, I have received only 3 jobs. One good thing about Elance is that the jobs come in real fast. Every 2 or 3 minutes there are 2 to 3 new jobs being listed. Do not think that once you become a member, you will get a lot of jobs since you are competing with THOUSANDS of other freelancers with the majority of them being from India and for whatever reason, they are the ones who bid “lowballer” rates.

    Odesk. = I am not a member there, but I have scanned through the jobs (basically in the Admin section) and from what I’ve seen at the time, the pay rate there, if unbelieveably low. I’ve seen jobs listed for 50 cents an hour. I may be wrong, but that is what I observed at the time. From talk I’ve heard also, from other freelancers on other sites, Odesk is at the bottom (concerning pay rates) for freelancing jobs.

    Guru – is another freelancer site. I have pretty good luck on there. and have had 12 jobs in a year. I attribute it to luck in the beginning. Lucked on a job after just 2 weeks of joining, and it turned out to be a repeat customer. That helped TREMENDOUSLY in building up my feedback and stats. Because of that, I’ll say, I get about 80% of the jobs I bid on. The rates on Guru are better then on Elance. – $25 fixed rates, $5 hourly rates. The down side is that there aren’t many jobs coming in. In an hour, 1 job will be posted (in the Admin section) . There probably are more jobs coming in, in the other categories.

    From the thousands (if not more) of freelancers on any of the sites, only a Small handfull make half decent enough wage amount to live on.

  14. On the other hand, I am not sure if you noticed. Now a lot of jobs on elance began to be W9 required, which is U.S. contractors only, which frustrated me, who lived in Canada, a lot.

  15. Re The Third World Comments, I have lived in both the Philippines and the U.S. and what many people in the Philippines don’t realize is that the quality of living, medical care, even food in your country is below the standards held in most American communities. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just that the living conditions are drastically different and therefore accepting a job for $5 or even $8 per hour is very acceptable in the Philippines. I could live there for that kind of money, but Americans who have not lived in the Philippines or India don’t really know what the conditions are like to live there. Please don’t take offense at the Third World Country references, it’s just that we live in 2 vastly different economic circumstances. In the U.S. $8 per hour is the minimum that anyone can get paid, and usually that is still less than a high school student makes just bagging groceries. I just wish we can be friendly and forgiving of the people that don’t have experience living outside the U.S. The term Third World Country maybe also outdated. Americans should perhaps change to calling countries that are far away “developing countries that are far away.”

    Re Elance. Thanks for posting you review of Elance because this discussion on your blog has really helped in understanding how to start as a freelance contractor and build your way up.

  16. I think people have been taking offence unnecessarily. She has merely stated a fact and the tone is certainly not degrading.

    Incidentally, I am from India, one of those third world countries Photographess is talking about. The quality of some the articles they churn out here is really bad; even for $2 an article. Granted there are quite a few good writers, but the vast majority would not recognize a good article right under their noses, because they are too busy admiring their own deplorable skills.

    The key to good writing/designing is continuously reviewing your work and polishing your skills. It is a never ending process.

    People here gather a team of writers; bid for really well paying ($ 30 per article) elance and freelancer.com; outsource the jobs to their teams setting a 8-10 hr deadline for 3000 words for supposedly well researched content.

    They pay the writers about $1 – $2.5 per 500 words and they don’t even bother to proof read. I been writing for one such person for 9 months now. There are plenty of U.S companies too posting jobs that only pay $1/1000 words.

    I find it difficult to meet deadlines because research that is supposed to take me about 15 minutes takes about 3 hrs. – LOL.

    While I have working for 2 dollars, I have learnt a lot about the various niches, mostly through my own research.

    If you are good at what you do, build a portfolio, avoid low paying jobs. Most good companies look for quality. I have seen some jobs awarded to people whose bids overshoot the stated budget.

    Alternately, you can take some of the Elance test. They are tough and if you can get a good score, it will work in your favor.

    I agree with Bryan, Anthony and Jak. Building a reputation is slow wort, but, worth the effort.

    Thank you for a great article Photographess.

  17. Thanks, Photographess, for your informative post! Just a few comments:

    1) The politically correct terms for ‘third world’ are now ‘southern’ or ‘industrializing’, versus ‘northern’ or ‘industrialized’. ‘Third world’ is offensive because it has connotations of inferiority. Another commonly-used dichotomy is developing vs. developed countries, but I think these two must be on their way out, for similar reasons (derogatory).

    2) There are some countries that restrict their labor markets in the way you proposed; North Korea is one of them. The United States is dense in entrepreneurial drive and human capital – i.e. education and skills. No economy or education is more coveted in the world than American. That’s why the rest of the world uses iPhones and Windows/Mac operating systems, stays in touch via Facebook, listens to Lady Gaga, and flocks to Hollywood apocalyptic flicks. These are products of American drive, genius, and creativity. Countries that restrict the flow of labor and services fall by the wayside, while the USA plows ahead, the rest of the world be damned (I’m Canadian, by the way).

    3) There are two kinds of jobs that are in demand in the USA (I lived in LA/DC for 8 years): service jobs, like cutting hair and driving taxis, because these can’t be exported; and creative/intellectual jobs, because the American system breeds them like no other place in the world. I’m sorry that you’re having a tough time competing with lower-wage freelancers – but it’s also a potential goldmine, for people like yourself, if you can leverage your knowledge of your industry, ex. connecting US buyers with lower-wage freelancers/service providers. Sometimes, in order to stay where you are, you have to keep running (as implied by Cocomarumba) – that’s the beauty and brutality of globalization.

    Good luck in being nimble, Photographess!

    Cheers, and apologies for being verbose~

  18. I just wanted to let everyone know what we’re going through. We agree with most of your main points. We are a strategic brand definition, business planning, marketing planning and implementation resource. We are run by people with an average amount of experience in the industry of around 10 years. We have service side, client/company side and business & tech consulting expertise. We’re a “deeper toolbox,” and we have a hybrid structure, meaning that our man-hour rates are a fraction of those of larger firms.

    First, Elance scolded us for putting our direct contact info into proposal letters. So we took it out, even though it’s laughable to assume that they think that they can be the “Project Police,” and prevent clients and providers from working together as they wish to. Second, they suspended our account for “User Performance” issues. What this means is as follows: “Sorry, we know you pay us $40-60+ USD a month for access to bid on projects, but you’re not winning enough of them and paying us our ridiculously high commissions, so we’re suspending you.”

    They also said that we had multiple accounts (totally untrue; there was one account for the umbrella holding company of affiliate companies, and another for a specific affiliate who specialized in strategic deliverables–two separate corporate entities), and that we did not complete a job (also false–the client hired us, then hired an outside resource, and never wanted to agree to our upfront payment terms and conditions, making it a “phantom job”).

    Elance will not have a civil conversation and keeps referring to a mysterious “Policy Dept.” They took our monthly bid money, suspended our account indefinitely, are holding our credits, and are now penalizing us for marking the phantom job “complete!!”

    We are not going to take this crap from these half wits. We are issuing a press release, and going onto all of the complaint sites, reporting them to the BBB and US Attorney General’s office. We have been in business for far longer than they have, will do just fine without them, and will be around and successful LONG after they are gone. And, they will pay us back!

    PS–Always interested in good complimentary partners and companies who may want to become part of our affiliate network of providers.

    Regards,

    Chuck Hirsch
    Dir. of Strategy
    Wovn Group

    • Wow. I’m sorry that happened to you. I hope things get straightened out. Sounds like Paypal problem. lOL. I cannot stand Paypal. Regardless, good luck with your business. I’d love to be a part of your team should you ever need me :)

  19. I been on Elace for about a month. I have not won any bids. Most of the winners are from oversea’s charging $30-$50 for logo design or other graphic designs. I’ve seen a handful of people from the U.S win these jobs as well for the same price. Most of the time, I think its all about your feedback and how many jobs you have done.

    Just yesterday, I have only 6 bids left out of 10 cause Im a basic member. But,all of a sudden I have been getting Invites back to back…so I aint even touched those last 6 bids I have. Out of the projects I was invited too,one provided little information so I couldnt give a proposal with my fee. 5 minutes later, some lady in the U.S bid $44 and got awarded.

    So, even though I havent won any bids yet, I wont give up just yet. Elance seems to be my fav out of the other sites. Freelancer.com, I dont even waste my time with that site. Even though they offer a free 1 month membership that gives you 50 bids…I just dont like the feel of the site, plus they require too much personal information (or so I heard) in order for you to withdrawl your funds.

  20. Elance was a great place for several weeks until we found out that they are for CLIENTS and not their contractors. Work was done on work view and now Elance is saying they will not pay because the dispute was not filed within the Timeframe….according to their terms there is no timeframe stated for hourly jobs but fixed so this is a bunch of nonsense so they don’t have to pay. Watch out for cebmike27 because he might not pay since he knows that Elance will side with him.

  21. ELANCE rips off Clients: They gave me an hourly paid WP consultant from Russia who wrecked my web site and destroyed my data. Then they took my money. Elance has a dispute method which is deeply buried in their website. Few can find it. And if you choose the pay by hour method you have NO recourse if the contractor messes you up. Nor do they tell you this in advance.

  22. Update: Please either delete my first post or also include this post. Elance resolved the issue and is dealing with the client. I am happy to say that we reached a very fair agreement and Elance is a great freelancing portal.

  23. I randomly stumbled upon this is a search while doing some quick calculations. Anyway, just figured I’d say I’m having a very different experience.

    I do front end development, so a very different field from writing, but I am actually able to sometimes charge more on elance.

    After about my first 3 jobs I was able to get a very solid profile rating. By turning down lower paying jobs, I kept my income up and am at the point where I am able to respond to all my invites with substantially higher quotes than the others bidding. I usually charge around $30 an hour for the work I do. Through elance I can typically charge closer to $45 hourly. Keeping my rates high keeps the invites I get in a higher calibur. I no longer get requests for small jobs, most of my jobs rank in the 1000+ range. I’ve really spent the time to turn my elance profile into a high end profile. My rates still aren’t high end in the programming world, but on elance, they are pretty far up there and $45 an hour is entirely respectable considering I don’t have to do much to find the work.

    I would think the same would work in the writing world. Change your description to things like, all my content is completely original. I do not do this and this.. blah blah blah. Make yourself sound prestigious and the companies with money will want to pay more simply because you cost more. If elance isn’t working for you, certainly it won’t hurt to give it a shot.

