Freelancing Game Changer: Odesk and Elance Have Merged

    odesk elance

    After stumbling upon Odesk.com in 2008, my life has completely changed. I resigned from my job as a Nurse at a local hospital and started working online fulltime. From an aspiring Doctor, I became and accidental Virtual Entrepreneur. 5,449 logged hours and 67 contracts after, I can’t imagine how my life would’ve been right now if not for Odesk.

    Odesk

    My first Odesk Contract and 5-Star Feedback

     

    I only got two contracts out of Elance. But one of which, was to be a “virtual guest” in a Time Management Seminar where they feature the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant. This guesting stint has been going on about 1-2 times a year for four years now.

    ElanceMy First Elance Contract and 5-Star Feedback

    1264838_628457860510262_49856720_oWhile waiting for my turn to get interviewed about Virtual Assistance as a “Virtual Guest”, last September 2013

     

    Today, leading online freelance job bidding sites Odesk and Elance announced their merger. Wait, what? Yes, the mighty two of freelancing have agreed to merge. Why? “Faster innovation and better opportunities for you.” Or so they say.

     

    So what can we expect out of the merger? Check out this oDesk + Elance Merger FAQ as posted in Odesk’s Blog:

     

    Why did oDesk and Elance decide to merge?
    Both companies are leading innovators driving the adoption of online work. Combined, we will have the resources to invest in products and services that serve customers better.

    For example, specific expected benefits of the merger include:

    – Significant investments in technology, including tools for more effective online hiring, seamless virtual collaboration, improved mobile accessibility and job skills development.
    – Higher quality results. Combining our engineering and data science expertise will deliver quality improvements including better-matched freelancers for clients and superior job recommendations for freelancers.
    – Accelerated growth and scale. The overall global demand for staffing is enormous and is transitioning online. Combined, the companies will be able to help accelerate this transition.

     

    What is the vision for the new combined company?
    Just as Amazon reinvented retail, and Apple iTunes transformed the music industry, together oDesk and Elance will revolutionize the way we work. This merger will create unprecedented freedom for people to find job opportunities regardless of their location, and will allow businesses of all sizes to more easily access the best available talent.

     

    What does this mean for current clients and freelancers on oDesk and Elance?
    Both odesk.com and elance.com will for now continue to operate as separate, independent services. Your accounts and profile records will not be impacted.

    For clients, you will still be able to hire, manage and pay exactly as you have in the past.

    For freelancers, your profile and work history and other aspects of your online reputation will not be affected.

    After the merger closes, expect accelerated product and quality innovations that help both oDesk and Elance serve you better.

    How are you evolving the two platforms so they become more differentiated?
    We are inviting feedback from customers on both odesk.com and elance.com, and will be actively incorporating this feedback into differentiating innovations on the platforms moving forward.

     

    Will there be more competition for good jobs among freelancers as a result of this merger?
    As both odesk.com and elance.com will continue to operate as separate, distinct online work marketplaces for now, we don’t anticipate any changes in freelancer competition due to the merger. Our goal is to increase the number of jobs available for freelancers as we attract more businesses to hire online.

     

    How much work is happening on oDesk and Elance?
    Freelancers will earn about $750 million on the two sites in 2013.

     

    How does this company fit into the overall market for hiring and staffing?
    Global staffing is a $422 billion market (according to Staffing Industry Analysts) that we believe is ripe for reinvention. Online work, any type of work that can be done via the Internet, is an emerging sector within it that SIA predicts will reach $5 billion by 2018.

     

    Who will lead the new company?
    oDesk executive chairman Thomas Layton will continue in the same role at the combined company, and Elance CEO Fabio Rosati will serve as chief executive officer.

     

    What will the new combined company be called?
    As the merger is not yet complete, it’s too early to say. The name will be announced after the deal closes.

     

    Will any of the features I’m used to go away?
    We update our platforms on a regular basis and will continue to do so, but clients will still be able to hire, manage and pay as they have in the past, and freelancers’ profile, work history, etc. will not be affected. Login information will remain the same.

     

    Will there be any change in fees or membership structures?
    None are planned.

     

    What’s the timeline for concluding the deal?
    The closing of the merger is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, and is expected to occur in the next four months.

     

    You can view the Blog Post from Odesk here: https://www.odesk.com/blog/2013/12/MergerFAQ/

     

    Basically, it is just an announcement and an assurance that there will be no changes (at least, for now) with both sites.

    As a longtime user and fan of both sites, I think the main concern for majority of freelancers will be about retaining the stars (feedback) they have worked hard for. The competition in bidding sites is tougher now than it was 5 years ago and those precious feedback of clients are of high value.

    The new company is something to watch out for. With outsourcing as a growing industry and the numbers of freelancers adding up, Odesk + Elance combined can definitely be a game-changer!

    How about you? Are an Odesker or a Elancer? What are your thoughts on their announcement?

    Kei San Pablo

    is the Founder and Managing Director of The K Squad Outsourcing Solutions. A self-confessed workaholic, she is a Virtual Entrepreneur and a hands-on Digital Marketing Strategist. When not working, she still thinks about work and her desire to travel the world with her bestfriend --- her Macbook Air.

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