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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites
      >  Elance - Freelance Marketplace Site Analysis and Review

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Elance - Project Quality
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Elance - Fees
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Elance - Project Discipline Focus

Like most of the large freelance sites, Elance is not aimed at any particular field; it is a general marketplace that caters to all work disciplines commonly served by online freelancers. The distribution of projects among work categories tends to be well balanced, roughly representing the average distribution of the industry as a whole. This is likely because the site has been around a long time and has been generic in its focus since the start.

Elance divides its projects into eight categories: Admin Support, Design & Multimedia, Engineering & Manufacturing, Finance & Management, Legal, Sales & Marketing, Web & Programming and Writing & Translation. To give you an idea of how projects are split among these groups, I did a search for all projects listed over a one-week period ending at the time I wrote this topic; the distribution results can be found in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Elance Project Category Distribution

In my sample of projects listed over a one-week period, nearly half were in Web & Programming, with another third or so split between Writing & Translation and Design & Multimedia.

 


You can see that the Web & Programming category dominates, with nearly 50% of the projects posted during the sample time period. This is actually about normal for the online freelancing market; the very large number is because Elance doesn’t break down web and programming work into as many subcategories as some sites do.

Incidentally, you may find it interesting to compare this breakdown of project numbers to the distribution of freelancers on Elance.

Elance also publishes an online employment report that shows the breakdown of work performed on the site by total dollars spent. For some reason, though, they don’t follow their own work categories for this report, rather using a different set of classes. I show this distri­bution in Figure 2.


Figure 2: Elance Employment Report Work Distribution

Elance’s online employment report shows a distribution of work somewhat similar to that found in Figure 1, but with the information aggregated into a smaller number of categories.

 


Elance also doesn’t indicate how their eight work categories match up to these five groups, but if I had to guess, “IT” would be Web and Programming; “Marketing” would be “Sales & Marketing”; “Creative” would include “Writing & Translation” plus “Design & Multimedia”; “Operations” would correspond to “Admin Support”; and “Other” would encompass every­thing else. The percentages don’t line up because of different source data sets and the fact that the first chart is based on project numbers and the second on total project value. But you can see there is a rough correspondence.

Again, I think this is a pretty typical of the industry as a whole. There is a heavy IT leaning in the online freelance marketplace when viewed from a money standpoint, because demand is high for technical services, and these projects tend to pay more than the rates in some other categories. Compensation for writers and designers has taken an especially hard hit over the last decade or so; as a result, that share for “Creative” in the second pie chart appears considerably smaller than the corresponding slices in the first.


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