    Also, if you find work outside of elance, request they use elance to pay you, that way it shows up that you are making more per client than your peers and will give you a solid review.

    (and as awful as this sounds, putting up a particularly attractive photo doesn’t hurt either)

  24. Here’s my tip, to find a right partner in outsourcing your business I think we should not only consider Elance, Odesk or other sites that have been on several blogs reported as “scam”. I am developing a website for my e-commerce business and I always trust “Staff.com” in hiring web developers. They can give you full time workers at low cost price.

  25. The first time I was on elance I noticed someone needed a problem fixed with their website – it was the Joomla/Drupal sort, and the problem was at least a 8-12 hour fix. Their budget was ‘no more than $30.’ Umm… no.

    Basically, your post is dead on. It goes back to the types of work people post on the site – they are on elance to get cheap work and don’t care about the quality of the work. Not that, you know, quality code leads to natural search engine visibility and bad code leads to being fooled by the “SEO” scheme. So, they’ll come back and try to pay pennies for someone to make SEO hacks, but wonder why Google blacklists them for using a few black-hat techniques… So they’ll come back, and on, and on.

    You mentioned $150-200 for a web graphic while outsourcing the work could cost as low as $30 for the same graphic, but I’d like to bring up that it really isn’t going to be the same graphic. It all comes down to quality and skill. The $30 logo will be a $30 logo.

    I actually worked for a man who hired me because it only took this happening one time for him to run away from elance. He chose a bid based because the man sounded like he was going to do a great job, so comps & functionality were provided, he called constantly with questions and clearly wasn’t doing the work himself. My boss assumed he basically paid someone who then outsourced the work on the cheap, and he got an incomplete product that looked and functioned nothing as was specified. He handed me the same exact documents, asked “is this really complicated, is it even possible to do?” and while he stepped out of the room to take a call from one of his investors, I started writing code and was able to recreate one of three of the elements of his overall idea in code… All comes down to quality & skill. $30 work is $30 work, and if that is what clients on this website expect to pay, then professionals will go elsewhere.

  26. My country could be one of the “third” countries in this world. However, I also have an issue with $2 per 500 word article. The reason being I have been writing too much for too long and hell no, I charge $8 per 440 word article. Call me spoiled! Am just saying I kinda get why any experienced freelancer would want to ask for more and the reason is “CAN I GET A PROMOTION for all my hard work!!!

  27. Interesting that third world means a country far away to young americans.
    As writers we should keep abreast of modern world usages. Originaly, I believe, the term was political shorthand used during the cold war to distiguish between capitalist (USA and allies – first world) countries, communist (USSR and allies – second world) and everyone else (third world).
    As most third world countries tended to be poor it took on a derogatory meaning.
    Thanks for the informative blog about Elance and thanks to everyone for all their helpful comments.
    I shall have a go at Elance with my eyes wide open now.

  28. I have been using a lot of different freelance sites.
    And when it comes to most known sites, in my opinion, elance is one of the best.

    The reason that I like it, is that it feels more professional.
    When a new job gets posted, there will be no 30+ proposals in few minutes.
    It means that you have more time to write your own proposal and actually get noticed.
    Sure there are users from less developed countries also, but tell me a site where there aren’t any. At least on elance, there are not so many bidders.

    Also most of the clients come from Europe, US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
    It means a higher payment possibility, because there are no 5$ job postings around that can have a bad influence on client decisions.
    So far no problems with getting paid on elance, I choose a client that looks trustworthy and always ask 50% in advance.

    When starting out without any previous feedback, the worst site in my opinion, is freelancer.com.
    I got my first job on elance, after submitting about 20 bids.
    I got my first job on freelancer.com, after submitting about 300+ bids (and the client went “missing” when it was time for last payment :))
    It’s literally a big Indian market, where everyone is offering their goods.
    I don’t want to insult anyone, but people from less developed countries are ruining the design market and should be banned!
    Stolen designs, massive clip art usage, and absolutely no quality at all!
    It’s like buying a “rolex” watch from Chinese salesman.
    Not only they have a bad impact to clients, they also have bad impact for real designers who are just starting out.

    There was a site called scriptlance.com, it held design contests, where designs were usually visible for everyone. And no kidding, over 95% of the designs were stolen, or just some cheap clip art. A designer who says that he has over 10 years of professional experience working in a big company, and then uses something from google picture search, for making a company logo!??
    The bad side for it was, that all this activity was actually allowed by the site owners.
    But the worst side is, that the scriptlance.com site was lately taken over by freelancer.com, and all those scriptlance crooks are now bidding on freelancer.com.

    Also I cannot say anything good about odesk. Full of 5$ job postings and the overall pricing is one of the lowest.

  29. So, I’ve been just trying to find some pro bono work I could do to build my ghostwriting career but I can not even seem to do that! When was volunteering such an issue! I’m currently working on my own novel…I have been for quite some time now but I truly hope that elance or some other site will be able to stir something up and get me a ghostwriting opportunity! If any of you know of anything…and you too Photographess, please let me know! Sometimes you have to work for nothing to build something! No house was ever built from the roof down!

  30. Hi Photographess, I realize this is an old post, but very interesting to read your perspective from the freelancer point of view. I actually use Elance quite a bit, but from the employer side, mainly hiring programmers. I’ve writiten a review about my own experiences with Elance (and compared it to a few other sites) and I recently updated my blog to allow users to leave reviews as well. Since you have some strong opinions, if you’re interested, I’d love it if you would share some of your thoughts on my Elance review page: http://www.ddiy.co/elance-reviews/

    Thanks!!! – Geoff

  31. Just happened to stumble upon this – as a freelancer on Elance for over 4 years, I have to somewhat disagree with this review. I say somewhat, because I WILL admit, it is very hard to get started on Elance. HOWEVER, there is a ton of money to be made there if you truly are efficient at programming… I don’t know so much about writing. I can tell you though, I win 50% of the jobs I bid on, and I am usually the highest bidder, if not close to the highest bidder. You have to be smart… cherry pick the jobs you know you can knock out of the park, and fast. Proficiency is key. As a WordPress programmer you can make several hundred dollars a day just by fixing people’s blogs. There are many ways to make a very good living on Elance, but again it is hard to get started. You need to prove yourself so that you can demand top dollar from employers who have already tried the $2/hr. freelancers from China, India and Pakistan. After awhile, they realize that work is sub-par, and language is a major barrier… as well as time zone dilemmas. These employers, you will know them by their hiring history, money spent on Elance, and other factors. They are willing to pay top dollar for quality and reliable work that is on time. There are many large businesses on Elance who have no problem spending thousands on projects. As an example, I just lost a bid to another provider – mine was for $8,900… his for $10,000.

  32. Oh wow, I really need to respond to some of these posts here, such as Chuck Hirsch’s… and Little Mum before she retracted her statement…

    The one thing about Elance… it’s foolproof. Anyone claiming to have been ripped off by Elance is full of it. Elance has an escrow service. It’s that simple. When a contractor awards a project to you, Elance makes certain they understand they need to fund escrow. Providers know and are told by Elance it is not wise to start work on a project until escrow is funded. There is also a milestone feature, so larger jobs can be split up. You cannot get ripped off by Elance if you use it how you’re supposed to. And by the way Chuck Hirsch, Elance has been around for well over 10 years, but good luck with your complaints, and sorry for sounding like an Elance fanboy, but seriously, it is what you make of it, just like anything else in life.

    Also, I want to note – for anyone serious about making money on Elance like Luis Elevated Senses above… you have to claw your way to the top, and it’s not easy getting a foot in the door sometimes. Do a few easy jobs cheap and explain to the contractor you are charging much less than normal because you are new to Elance and eager to build a profile with positive feedback. Positive feedback will get you more jobs. Contractors want assurance you aren’t a fly-by-night hack who is going to put them over budget or over deadline. If you have prior work samples, use them! And most importantly, if you really want to land projects, take your time writing your proposal. Address their issues specifically, let the contractor know you read their project detail, you know what you’re talking about, and you can complete the task at hand.

    Building positive feedback and before you know it you can charge $45/hr., which is my minimum rate, although I rarely work by the hour, but rather by the project (I prefer it that way).

  33. SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Let’s start a web site for American talent only, we have the knowledge and skills. Lets take our country back, it’s OUR economic survival. Tell the people you know about this situation so that they don;t do business with any company associated with these 3rd world countries. Also, hire American citizens

  34. ForEnlance!

    I wish I had been smart enough to do a little research before signing on with Elance. Its really a big waste of time as a contracter. It’s typically companies or employers looking to get work for free or very little expense. In addition, as you experienced, I’ve put in numerous bids on jobs, out of about 30 bids I have had two jobs, both paid 20$ each. The awesome part!: I bought a 20$ membership at Elance, so there goes half my profits, and now if I want Elance to send me my earnings it will cost me $25.00 for the wire service they provide. LOL! So, after investing hours and hours into posting bids, setting up my profile and portfolio on Elance, I am in hole for about $225.00. It wouldn’t be so bad if they offered a system where the user can just buy a monthly membership allowing the person to bid on however many jobs they want in that time frame. But the way they do it now is just ridiculous! They must be making money hand over fist. The pool of freelancers and possible job opps. is good, but the Elance system does not cater at all to the freelancer, they are simply in business for their own gain. I live in Canada and a junior designer in a metropolis can expect to make around $20.00/hr, I think this is on par with American wages for designers as well. On Elance, one must set their hourly rate to 10-15$ an hour to get any work in the door, at this hourly rate I can work at a coffee shop and make more after tips, no experience or education required to work at a coffee shop.

    It’s unfortunate that there is mention of America trying to stop outsourcing. I see it as a benefit to all countries, I think it’s more a matter of setting the bar higher. Rather than basing the price of a product on its origin it should be about quality, because really there are workers in other countries that provide services just as good as someone from America or Canada. They are able to offer a lower rate, which isn’t good for us here in Canada or USA. So if the bar is set higher and we are all equals in the market then the emphasis is more on quality of the product rather than the cost. Being on Elance is/was a good primer for me to gain an understanding of this broken system. A site such as Elance should incorporate some different standards that cater to the needs of it’s registrants. Currently I only see it as machine that caters to itself.

    A Freelance site is needed that is restricted to certain countries.. maybe?

