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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites
      > (Formerly - Analysis and Review

Previous Topic/Section - Payment Methods and Mechanisms
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Next Page - Escrow Services, Work Tracking Systems and Payment Guarantees
Next Topic/Section - Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
(Page 1 of 4) uses a simple and relatively unsophisticated set of mechanisms for creating projects, bidding on them, interacting with clients and awarding and starting work. This has the advantage of making the system easier to use, though many of the features found on sites like Elance or Guru are notably absent here. There are also a number of important flaws in the process, such as an emphasis on open bidding, the lack of a means for asking pre-bid questions, and a rather informal contract system once projects are awarded.

Project Initiation Methods projects start out as project listings initiated by a client; remember that all users are able to act as both clients and contractors, so anyone can start a project. makes it very easy to commence a new project by putting a bold “Post Project” link in a prominent place in the top left corner of every page of the site.

The site appears to support public projects only, meaning projects where anyone who meets the project requirements is allowed to bid. There are no private invite-only projects. Note that uses the term “public” in a different way than I do: the site considers a “public” project to be one that is visible to search engines and non-members of the site, where “nonpublic” projects can only be seen by users. Posting a “nonpublic” project requires a $3 fee to be paid by the client.

There is no ability to create a project for a specific user. Clients often get around this by just posting a public project with a title like “Private project for {Contractor}”, but these projects can still be bid on by others.

It is possible for clients to search for providers and to invite them to public projects, though. This is done by using the freelancer search page and either entering a username or providing search criteria such as work categories, countries of residence, or a minimum feedback rating.

Clients who have never posted a project before are allowed to post a “trial project” without paying the usual $5 refundable fee; these projects are sceened before being posted. Fine so far, but imposes the inexplicable restriction on these projects that only contractors with three or fewer feedbacks may post proposals on them.

From the client’s perspective, this policy means that the very people the site is trying to encourage by offering a trial project will be unable to get bids from the most qualified, longest-term contractors on the site, thus reducing the chances that they have a positive experience. As for contractors, it actually penalizes them if they are successful, by making it impossible for them to bid on some percentage of projects. And there is no balancing provision that prohibits those with three or fewer reviews from bidding on non-trial projects.

Without any exaggeration, I consider this likely the stupidest policy I’ve ever encountered in the world of online freelancing. It used to be even worse: at one time, only contractors with no feedback were allowed to bid on trial projects. I personally remember wading through the project list at and finding projects I could have done well but wasn’t allowed to bid on—very frustrating. One day the management of will wake up and fix this silliness.

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Last Site Update: December 13, 2011

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