Elance - Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
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Nearly all client communication on Elance takes place using the messaging system built into Elance. This is especially true before a project is awarded, and often the case even on active projects. As mentioned above there is a public message board for each project, but it is not used nearly as much as private messaging, because both clients and contractors alike generally prefer to play their cards close to their vests, as it were.
The place where messages are exchanged on a project is called the project’s workroom. The workroom has quite a bit of nice functionality, including a place for messages, a notification for project-related alerts, file storage area, a link to the original project description and proposal, etc.
Unlike some sites, Elance does not specifically prohibit off-site communication, so if you need interaction that is more real-time in nature, you can speak to the client using instant messaging or by phone. However, any communication that takes place off the Elance system is not available for reference in the case of a dispute, and it can make project management more difficult as well, so I recommend always using Elance for messaging whenever possible.
Elance requests that contractors provide weekly status reports to clients for longer projects. Many contractors ignore this, since they are in close contact on a more regular basis anyway. Status reports have their own area in the workroom as well.
It is possible to tell Elance to send you an email notification when you receive an Elance message. This is actually an email gateway that also allows you or the client to respond to messages via email, perhaps on a mobile device, without having to log in to the Elance website. I never used this myself but some of my clients made use of it extensively.
Elance also has its own instant messaging feature called Elance Call, but I do not have any personal experience with it.
I don’t believe Elance discloses email addresses or other information to clients. You choose whether or not to share that information.
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