    I understand this idea that communities should/need hire from within. But… My experience in this area as a graphic designer: I get hired on as a designer locally, I want to use local production houses to complete the job (say get the job printed). So I hire a printer. That printer takes my job on and seeing me as a direct competitor doesn’t meet the quality or speed I expect, I am made to appear like a poor service provider to my client. As a result I look to other sources, off shore and in other cities. I find that I can get better and cheaper services because these companies do not see me as a competitor. Unfortunately, I am at odds, because I do believe that I should be feeding my own community with work. But if the local sources aren’t working out then where am I too go?

    But yeah.. Elance sucks and is a waste of time if you are not willing to take a baseball bat and stick in your but, cuz in order to see any kind of positive results from Elance you’ll need to get used to getting it in the ass on a regular basis.

  35. Elance does have some contractors looking for workers who want you to work for them outside of Elance, meaning you may not get paid. I am a Canadian living and working in Thailand, I object to comments about allowing third world people being able to get jobs and charge less. I charge $9.00 a hour, yes the cost of living here is cheaper, but this is a free world, if you have not noticed. If the contractor wants a Native from Thailand or another third world country they should understand the quality of work may not be as high as the quality of work that someone like me or you could produce, regardless of what country that we are living in. I think Elance is good in the sense that you can source jobs from and work from home, there are benefits for everyone here.

  36. I really found this thread interesting.

    I signed up at peopleperhour.com and got two I-Shirt design jobs right away. Each for $40-$50 for one hour. The way I did it was NOT to bid on the job but ask the client questions. When they were hooked, I placed my bid and they instantly accepted.

    That strategy is not 100% fool proof, I have not gotten some jobs since then. But often it is because I can tell the hiring client does not value my skills or being an American. … let me explain.

    When I pitch a job, I write a LOT to insure the person hiring knows three things:
    1) I read your job posting – this is not a bulk, generic response.
    2) I’m an expert who has secret, inside knowledge of what is needed. Or somehow I need them to think I do.
    3) I am a US person – and that matters. That is, I will understand the needs of Americans. For example, I just pitched a client who wants music T-Shirts. I did not respond that I lived near Detroit, I said I lived near Motown. Motown started in Detroit. As such I won a private invitation – beating out 43 other competitors.

    As an American, I need to charge more, so I need to find ways to get the job, but get it at higher fees.

    I’ve only been doing this for one month. I’ve placed less than ten bids, and won two. That’s about 20% closing ratio. Further, the two I won resulted in great reviews. Now I can raise my rates.

    Here is my formula:
    1) Never bid, always ask the job poster some questions that both establish that I read the posting, and that I have added value (being and expert / native American).
    2) If and ONLY if I get the person engaged into a real conversation, submit a bid AFTER all the details have been worked out. Really, I am circumventing the bidding system.
    3) Once I have some sales at a site, move to the next one to establish myself there. My goal is to work five sites, but be super choosy about the work.

    * My real goal it to see which sites and work can generate repeat clients. After all, bidding and re-bidding is really prospecting work – and who likes that.

    – Eric

    Hope it’s ok to post my website http://ericstshirts.com – just so you know what I do.

  37. I was reading this because I’m thinking of trying elance. I’m done with Odesk. 99% of the jobs are for a dollar a job or similar.
    I’ve had good luck with Guru. But I had to pay before being taken seriously. But I’ve made my money back many times over. But there’s not enough on Guru for me so I have to find something else.

    I don’t mind competing with someone from another country…provided they have the skills. I see a lot of jobs that just assume that $1 an hour is OK because everyone else is doing it, then they get upset that they get crappy work.

    What’s worse is when they are a crappy company that just wants to scrape/clone/copy a website, pay someone $5 to do it, and then make advertising revenue. Because, unfortunately, that’s a business model that works.

  38. Updates Updates Nov 2012 Updates Updates

    Well three things happened this year, and one this month.

    First ODesk average pay per hour is DECREASING. That is, the average price per hour is going DOWN. This is a strange thing, unless the market is consolidating.

    Then, DoNanza (a site that gathers jobs from freelance sites) analyzed data comparing this year to the last two. What they see is a general loss of hourly pay for the first time in high demand skill areas. And the skills that are rising the fastest in demand, also tend to have the biggest drop in pay. Their conclusion is that, for the first time, freelancers are entering the market at a rate greater than demand (the number of posted jobs).

    Next, Freelancer.com acquired scriptlance.com, then 99desigsn acquired their European competitor and now … just a few days ago, my vWorker.com account was converted to a Freelancer.com account – why? Because Freelancer.com purchased vWorker. So it seems that freelance sites are buying each other.

    What does all this mean?

    Normally as markets grow, you see more competitors – for a while. Then, as the market matures, companies get acquired or go out of business. This pressure can also cause prices to drop.

    ODesk may have been the darling of WallStreet with its high growth, but it has problems. ODesk is so nasty; with high fees, low paying clients and few guarantees, I can see why freelancers are fleeing. Other websites are saying that the job growth in freelancing is 10:1 vs real jobs. But the online freelance market may be over saturated. And we’re just seeing the signs of this now.

    Here are my predictions.
    As markets stop growing, that is, with more contractors than jobs, fees will be under pressure. Sites will no longer see a growth in contractor fees and work volume. That is, volume of jobs may grow, but with too many contractors, fee will drop. SO the heady (two pronged) growth that these sites have enjoyed will cease.

    If the site is not profitable now, investors will not hold out hope for the growth of the market. The number of freelance sites will start to shrink. Eventually there will be only two. While ODesk is profitable, I have not found too many contractors that like it. I have no idea who will win.

    For we freelancers, there may be some bright spots. I read about one job advertised on Elance. Then I read that SAME job on three other freelance sites. As a freelancer, I may hop from site to site looking for a good gig. But a company posting the same job to multiple sites means that both a freelancer and a site win the business – and the rest lose. With less sites, us freelances have to do less work to find a gig. Less hopping around because the posting companies will have less options.

    As markets mature, there may be some specialization. While most sites do all, there may be sites that specialize in, say writers, programmers or graphic design. Right now I find the filters at most sites lacking. I can’t seek design work that pays either my per-houly OR my minimum funded amount. As the market mature, sites will need to implement features that help freelancers spend less time finding and bidding on work.

    One thing that I would like to see is more pay-to-play. Sites that have a small fee often have less bidding on a job. As an American, $5 per bid is a small fee, but for people from other places, that could amount to $50 (in their world). That fee could help me get more jobs at a price I am willing to pay.

    While I don’t know what will happen, I figured you all would want to know as soon as I did. So my conclusions may be half-baked.

    It looks like things are changing in the online-freelance world!

    Eric

  39. It’s interesting to hear comments and it’s all great feedback. I’ve utilized elance and odesk to meet and hire for projects ranging from graphic design to web development. I actually built http://www.pbnconnect.com to establish some type of common ground between business and service provider. Would love your feedback!

  40. oh yeah Elance! What a joke! So far the only good thing about that site is being able to easily update and share portfolio. Othewise, your keeping with half of India there and if your happy to work for $5 an hour ( who can afford to) then im sure you will have loads of luck. I myself will not give my services away for free and value my know-how. So yeah I do not recommend this service myself.

  41. Hi Photographess,

    I really enjoyed reading your article and the subsequent comments. I joined Elance in March 2010 and as someone whose flag might give the impression I am from one of those “third world countries” you speak of, I am an American writer (you know, raised in the US and English is my first of three languages). I had a very tough time winning jobs in the beginning as I asked people to look beyond my flag and actually take the time to read my proposals and writing samples. My flag put stumbling blocks in my way as I was up against some heavy hitters from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia who were already well established. But I persevered. If I wanted to eat, I had better get passed that whole issue, I told myself.

    When I started winning jobs, I gave clients my all. I had a lot to prove, after all living in a “third world country.”

    I got busy, and I mean really busy. Eventually I couldn’t handle the work coming in. I hired a writer, and then two and three and then five to help keep up with the volume of work coming in. A funny thing happened. Where once I was worried that I could’t make a living on Elance, I was now not only feeding myself but helping others make a living on Elance. Yes, all of the contractors I hire are from Elance. In fact, I wouldn’t go anywhere else to hire writers. I have been to oDesk, Scriptlance, and all the other bidding sites. The quality of jobs wasn’t what I was looking for as a writer and I didn’t find the caliber of writers I needed to help round out my team.

    It never occurred to me that I couldn’t make a success of myself. I followed all the rules on Elance, including reading their terms of service and digesting it. I took all the tests that proved to clients that when I said I was an expert in something that my test scores backed up my claims. When I claimed that I worked someplace, I paid for a verified credential. I created a profile that spoke to clients even when I wasn’t there to bid on a job. It communicated to them what they needed to know to invite me to bid on jobs.

    Today I am ranked pretty high in the writing and translation category. I got that way by doing three things:

    – Submitting professional proposals
    – Delivering what I promised I would deliver
    – Delivering when I promised I would deliver it

    I see new comers come in and bust their butts and make it on Elance. I also hear of many who can’t seem to get anywhere on Elance. It’s pretty clear you have a bias toward those outside of the US and that’s sad. Talent comes from every corner of the globe and while you’re bellyaching that those outside the US, you know in those “third world countries,” are under cutting you, one thing I see clearly is that along with many, many successful US/UK/Canadian/Australian contractors, many in those so-called “third world countries,” me, included, are busting our butts and making a living. It’s kind of funny, I have never seen you bid against me on a job and when I have posted jobs looking for writers and administrative assistants, you never bid. You know that expression, “you gotta be in it to win it?” Well you also gotta bid to win!

    I suspect if you put one tenth of the energy you have expressed in bashing Elance and those of us living in “third world countries” who are apparently preventing you from making a living, you too could eek out a lot more than $10 an hour. However, I suspect it’s far easier for you to bellyache and point fingers at everyone but you.

    You have inspired me to write a blog post about this. I am not sure what I will call it but surely I will talk about ways to make a living as a freelancer, and your way is not the way I would advocate.

