A few days ago, I received this letter from the CEO of Elance-Odesk. It hints at massive changes in the coming year and an overhaul within two years.
Since the merger last year, I’ve spent every moment thinking about our amazing professional communities and the future of online work.
Each year more businesses hire freelance professionals and more people choose freelancing as a career. Advancements in technology and data science are transforming how we connect, share, collaborate and learn.
While we already are the largest online workplace, there is a great deal more for us to do to become the world’s premier online workplace for professionals.
The work we do daily to meet the rapidly evolving needs of our community—upgrades to our platform as new technologies become available, scaled operations to better serve everyone as our community grows, and continued investments to engage more clients and top talent—is not enough. To realize our vision of becoming the premier online workplace for professionals we need to innovate at an even faster pace.
Over the next several months you will begin to see many new initiatives:
Improvements to how clients and freelance professionals meet each other, including better matching and redesigned profiles.
- New collaboration and productivity tools for both desktop and mobile devices.
- More resources to measure quality, screen jobs and help our community succeed.
- Expanded customer service to provide fast, friendly and reliable support.
- And so much more based on your input and a large number of R&D efforts
We are eager to bring these improvements to you. To accelerate innovation we will focus the majority of these initiatives on one of our platforms, oDesk. Members of the Elance community will be able to experience the improvements via a bridge we are developing between the two online workplaces. Within a year or two we will have a new platform where everyone will access the latest innovations at the same time.
I’ll continue to share our progress towards our vision over the coming months. In the meantime, you can find answers to many of your questions here.
My daily thoughts remain focused on building the best possible online workplace for high quality clients and top freelance professionals. On behalf of the 300 employees and over 500 freelancers who make up the Elance-oDesk team, thank you for being our inspiration.
What is clear from this letter, and clarified in the link, is that Elance is to be phased out and its clients and contractors will be permitted to bridge the gap. I’m not surprised, really. Many of the changes to Odesk in the last few months have been adopting all the things that work so well on Elance – protection for flat-rate and then adoption of Escrow. Last week, we were told that Odesk would change its applications system to adopt the elance credit-based system. This means it will no longer be a simple case of one credit taken per job, but some will require two or three credits.
I wasn’t keen on this when it was introduced to Elance about a year ago, but I soon saw the benefits – fewer people apply to jobs needing 3 credits, and those who are most suitable are, therefore, more likely to go for it because of the competition.
Nothing will change for me, I am active on both sites and in a way, I suppose condensing the sites will make my revenue stream more regular. In two years, I expect not to be working exclusively on the Elance-Odesk sites.