    Sarah

    http://coquiprose.com

    • You’ve clearly missed the entire point of the article. The writer wasn’t ‘bashing’ third world countries, she was highlighting the fact that the rates presented by those in third world countries were ludicrous compared to the rates Western writers needed in order to make a living. In other words, if someone from the Philippines is charging $2 for a 500 word article compared to someone from the UK charging £20 for 500 words, there’s no prizes for guessing who would win because the companies would prefer the cheapest option, providing the article writer can string a sentence together. From what I have gathered, there are a number of hard-working, dedicated writers from the US, UK, Canada etc who are finding it impossible to land a job because the competition charges too low – average for them, yet impossible to compete with. I couldn’t sense any malice in the article towards third world countries – not sure where you got that from. For someone in a Western country to see a writer from the east charging $0.7 for a 400 word article, this is downright appalling for us, simply because our standard of living cannot justify such poor pay, thus making the job void for us. In other words, we don’t even stand a fighting chance and this limits our prospective jobs. No one’s feeling resentment towards anybody, these are just the facts of the matter. And regardless of what you say, hard work is only 50% of writing. 40% is luck and the rest is talent.

  42. Oh I wish you would have said more than just, “thanks for your comment.” I am surprised you don’t have more to say on the topic, given how outspoken you were in your blog. Would you like to post a guest blog on my website? I will pay you – through Elance no less, post it in your own name and be happy to link back to your blog.

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog. I regret that you feel I bashed you. It wasn’t my intention, despite being insulted by you referring to countries far away as third world. I though I was being fair to offer both sides.

    Why not post a blog that is a rebuttal?

    Thanks!
    Sarah

    • No thanks, I posted the blog about eLance so long ago that the topic isn’t relevant to me any longer. As for guest blogging, I regretfully decline that as well. Again, I do not wish to write about something that is no longer relevant to me. But thank you for the offer.

  43. Elance used allowed Jasmine Sandler o Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc. to stiff me out of 22.5 hours by using a’Workview Guarantee’ loophole even though the guarantee was voided when the 2 invoices Jasmie Sandler owed went past due.

    I have now escalated this issue to the New York Dept. of Labor because this should not be allowed. See my Elance dispute ad supporting emails below.
    Jasmine Sandler did not pay me as as agreed via Elance. We discussed all of this during our last phone call , and she said she would pay me – she even asked me to finish the work week, but I didn’t want to because I hadn’t been paid. This should not have gone this far, and I would appreciate being paid as agreed. After waiting another week without being paid I, and sending email reminders and leaving voicemails about the (2) outstanding invoices Jasmine said she would pay and after the 5th empty promise to pay, I filed a dispute via Elance.

    Then after I filed the dispute she makes up the excuse of I didn’t do my job and thats why she didn’t pay. If had not done my job she wouldn’t have paid me the 12/9 invoice last week. It makes no sense to pay the 12/9 invoice but not the 12/2 or 12/16 when I supposedly had not done my job. This is the first time she said I didn’t do what she hired me to do (I have all of the emails and completed tasked assigned to me). I did everything she asked me to do on a daily basis. In only a few short weeks I did a lot help organize her business – in addition to the numerous additional tasks she gave me. Expecting 20-30 hours worth of work from someone but only authorizing 10-15/wk to do it is unreasonable. Jasmine Sandler constantly changed my responsibilities and lowered my hours, and I feel like she is looking for an excuse not to pay me because she is having financial difficulties. I have all of the emails showing my ever-changing responsibilities and her promise to pay while requesting more time to pay. Now that I’ve filed a dispute with Elance all of a sudden I didn’t do what she asked me to do.

    Jasmine said she would pay me last week and has not done so even when I continued working for her when she had not paid me. It is very unprofessional to hire someone and not have the money to pay them.

    List of completed organizing tasks (done with only 10-15 authorized hours/wk)
    1. Calendar scheduling/color-coding (handled all client meetings & calls) – this required approx 8hrs/wk even though my Elance authorized hours had been lowered several times)
    2. Setup of personal email to reduce emails in business inbox (easier to sort)
    3. Began filing/sorting over 55,000 emails in her inbox
    4. Created templates for client setup
    5. Started learning WordPress for social media/blogs (was not in original assigned duties, but I said I would do it to help)
    6. Added over a dozen services to LinkedIn profile
    7. Inverviewed interns to help with social media
    8. Communicated with CPA to get financial setup so reports could be run to help increase sales (Jasmine cancelled this meeting/call 3 times)
    9. Agreed to do busgets/bookkeeping (was not include unoriginal requested responsibilities). It took almost 3 weeks to get requested information to setup Quickbooks
    10. Prepped for 12/7 quarterly event
    11. Began conference call talks to integrate Salecforce to start running reports.
    12. Creating and maintaining business contact list.
    13. Manymoons project maintenance.

    I don’t want Jasmine Sandler disparage my good name because she can’t afford to pay me. I have worked hard through throughout my career and take pride in my work ethic and keeping my word to do what I say I will do. She agreed to pay me and now I feel she is trying to make excuses because of her financial difficulties. This is no way to run a business. She knew when she hired me that she didn’t have the money to pay me for the duration of the job – she should not have posted this job on Elance.

    Below is an email chain as proof Jasmine said she would pay me, her financial problems, and the lowering of my hours for the 3rd time in 3 weeks – it also shows she wanted me to finish the week ending 12/16 even though she hadn’t paid me in almost 3 weeks. There is absolutely no mention of me supposedly not dioing what she hired me to do like she is claiming now that I filed a dispute via Elance.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Jasmine Sandler
    Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2012 11:54:52 -0500
    Subject: Re: Payment
    To: monika@agent-cy.com

    I think I will have you just finish out what needs to be finished this week
    or just pay you the 6.9 hours and put everything on pause. We will discuss
    at 2pm and see what is urgent. Money is tight and I cannot have the stress.
    I will pay you what’s due now.

    On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 2:38 AM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    Time starts over on Mondays so I have updated the Elance terms, and the new 5.5 hrs/wk will take effect starting Monday. I am currently at 6.9 hours this week so how do you want me to handle the rest of the week?

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM, Jasmine Sandler wrote:

    I should have what I owe you by Friday as I am told by my bank. I will
    make payment then. I need you to change the hours in Elance for now per my
    last e-mail as Elance is time sensitive to hour changes. Thank you.


    Best Regards,
    Jasmine

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Jasmine Sandler
    Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 15:06:53 -0500
    Subject: Re: Payments
    To: monika@agent-cy.com

    Thanks. I havent had one second. Trying to get us paid on rojects/close deals. Give me 5 min

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 3:05 PM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    No worries – thanks for the update. Are you posting the blog or do I need
    to do it?

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM, Jasmine Sandler wrote:

    I review. Thanks. Yes I am pushing for payment. I haven’t paid myself
    since you and I started. As I said in the beginning I am working hard to
    rebuild here so I appreciate your patience.

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 2:03 PM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    Ok, I understand but I can’t wait longer than 5 business days –
    hopefully it will be this week.

    Also, I saved a blog draft that is ready for you to review (“The latest
    Panda Update #22, affected 0.8% of the English Queries: Google says”).
    Thanks

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM, Jasmine Sandler <jsandler@agent-cy.com
    wrote:

    I just received credit card info from Intercall and am processing part
    of the total which will take 5 business days. I am flat until then. I will
    pay you all due once that is processed. If I can push the time forward I
    will let you know.


    Best Regards,
    Jasmine

    Please note new office number as of October 18,2012: 212-520-6607
    Visit the following sites for more information:

    http://www.agent-cy.com

    http://www.jasminesandler.com

    Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc.
    1515 Broadway, 11th floor
    NY, NY 10036

  44. Reblogged this on stiffedbyjs's Blog and commented:
    Elance used allowed Jasmine Sandler o Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc. to stiff me out of 22.5 hours by using a’Workview Guarantee’ loophole even though the guarantee was voided when the 2 invoices Jasmie Sandler owed went past due.

    I have now escalated this issue to the New York Dept. of Labor because this should not be allowed. See my Elance dispute ad supporting emails below.
    Jasmine Sandler did not pay me as as agreed via Elance. We discussed all of this during our last phone call , and she said she would pay me – she even asked me to finish the work week, but I didn’t want to because I hadn’t been paid. This should not have gone this far, and I would appreciate being paid as agreed. After waiting another week without being paid I, and sending email reminders and leaving voicemails about the (2) outstanding invoices Jasmine said she would pay and after the 5th empty promise to pay, I filed a dispute via Elance.

    Then after I filed the dispute she makes up the excuse of I didn’t do my job and thats why she didn’t pay. If had not done my job she wouldn’t have paid me the 12/9 invoice last week. It makes no sense to pay the 12/9 invoice but not the 12/2 or 12/16 when I supposedly had not done my job. This is the first time she said I didn’t do what she hired me to do (I have all of the emails and completed tasked assigned to me). I did everything she asked me to do on a daily basis. In only a few short weeks I did a lot help organize her business – in addition to the numerous additional tasks she gave me. Expecting 20-30 hours worth of work from someone but only authorizing 10-15/wk to do it is unreasonable. Jasmine Sandler constantly changed my responsibilities and lowered my hours, and I feel like she is looking for an excuse not to pay me because she is having financial difficulties. I have all of the emails showing my ever-changing responsibilities and her promise to pay while requesting more time to pay. Now that I’ve filed a dispute with Elance all of a sudden I didn’t do what she asked me to do.

    Jasmine said she would pay me last week and has not done so even when I continued working for her when she had not paid me. It is very unprofessional to hire someone and not have the money to pay them.

    List of completed organizing tasks (done with only 10-15 authorized hours/wk)
    1. Calendar scheduling/color-coding (handled all client meetings & calls) – this required approx 8hrs/wk even though my Elance authorized hours had been lowered several times)
    2. Setup of personal email to reduce emails in business inbox (easier to sort)
    3. Began filing/sorting over 55,000 emails in her inbox
    4. Created templates for client setup
    5. Started learning WordPress for social media/blogs (was not in original assigned duties, but I said I would do it to help)
    6. Added over a dozen services to LinkedIn profile
    7. Inverviewed interns to help with social media
    8. Communicated with CPA to get financial setup so reports could be run to help increase sales (Jasmine cancelled this meeting/call 3 times)
    9. Agreed to do busgets/bookkeeping (was not include unoriginal requested responsibilities). It took almost 3 weeks to get requested information to setup Quickbooks
    10. Prepped for 12/7 quarterly event
    11. Began conference call talks to integrate Salecforce to start running reports.
    12. Creating and maintaining business contact list.
    13. Manymoons project maintenance.

    I don’t want Jasmine Sandler disparage my good name because she can’t afford to pay me. I have worked hard through throughout my career and take pride in my work ethic and keeping my word to do what I say I will do. She agreed to pay me and now I feel she is trying to make excuses because of her financial difficulties. This is no way to run a business. She knew when she hired me that she didn’t have the money to pay me for the duration of the job – she should not have posted this job on Elance.

    Below is an email chain as proof Jasmine said she would pay me, her financial problems, and the lowering of my hours for the 3rd time in 3 weeks – it also shows she wanted me to finish the week ending 12/16 even though she hadn’t paid me in almost 3 weeks. There is absolutely no mention of me supposedly not dioing what she hired me to do like she is claiming now that I filed a dispute via Elance.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Jasmine Sandler
    Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2012 11:54:52 -0500
    Subject: Re: Payment
    To: monika@agent-cy.com

    I think I will have you just finish out what needs to be finished this week
    or just pay you the 6.9 hours and put everything on pause. We will discuss
    at 2pm and see what is urgent. Money is tight and I cannot have the stress.
    I will pay you what’s due now.

    On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 2:38 AM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    Time starts over on Mondays so I have updated the Elance terms, and the new 5.5 hrs/wk will take effect starting Monday. I am currently at 6.9 hours this week so how do you want me to handle the rest of the week?

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM, Jasmine Sandler wrote:

    I should have what I owe you by Friday as I am told by my bank. I will
    make payment then. I need you to change the hours in Elance for now per my
    last e-mail as Elance is time sensitive to hour changes. Thank you.


    Best Regards,
    Jasmine

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Jasmine Sandler
    Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 15:06:53 -0500
    Subject: Re: Payments
    To: monika@agent-cy.com

    Thanks. I havent had one second. Trying to get us paid on rojects/close deals. Give me 5 min

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 3:05 PM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    No worries – thanks for the update. Are you posting the blog or do I need
    to do it?

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM, Jasmine Sandler wrote:

    I review. Thanks. Yes I am pushing for payment. I haven’t paid myself
    since you and I started. As I said in the beginning I am working hard to
    rebuild here so I appreciate your patience.

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 2:03 PM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    Ok, I understand but I can’t wait longer than 5 business days –
    hopefully it will be this week.

    Also, I saved a blog draft that is ready for you to review (“The latest
    Panda Update #22, affected 0.8% of the English Queries: Google says”).
    Thanks

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM, Jasmine Sandler <jsandler@agent-cy.com
    wrote:

    I just received credit card info from Intercall and am processing part
    of the total which will take 5 business days. I am flat until then. I will
    pay you all due once that is processed. If I can push the time forward I
    will let you know.


    Best Regards,
    Jasmine

    Please note new office number as of October 18,2012: 212-520-6607
    Visit the following sites for more information:

    http://www.agent-cy.com

    http://www.jasminesandler.com

    Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc.
    1515 Broadway, 11th floor
    NY, NY 10036

  45. Elance used allowed Jasmine Sandler to Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc. to stiff me out of 22.5 hours by using a’Workview Guarantee’ loophole even though the guarantee was voided when the 2 invoices Jasmie Sandler owed went past due.

    I have now escalated this issue to the New York Dept. of Labor because this should not be allowed. See my Elance dispute ad supporting emails below.

    Jasmine Sandler did not pay me as as agreed via Elance. We discussed all of this during our last phone call , and she said she would pay me – she even asked me to finish the work week, but I didn’t want to because I hadn’t been paid.

    This should not have gone this far, and I would appreciate being paid as agreed. After waiting another week without being paid I, and sending email reminders and leaving voicemails about the (2) outstanding invoices Jasmine said she would pay and after the 5th empty promise to pay, I filed a dispute via Elance.

    Then after I filed the dispute she makes up the excuse of I didn’t do my job and thats why she didn’t pay. If had not done my job she wouldn’t have paid me the 12/9 invoice last week. It makes no sense to pay the 12/9 invoice but not the 12/2 or 12/16 when I supposedly had not done my job. This is the first time she said I didn’t do what she hired me to do (I have all of the emails and completed tasked assigned to me). I did everything she asked me to do on a daily basis. In only a few short weeks I did a lot help organize her business – in addition to the numerous additional tasks she gave me. Expecting 20-30 hours worth of work from someone but only authorizing 10-15/wk to do it is unreasonable. Jasmine Sandler constantly changed my responsibilities and lowered my hours, and I feel like she is looking for an excuse not to pay me because she is having financial difficulties. I have all of the emails showing my ever-changing responsibilities and her promise to pay while requesting more time to pay. Now that I’ve filed a dispute with Elance all of a sudden I didn’t do what she asked me to do.

    Jasmine said she would pay me last week and has not done so even when I continued working for her when she had not paid me. It is very unprofessional to hire someone and not have the money to pay them.

    List of completed organizing tasks (done with only 10-15 authorized hours/wk)
    1. Calendar scheduling/color-coding (handled all client meetings & calls) – this required approx 8hrs/wk even though my Elance authorized hours had been lowered several times)
    2. Setup of personal email to reduce emails in business inbox (easier to sort)
    3. Began filing/sorting over 55,000 emails in her inbox
    4. Created templates for client setup
    5. Started learning WordPress for social media/blogs (was not in original assigned duties, but I said I would do it to help)
    6. Added over a dozen services to LinkedIn profile
    7. Inverviewed interns to help with social media
    8. Communicated with CPA to get financial setup so reports could be run to help increase sales (Jasmine cancelled this meeting/call 3 times)
    9. Agreed to do busgets/bookkeeping (was not include unoriginal requested responsibilities). It took almost 3 weeks to get requested information to setup Quickbooks
    10. Prepped for 12/7 quarterly event
    11. Began conference call talks to integrate Salecforce to start running reports.
    12. Creating and maintaining business contact list.
    13. Manymoons project maintenance.

    I don’t want Jasmine Sandler disparage my good name because she can’t afford to pay me. I have worked hard through throughout my career and take pride in my work ethic and keeping my word to do what I say I will do. She agreed to pay me and now I feel she is trying to make excuses because of her financial difficulties. This is no way to run a business. She knew when she hired me that she didn’t have the money to pay me for the duration of the job – she should not have posted this job on Elance.

    Below is an email chain as proof Jasmine said she would pay me, her financial problems, and the lowering of my hours for the 3rd time in 3 weeks – it also shows she wanted me to finish the week ending 12/16 even though she hadn’t paid me in almost 3 weeks. There is absolutely no mention of me supposedly not dioing what she hired me to do like she is claiming now that I filed a dispute via Elance.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Jasmine Sandler
    Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2012 11:54:52 -0500
    Subject: Re: Payment
    To: monika@agent-cy.com

    I think I will have you just finish out what needs to be finished this week
    or just pay you the 6.9 hours and put everything on pause. We will discuss
    at 2pm and see what is urgent. Money is tight and I cannot have the stress.
    I will pay you what’s due now.

    On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 2:38 AM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    Time starts over on Mondays so I have updated the Elance terms, and the new 5.5 hrs/wk will take effect starting Monday. I am currently at 6.9 hours this week so how do you want me to handle the rest of the week?

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM, Jasmine Sandler wrote:

    I should have what I owe you by Friday as I am told by my bank. I will
    make payment then. I need you to change the hours in Elance for now per my
    last e-mail as Elance is time sensitive to hour changes. Thank you.


    Best Regards,
    Jasmine

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Jasmine Sandler
    Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 15:06:53 -0500
    Subject: Re: Payments
    To: monika@agent-cy.com

    Thanks. I havent had one second. Trying to get us paid on rojects/close deals. Give me 5 min

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 3:05 PM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    No worries – thanks for the update. Are you posting the blog or do I need
    to do it?

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM, Jasmine Sandler wrote:

    I review. Thanks. Yes I am pushing for payment. I haven’t paid myself
    since you and I started. As I said in the beginning I am working hard to
    rebuild here so I appreciate your patience.

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 2:03 PM, Monika Wood, MBA wrote:

    Ok, I understand but I can’t wait longer than 5 business days –
    hopefully it will be this week.

    Also, I saved a blog draft that is ready for you to review (“The latest
    Panda Update #22, affected 0.8% of the English Queries: Google says”).
    Thanks

    On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM, Jasmine Sandler <jsandler@agent-cy.com
    wrote:

    I just received credit card info from Intercall and am processing part
    of the total which will take 5 business days. I am flat until then. I will
    pay you all due once that is processed. If I can push the time forward I
    will let you know.


    Best Regards,
    Jasmine

    Please note new office number as of October 18,2012: 212-520-6607
    Visit the following sites for more information:

    http://www.agent-cy.com

    http://www.jasminesandler.com

    Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc.
    1515 Broadway, 11th floor
    NY, NY 10036

  46. Something that hasn’t been brought out thus far is that the ?? World countries have very different values when it comes to copyright and other legal issues regarding software piracy. In my business, we pay a lot of money to buy all the MicroSoft software and all of it is legitimate. In the ?? countries you can buy a totally illegitimate package for less than pennies on the dollar. For example, I would have to pay $3995 for a legitimate package of AutoCad or Revit. The same software can be purchased on the ?? countries for the equivalent of $20 – $25. I having to compete with this very unfair competition. If the same person in India, or other ?? country had to pay what I am having to pay – would their rate be the same as it is? I dare say it would take them twenty or thirty years to even buy the software in order to compete with me.

    Companies like MicroSoft and AutoDesk, while they are protected by international copyright laws in theory – there is a practical side that exists. They can’t litigate within international law when facing the amount of international software piracy that exists and they know that. So they charge us as U.S. citizens to cover the amount that they loose to ?? World software piracy. That is done because we can be sued and they cannot be sued easily. The same thing occurs in all facets of intellectual property law such as patents and trademarks. While we have been an innovative nation for many years and have pioneered many areas of technology, the ?? countries have used that to take advantage of us. You can call it whatever you want to… I have my own opinion about that term. When all is appropriately evaluated – it is simply an unfair competition regardless of the value of the dollar. It seems to me that it has to do with ethical values more than it does dollar values. Granted dollar values do come into play but that can and probably will change over time. The people in the ?? countries simply don’t see anything wrong with taking software that they haven’t paid for – it’s a cultural difference that is not legally enforceable with any reasonable equity.

    • @dmugg51 I’ll have to disagree because you are generalizing too much. I know copyright laws are more stringent in the US, but that doesn’t mean piracy doesn’t exist there. The flip side is that there are those of us in ?? countries who don’t want to buy pirated software. I for one use a Linux operating system and LibreOffice for all my writing work. I can’t afford the cost of MS office, but I don’t break any laws writing. You have the option as well. I realize you have a very valid point when it comes to specialized software like Autocad. I just don’t agree when you say that “everyone” in other countries has no qualms using pirated software and that it is part of our “culture” to basically steal.

  47. I am a professional writer with over 2 decades experience in business, strategic communications, developing content for on-line and in-print publications, academic research, as well as telemarketing and sales copy.

    I have been independently working freelance on a P/T basis for years. I recently was invited by a co-worker to join E-lance to pick up extra work since times have been tough across the country.

    The review is pretty accurate about the quality and caliber of employers posting jobs. The people posting the jobs are obviously start ups and small businesses with little experience as the statement of work is often misspelled, or not clearly defined. I agree that many of the businesses turning to E-lance are underfunded small business professionals looking for top pros to give them their “golden egg” at minimal cost.

    One job was to write 50 abstracts of papers 200-350 words. They wanted turn around in 5 days and was only willing to pay $25 for the entire job. This included the time spent reading the paper and researching.

    One job posted was 52 minutes transcribing an academic conference of psychologists, the work would probably take about 2-3 hours and they wanted to pay $5 for the job.

    There are people who are doing well by establishing long lasting relationships with employers through e-lance and this would be the strategy to grow a freelance business. You have to be very clear in the contract statement of work and terms of payment. The Small Business Admin used to have free classes to help protect your interests with contractual agreements. I would recommend protecting yourself as there appears to be many loopholes within E-lance where an employer can skip out on the bill. Since E-lance guarantees payment, any lawsuit for non-payment would need to go through them and you will need documentation to prove the case.

    Contractor verification needs work. I scheduled a time/date for contractor verification which is conducted by a third party via Skype. I re-scheduled appointments to be available for the verification process and the call never came. When I contacted E-lance, they claimed to have no control over the third party verification system and sent me jumping through hoops to contact them directly. Ultimately, E-lance failed to send the appointment time to the verification company. What I experienced was a bunch of people that do not respect your time and this left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Although I am less enamoured with E-lance, I re-scheduled the verification interview (slated for tomorrow) and if they blow it off, I am done with E-lance because I do not have time to waste with them.

    I also find that E-lances priority is not only to make money on the contract bids you win, but they encourage you to join groups. For example, I am a certified Project Management Professional and uploaded my certification in my profile. I was rejected from the Project Management Group because I did not pay an additional fee to have the certification verified. E-lance asked for $25 to verify my certification was accurate. This is the type of certification that is very hard to fabricate or falsify as any perspective employer or individual suspecting the certification was fraudulent could call a toll free number with the PMI certification board verify legitimacy, and see if there were any complaints lodged against that project manager at no cost.

    The will conduct employment background checks verifying that you worked for the company between the dates reported. This fee ranges from $15-25. You are prohibited from accessing some positions unless you pay the toll.

    As a rule, I will try out services such as e-lance for a 30 day period and see how much money it generates. If it makes sense to upgrade or pay for additional services based on the free trial, I will move forward cautiously.

    So far, the quality of jobs and the lack of professionalism from E-lance themselves (based on the interaction with the verification process) does not warrant the costs associated with their premium services.

    If things change over the remaining two weeks I am in this trial phase, I will write an update.

  48. I’m a freelance translator and thank God in my case I don’t have to compete with people from India or Philippines! Sometimes when they invite me to submit a proposal and the conditions are ridicolous, I just decline. When you’re a translator sometimes it’s only a matter of how your proposal is “convincing”.

  49. Thanks for your insight! If people can get past their sensitivities you made realisitic points about the site that helps someone like me think twice before signing up or at least continue doing research.

    By the way, this is a great post and obviously still relevant if people are commenting two years later. You did good even though a few readers missed the point :)

  50. Elance is a company who tries to control freelancers all over the world; they do not have live phone support for most issues. We had a project which we have completed and Elance put a hold on to our account to withdraw money until we completed another project while we are on holidays. Aren’t this Elance’s hands on our business? How come they ask us to employ people while we are on holidays, and holding the money for a completed project?
    Elance is a place where you can go to kill your whole reputation within hours. They have policies only to protect their commission but not the interest of the Freelancers. They do not think that their survival is completely dependent on freelancers work. If there are no freelancers, they won’t be there to control our businesses.
    On the other hand there are so many buyers who do not pay and vanish. E lance do not have a control over them to settle our money. We have lost more than $30000 worth of work which has never been paid by the buyer.
    This is a disaster for any Freelancing business.

    • I abandoned eLance for this very reason. There are freelance sites that do business only with the U.S. I signed up with those. This is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the implementation of global economy, it has caused the financial collapse in many countries. At some point high economy’s will come down and low economy’s will come up, then they will be a level playing field. But who knows how long this will take. WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN,

  51. I do iPhone developement on Elance. I get a few grands from Elance however I have to say, it is not feasible as a source of living if you are a decent professional (unless you live in a third-world country) and although Elance gives you some returns, it is simply not worth the effort you put in.

    So far all my jobs on Elance came from clients who find me and invite me EXCLUSIVELY (which means they don’t want anybody else to bid on the project, they appoint me specifically). They do that because they are fed up with the super-low quality contractors from third worlds (well, you get what you pay for) and are willing to spend more to get some quality jobs done. This means two things:

    1. It is a very low chance for you to win the bid in an open project ad. (I never won)
    2. The market is filled with low-quality low-price contractors from third world countries.

  52. These comments are very interesting, as I’m in Canada. I’m the poster girl for how one’s life can change in the blink of an eye -over 50, on my own, unemployed and unable to drive. What happened to me can happen to anyone and I count my blessings constantly, but, 12 hours a day competing for jobs I used to do, then minimum wage then part-time minimum wage and 400+ resumes later,, now it’s two bucks an hour. I know two bucks is better than no bucks, but God help me, I don’t recognize the country I ‘used’ to live in!

  53. This was a meaningful thread, although sometimes it is difficult to get past the incorrect English usage from a thread of purportedly skilled American writers. Someone says “You did good” ? Not, you did well? Even the author uses the word ‘outsourcing’ as though it meant sending the job overseas whereas in reality it means sending the work outside the domain of the company. Elance is an outsourcing conduit whether it goes to an American worker living in the US or outside the US. It leads to difficult communication when we use words incorrectly, what’s extra troubling that no one has picked up on these errors in this thread of messages. Are errors such as these now to be accepted in the English language? Has colloquialism taken over?. Surely if we are to excel as outsourced American workers it should because of quality work and that we can do the work better, not because we closed the doors of opportunities to workers of developing economies. Afterall they buy American products with those dollars they earn on Elance.

    -RKO

    “Live from Cape Canaveral”

    • Thank you for the grammar lesson, however, this post isn’t about proper grammar. You should try using paragraphs so us less skilled in grammar can read your writing. :)

      “Surely if we are to excel as outsourced American workers it should because of quality work and that we can do the work better,”

      You forgot a word in that sentence.

      Maybe I should change the title to this post to “My Elance review with proper grammar.”

      I won’t though because apparently you were able to understand the original concept of this post.

      And that was my purpose of said post.

      Have a nice day.

  54. Wow.

    There is plenty of money to be made on elance and sites like it, but most people who sign up think that its an easy way to work at home. It can be, but you have to have something to offer, which after reading this post and briefly looking over your blog, I’m guessing you don’t.

    Everyone wants to work at home. It’s a great life; after all who doesn’t want to wake up in the morning whenever they want and work in their pajamas? Problem is that there are a lot more people who want that kind of life than clients who support it. If you want to work from home, on elance or whatever, the first thing you need is a marketable skill. Writing, web design, art work; these are all things that companies need to hire for remotely and they’ll pay good money to those that can do it. Unfortunately, the Internet has made it easy for people who don’t have these skills to try and make a go at it. Most fail.

    There are plenty of highly paid, very talented freelancers on elance, but they didn’t just decide to become writers or designers because of elance. Elance is the tool to connect with clients. If you can use it that way, you will succeed. If you’re trying to avoid going out and working as a cashier, you’ll be very disappointed.

    As far as your “third world countries” remark and your follow up defenses on such a remark: this is yet another reason you won’t succeed there. Professionals don’t make excuses as to why they aren’t getting hired. Professionals go out and find those that will pay them what they are worth. If you have something to offer the right client, they will pay you what you ask. The right clients don’t hire based on price alone, but you have to search to find them. Yes, they are there.

    Bottom line: You don’t go to elance to become a writer (or graphic designer, or admin assistant or whatever). You become a writer and then go to elance to find a client who needs your services.

    • I didn’t just go there hoping to become a writer. I’ve worked very hard over the past 15 years in writing. Anyway…There are plenty of qualified people in the comment section aside from me who are over qualified but are still having problems. It isn’t just me. Thanks for your comment.

    • Michelle, there may be some very talented people making money on Elance but they’re not in any way a majority, or even a noteworthy minority. The whole approach of the site appeals to talented noobies who have little to no experience with the business side of their profession and reverse the whole established contractor/client relationship in favor of the client. A long time ago, after spending about 30 hours drafting proposals on elance I landed a job for some posters. According to the client’s description it was supposed to be for 3 posters. Completing 3 the guy revealed that what he “really meant” was 3 designs, and an essentially unlimited amount of revisions on each poster to fit it into different sizes and orientations, all of it work-for-hire (where you don’t get to keep the rights to your own work) and amounting to about $5/hour. Now after going to a good school and working with real clients, I know better.

      Frankly Elance is an abhorrent, predatory site that pits already struggling creative people against eachother to compete for pennies, then quietly deducts their cut. If plumbers had to outbid thousands of their peers for every little job there wouldn’t be a leaky faucet left on the planet.

      This is my advice to anyone interested in Elance,: go buy a copy of the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook and READ IT COVER TO COVER. Even writers and programmers should be able to get some useful info out of it. Once you understand the business end of your field you’ll realize that not only is Elance unnecessary, but that taking a cut for making you waste tons of time writing proposals, compete directly with thousands of and work for bottom dollar is total bullsh**t.

  55. Dear All,
    I am a student making mine project from the course related to ICT consultancy.
    Mine task now is to:
    –find out what are the leading software development platforms for implementing mobile phone based services
    –estimate the costs of implementing a relatively complex mobile phone based service

    I would like to ask people like you, to help me with collecting some information for it.

    Could you please send me a message containing proposed platforms for implementing mobile phone based services and estimated cost for such service ?
    Maybe you can tell price for an hour in such project or general price for whole project.
    If you decide to give a job like this where would you post your offer ?
    Where should I look for the best programers and where for the cheapest developer ?

    All information will be collected together and presented during class talk. Names and other information will be not shown, therefore all of you will stay anonymous. Collected data will be not transferred or send for some public services.

    More information about implemented system :
    The system has a relatively complex graphical user interface, including business reports that contain various types of graphs (pie charts, line charts etc).

    The system needs to have the following capabilities:
    – Login view
    – View for listing documents (the documents are fetched from a server)
    – View for opening documents (fetched from a server) from the list
    – View for showing graphical reports that contain some business graphs,
    such as pie charts and line charts (all the necessary information is
    generated on a server, the mobile application has to only be able to
    show the reports, not generate them)

    Thank you very much for your help !
    Best Regards !
    Piotr Nord

  56. I agree that Elance is a waste of time, but disagree with your comment that “I wish eLance would divide their website up to restrict countries working for other countries”. It sounds as if you believe that Americans have some God-given right to always be richer than everybody else.

    What’s wrong with Elance is that it sets up false expectations. Finding good contracts is tough, always has been, always will be. It’s a vital part of being independent. You can’t just hand that part of the job over to a website and expect to get it magically done for free. The companies offering jobs on Elance are looking for CHEAP. It’s better to get out there and look for good clients, who appreciate well-done work and are willing to pay for it.

  57. This post expresses my feelings fairly well. If we take a vote it seems that the majority are NOT having success on elance (including me). Those that are having success appear yo have been strategic and worked really hard (which I plan to do). I have only been trying elance for a few weeks (daily) and every bid that’s been declined has been because it’s too high. I am cutting my usual fees in half for elance bids and still being told they’re too high. It’s VERY FRUSTRATING! I would LOVE to see a site like elance that is for US contractors only.

  58. I thought I would add my piece here.

    Elance has been great for us – we are a web design / programming firm. Now before you dismiss my statement because we do completely different work, please understand that there are likely just as many contractors in our field as there are in yours that will work for dimes.

    As a new Elance contractor, you are recommended to work for much lower fees than you normally would until you build your reputation – the problem is that most of those people don’t stick around long enough to charge more. On top of that, there will always be an influx of “new contractors,” so lowball bids will always be present.

    I decided to stop caring about what other people charge and start charging the rates that we need – to my surprise, we still get business! We’ve been doing quite well and have found more than one long-term client.

    My suggestion to people who find this blog review – do your homework on elance. Write good proposals, set up a very nice profile, have an excellent portfolio, bid on jobs that are within your scope, and charge the amount that you need to charge.

    Good luck!

  59. I recommend Elance to my writer friends, but with this caveat: resist the temptation to take a lowball job just to “build your portfolio.” If you want to land quality clients, you can’t have a portfolio full of cheapskate work. I was the highest bidder on the first job I won, and the bids I have won since then have been higher than the the average, if not the highest. There is work for skilled writers, but you have to find clients who understand what a professional writer’s time is worth. When I lose a bid to someone who charges half of what I do, I heave a sigh of relief because I know that client would have been a pain in the butt to work for. I’m not under the illusion that I can always do this full-time, but as I win more quality bids, I’m pretty sure I can have consistent part-time work. This week I reeled in $850 worth of jobs. When I finish I will have earned well above my posted rate of $25 per hour. I won’t even turn on my computer for less than that.

  60. I’ve been actively working on various Freelance sites for more than 2 years, and recently started working on Elance as well. 3rd job and boom. What happened is that I closed the deal for project which value was 1150$, completed it after few days, sent binaries to my client. Client was satisfied and released 650$ milestone, and I was waiting for more than 3 months for 500$ one. Needless to say, I never got 500$ milestone to my account. After several attemtps to contact my client, he got banned from Elance due to suspicious activities. I marked project as completed, and told to myself “what the hell, I got 650$/1150$, he got banned, life goes on”.

    Now, what happened 2 MONTHS after project was marked as completed is that client issued chargeback statement over his bank, and money got instantly deducted from my account by Elance, without any questions asked or rights to speak for myself. Not that only got scammed by client, but Elance provided ZERO protection to me and deducted 650$ from my balance, effectively locking up my account for any further withdrawals, because I had a bit less than 650$ on account at that moment.

    So, yeah, those things can happen, which I never thought are possible. 2 months after project completion and getting money on my account, they just locked it up and returned back to client without any questions asked to me. Fully functional project, including sources, full conversation in Elance message board between me and client from which is perfectly clear that he is satisfied with project and is avoiding to pay, and his account terminatin by Elance are obviously not three enough good reasons for Elance to fill proper rebuttal to the bank.

    I tried to contact their support, explaining the situation, and I got generic copy/paste message for every message that I’ve sent them.

    So TLDR: BEWARE OF ELANCE SCAMMERS. THERE ARE PLENTY OTHER SITES AROUND THAT OFFER PROPER TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND PROTECTION TO THEIR FREELANCERS.

  61. I’d like to point out that we should take currency exchange rates into account when considering low-paying bids. For example, as of this comment, 1 USD = 54 Indian Rupees. This is to say that from the perspective of our foreign competitors, they are not “working for peanuts.”

    We can thank the monetary policy of the central banks of the world for such a disparity in exchange rates.

  62. A 3rd world country is just what Americans call other countries that are very far away??? Seriously?? I’m sorry, but that is what YOU call countries that are very far away. So, is Australia a 3rd world country? Don’t embarrass yourself in public places like your blog when you are trying to make a living as a freelancer in a popular platform like Elance. :)

    • Blah blah blah…its my blog and ill cry if I want to. And yes. It is a 3rd world country to me. Everyone has an opinion and their own slang and frankly your comment was silly (to me anyway). Thanks for your opinion :)

      • Hi! I am from Philippines and sorry to hear your side. Honestly, I did not realize we are competing with you guys. You have point out your side and there is nothing wrong with the term you use”third world country’. :)

  63. No… I am having the exact same problem! I can’t even get people to pay me minimum wage on there! I couldn’t figure out what the heck. I make between $25 and $30 an hour for what I do… so I don’t fee like minimum wage is a whole lot to ask. I even told a guy that the data entry average salary is $9-$15 per hour in America…. So… Now, I understand…

  64. Let me just also say that we shouldn’t have to take foreign currency exchange rates into consideration when placing bids. “employers” are going to make ads in US Currency then they need to have the balls to put in what their budget is in US Dollars because I am sorry but I can’t and won’t go through every country’s exchange rate to figure out a low ball bid on a job. The employers need to put on what they are willing to pay not, expect us to keep bidding and bidding and bidding…. only to be denied because we have no clue what there budget is. It is ludicrous to expect workers of any country to have to guess a bid by knowing all other countries currency exchange rates and having to try to guess to beat out all the other countries of the world. Ludicrous… So you know what, I won’t even look at jobs that don’t have a rate or wage input.

  65. Well I think the review has alot of flaws, and is discouraging for all the “wrong reasons”. I’m from Pakistan, and I work on Elance as a video developer.
    People usually sign-up on Elance, thinking of it as another way to so called “earn money online”, well that is not what Elance is! To be successful on Elance you got to have real talent in what you do, which separates you from the masses.
    There’s a huge percentage of clients who want quality ahead of the price and I’ve worked with company’s like Panasonic, J&J and worked at over 100$/hr at instances, while on average I’d work at $25/hr.
    It is true that getting a start on Elance or any other freelance platform is difficult when you don’t have experience to support you, but that is where the art of proposal writing comes in.
    All in all, as I said before, its not a cup of tea for everyone out there, but for people who have the skill, Elance is no less than a goldmine!

    Cheers,
    Osama

  66. Hello, Photographess. Great post. I just signed up for Elance, but after reading all this, I’m a bit discouraged, especially since I’m living in the US economy. We can’t compete with overseas workers willing to accept less per hour and still feed ourselves here in America.
    I’ll lurk a bit and see if anyone bites at my proposals for a decent fee.

  67. Elance.com is a complete and utter rip-off for people seeking work also. We paid hundreds to our chosen contractor, to build a website, just for them to disappear without supplying any of the basic work. Elance.com try to blame you as the one who chose their contractor and get all aggressive. They promise to sort out the issue, but actually just repeatedly get defensive. They need to do their due-diligence and at least try to ensure that fraudsters are not trading on their platform! Avoid Elance.com at all costs!!!

  68. Hi, I ended here because of course I’m new to elance and your post rates well on Google :) That said, you cannot compare the costs of living in the US with the costs of living in other countries, you have to compare a lot more factors. Of course I’m pissed off that jobs go to slaves to wish to work for nothing but the employer has a price-quality choice and that’s that. Elance is a harsh version of globalization, I’m not sure it’s quality they’re after on Elance though…

  69. Hi, I have been an Elance Newbie for 1 month. Thanks for everyone’s reviews. I will stay alert in the future.
    Now I just want to voice my experience. As a student, I find any awarded job precious but there is a limit to my 3rd world country wage. My experience for the past month has been strange. I got awarded 2 jobs of writing 10-15 page research reports from experienced clients. The price I quoted for each of them was about 180$. I accepted the terms of work already and a few hours later, elance intervened and delisted the projects with the reason works didn’t fit the dignity of an academic environment. You can imagine how the happiness I felt when getting a job at which I had potential vanished. Overall, I don’t how I should feel about Elance anymore.

  70. Here’s the email I received from Elance concerning my issue with being charged for completing a job:

    Lena, Jun 02 12:39 pm (PDT):

    Hello smcd1998,

    Thank you for contacting Elance. Please note: All Freelancers are subject to the 8.75% Elance fee when ever they receive a payment from a Client. The 8.75% will only be deducted from the Freelancers side.

    If there is anything else we can assist you with please let us know.

    Best Regards,
    Lena
    Elance Billing and Payments

    http://help.elance.com

  71. I’ve been there for about two days and I am yet to experience what it is like to be contracted, but I can see where the writer is coming from. I have noticed there are some posters based in India who will say they’ll pay $0.7 for a 500 word article – what the hell!? I typically charge £20 per 500 words and that’s running cheap! Seriously, it’s nice to think that talent alone can win you jobs, but the competition in terms of price is outrageous. I’m a very experienced blogger and have worked for some of the most renowned companies worldwide; £20 is a very reasonable price for the word amount. Some other guy from Kenya was charging $3 per 600 words. I can’t compete with that! The writer mentioned that it’s hard to survive on a wage there based in the US because things are more expensive in the States; well, I’m based in the UK and it’s even more expensive over here! I find it very disheartening that writers who bid for WAY less than minimum wage over here are apparently winning jobs; the system is hardly fair. I understand it’s a good opportunity for writers in those countries who struggle to make a living and I appreciate they are doing what they can to make ends meet. But for the rest of us, it is unproductive. I’ll give it a shot for a while but if I’m met with dead roles that keep being awarded to what is practically slave labour, I’ll have to leave. If anyone can suggest any sites where the system works a lot better for western writers, it would be hugely appreciated.

  72. I have worked on eLance for a couple of years now. The first year was tough and had to get a real job. Now I am back and having to decline work I am getting so much new and repeat work and at my rates mainly for Americans but some UK and Swiss clients as well.

    What have I done to get this happen? First, I keep fresh samples of my work (or I should say screen shots). Next, I set realistic timelines for jobs and provide more than what is requested by my clients. Third, communications, usually daily, with the client even if it is just a message to provide a high level overview of what was accomplished even if nothing was. These two things seem to keep the client happy. Fourth, my eLance profile lets prospective clients know that I am an American and proud of it “Keep Americans Working” and stressing that English is my first language and I am only at most 2 time zones away. There are many folks that really do prefer to work with Americans even though their rates are a little higher, you just need to advertise the fact.

    I have also noticed that it is like jobs at brick and mortar companies, they do not want to hire you unless you are already employed some where else. — go figure.

  73. I know that you have responded to the 3rd world comment but I am can’t believe that you actually believe that 3rd world countries refers to far away countries. 3rd world country is a term used to refer to an impoverished country or a country that is not developed. It has nothing to do with the distance from America. You shouldn’t use terms that you don’t know the meaning of. And instead of defending your use of the terms when other pointed it out and apologizing for being insensitive, you continue to defend it and add that it is what American think. It is not what Americans think, it is not a slang term. And it does not mean what you keep trying to say it means. Don’t blame Americans or the younger for your ignorance. And own up to your misuse of the term.

  74. To all those offended by the “third world” comment, get over it. The Philippines and India are third world countries whether you want to accept that label or not. Those countries are by definition third world countries. Look it up on Wikipedia.

    That doesn’t mean America is better than you but our economy and government structures are more robust than those of the Philippines and India. If you weren’t living in a third world country, you wouldn’t be able to live on $2 per hour.

    Eventually, the scales will tip, however. Your economies will grow as ours starves because people keep outsourcing jobs to you. Eventually, you will require as much money to live as we do as your economies become first world economies.

    What’s insulting is the idea that we are lazy because we CAN’T live on $2 per hour and should get off our asses. I live in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. (and I can’t move so don’t ask me, “why don’t you just move?”) In order to live comfortably here, afford rent and groceries, $20 per hour working 40 hours per week is just about the minimum a single person could get by on.

    I have been on Elance for a couple of weeks and thoroughly disappointed in the process. The site is difficult to navigate and way too complicated. I’d rather compete for jobs on Craig’s List. And I see the partial profiles of all the “third world” bidders and 99% of the time, their English is terrible. I’m not sure how the hiring parties even communicate with them.

    No offense to the non-native speakers reading this. I know English isn’t your first language but most of the people hiring are English-speaking and even some of the comments of the foreign dissenters on this post are atrociously written. You know more English than I know the languages of your countries but a lot of Elance jobs require very specific communication and barely fluent is not good enough to communicate clearly.

    So, third-world posters, you are both lucky and unlucky. Lucky that you are making a fortune off of America, Britain, and Europe’s misfortune but unlucky that you have to live without the benefits of living in first world countries.

    Those of us living in first world countries are lucky and unlucky for opposite reasons.

    But we are all citizens of one world. We all struggle to survive and take care of the people close to us. We can’t help where we were born, where we grew up, or what language we learned first. It’s all just an accident of birth.

    Only fools would look down on others based on these attributes. However, we in the first world are struggling a great deal to sustain ourselves financially so it’s hard not to feel resentful there are no jobs for us because they are all being outsourced. It’s no one’s fault but I’m sure as fellow humans, you can imagine how it would feel to be highly-skilled and not be able to support yourself.

    I don’t think the author of this blog post intended any offense and was, in fact, correct in her assessment that she is being outbid by third-world entities.

    In the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

  75. Thank you for this blog. I don’t want to repeat what everyone else said, but I do want to express my appreciation for not having to waste my time and attention on what, if not a scam, amounts to one unless one is willing to pay higher up front costs and be fully committed time-wise. I am already doing this sort of thing at two or three other places online, with very low pay. The only advantage that these organizations offer seem to be a establishing a virtual profile, at least from my perspective.

    For people starting out, that is certainly better than nothing. Since e-lance didn’t do so well, having an own blog, and going it alone can be a lot more profitable, although there’s a fine line between marketing, establishing one’s brand, and cold calls. I’m beginning to think the secret is cold calls. In the meantime also, we need to become activists and educate or convince our legislators to erect high enough tax barriers to prevent all this what basically is out-sourcing. With regard to writing and the arts, particularly, if not unionizing, then a means to enforce stringent standards of acceptability, such as are in place in teaching, should be in the preconditions of taxation or future solicitation policy.

    It’s very sad that right now lobbyists and legislators are in collusion against the interests of the average American citizen. Learn about bills such as H.R. 2740 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2740. Organize and vote against legislators who vote against this bill. Join the Green Party.

    E-lance is just doing what organizations such as the US Chamber of Commerce lobbies aggressively in support of. Also, explore other ways to grow your own business via SBA.

  76. thanks for saving me the trouble of trying elance. I’ve been getting Simply Hired digests lately via email and a lot of elance opportunities are in there. I’m looking for ways to remove elance from that digest.

    BTW, I’m offended that so many people here get offended so easily.

  77. E-lance is a total scam website.

    I’m sure the website itself is legitimate, but each and every time I get a “job” there I end up getting my content written and published on some guys website, then he finds some reason not to pay me and I loose my money.

    E-lance’s dispute resolution is a joke at best. They always side with the scammer (“employer”) and you loose your time and money.

    Time and time again I get these fake jobs, waste my time writing on them, and then end up not getting paid.

    If you write content, and it goes on a website, and you get paid – the “employer” can demand a refund any time, and they always get it – leaving your content on a website, and you unpaid.

    Be very, very leery of this website. It has a LOT of scam artists on there who will steal from you.

  78. I am a freelance photographer and retoucher from Australia. I signed up last night expecting to find something great. The work I found available was plentiful but 99% of each job ad consisted of proposals from India and Bangladesh. All working for basically next to nothing. It’s sad that those from the 3rd world have virally infested creative markets and even sadder that employers are riding the cheap labour train. It’s a tough time to be a freelance creative in this global market that’s for sure.

    Edited by Photographess for the 3rd world comment. Thanks!!!

    • I signed up a month ago with Elance and ODesk and as a newbie to a freelance world I already agree with most what has already been told.

      First o all – the bids – 0, 50$ for an article is just a joke. I simply cannot imagine a quality of a service for that amount, especially in my category. I live in Europe and 8, 65 EUR is a min wage per hour in my country and 40 EUR is a basic minimum to survive the single day.

      Of course I tried to put myself in shoes of the client – obviously the main cause of outsourcing is to reduce costs. I fully understand start – ups, but how a company with a stable reputation (and such clients are also on Elance), can even ask for the lowest bids (as a mandatory criteria for hiring) and further to accept a “quality” of such bid and take the responsibility for such crap.

      Another thing – I will not be able to get any payment in advance for my project i.e. 30%. I understand it is to protect the client, who will only pay for the work completed. But what way am I protected? No way. I can simply return the work done, after a devotion of my time, resources and despite the client is satisfied, I may get no payment at all.

      Also – there are no official bids for each category according to the qualifications and experience of a freelancer. No due diligence on contractors. Not so far ago Freelancer meant a brilliant, hidden gem, who provides an excellent service. To provide a service on the hightest level absolutely does not mean to provide a cheap service. To offer such service that freelancer (and his/her parents) had to invest a lot of money, to spend years on education, further years in a full – time job, sometimes very stressful.

      It is very upsetting to realize that now after years of hardship his job which was worth 50$ per hour is now worth 3$ per hour.

      I opt for creating a new freelancer website with the following rules:

      1. Client could not accept the bid lower than the average earning per hour in his country and category (does not matter what country the bidder is from); This will eliminate a “cheap labor” being the only criteria for choosing a service provider and obviously the ridiculous bids of a famous 0, 50$;

      2. Both the Client and the Freelancer will have to go through due diligence – who they are and what they are offering. It will also facilitate to eliminate those who offer a creation of a complete sophisticated website for a bargain price of 100$. Everyone knows that a professional will not create a sophisticated website for such amount;

      3. A client could get a preferential offer in terms of i.e. any fees of registration if she/he will choose a local service provider;

      4. A client would be obliged to pay an upfront payment to a verified freelancer before he/she will start to work on assigned project.

      5. Introduce a standard mutual contract between freelancer and client to protect both;

      It is also upsetting to see how the world is going CHEAP in everything. CHEAP food, CHEAP clothes, CHEAP cars, CHEAP airlines, CHEAP labor, CHEAP banks, CHEAP service and what are the effects of it for us all. Being CHEAP is a criteria for everyhting.

      I think that the Freelance world has achieved its bottom and we all are sick of the recent model of global economy. People in some countries are simply having enough of being just a Cheap Labour Centre (i.e. Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary).

      However don’t forget that there are still true professionals within us and we can start to improve things for us.

      Greetings to everyone who simply wants to get a decent pay for decent living and to be paid off for skills and hard work.

  79. I have translated a 30- pages Legal Document. My bid won @ $190. Until now, i haven’t received my payment yet in elance.com. When I requested for the “Request Payment” i received a reply that I shouldn’t worry about it coz it’s their responsibility and it will be done. So, i trusted those words. But unfortunately, until now, the status of the JOB that I translated from one language to another is still on a WORKING stage. Isn’t it ridiculous? I was totally frustrated, i gave all my time and effort to help the client but unfortunately, i haven’t received any payment yet. So sad, I need money so badly.

    • You have to wait to turn over your work until you get paid or I think they call it “Escrow is Funded”. It’s a common mistake that new Elancers make. You should look it up in the forum to see if you have any options. I’m sorry you put all that time in and may not get paid.

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