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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites
      >  Freelancer.com (Formerly GetAFreelancer.com) - Analysis and Review

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Freelancer.com - Project Quality
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Freelancer.com - Project Discipline Focus

Just like the other major freelancing sites, Freelancer.com is a general purpose market­place. It is not aimed at any particular area of work, and projects on the site encompass every type of work typically done over the Internet.

The site does tend to have an overall leaning, but this is not a result of its managers trying to concentrate on certain disciplines; rather, it is a residue of its focus on the lower end of the market. This tends to skew the number of jobs towards low-end disciplines (like article rewriting) and away from higher-end ones (such as legal work). That said, there is still a good amount of work in higher paying areas, especially Web development, and on the whole, there’s a wide breadth of projects on the site.

Most sites use a hierarchical system of categories and subcategories to organize projects, and also to restrict how and when freelancers can place bids. Freelancer.com uses a “flat” categorization system, where all projects are shown in a single database, but each is “tagged” with skills that the client feels are relevant to the project. Which is better for freelancers is largely a matter of taste, as we’ll discuss in the section on project mechanisms.

For the purpose of looking at how projects are split among disciplines, though, the Freelancer.com system makes things pretty difficult. There are literally hundreds of individual skill “tags” that can be associated with projects, and Freelancer.com does not provide statistics for what percentages of their projects are given any of these tags.

I was able to take a snapshot of all the current projects open at a specific time, and then sort them by currently open projects; the top 50 categories are shown in Table 1.


Table 1: Freelancer.com - Top 50 Open Project Categories (Snapshot)

Category

Open Projects

PHP

1,802

Website Design

1,476

HTML

1,093

Graphic Design

1,060

Internet Marketing

870

SEO

627

MySQL

621

Articles

573

Link Building

431

Marketing

408

Javascript

407

Data Entry

398

AJAX

353

Software Architecture

336

Advertising

333

Copywriting

288

Article Rewriting

287

iPhone

285

Sales

277

Leads

274

Facebook

261

Mobile Phone

257

.NET

238

Flash

227

Social Networking

225

Wordpress

220

Bulk Marketing

219

eCommerce

217

Blog

202

Logo Design

202

Joomla

196

Photoshop

194

Java

172

Data Processing

162

Shopping Carts

161

Ghostwriting

160

C++ Programming

159

Android

152

CSS

148

C Programming

145

C# Programming

141

iPad

140

Academic Writing

132

Telemarketing

127

Script Install

121

Reviews

120

Research

110

Excel

109

Translation

106

ASP

98


Bear in mind that this is based on a relatively small sample size. Also, the data may be skewed because it only shows open projects, and some categories that are popular may see their projects filled (and closed) more quickly than others.

We can also get a hint at how the site works and which areas are most popular based on the company’s own reporting. On January 27, 2011, Freelancer.com put out a press release (PDF) that, among other things, shows some limited statistics on the work categories that are growing fastest on the site. Table 2 shows the top 20 on the site listed by percentage of increase in number of projects in 2010.


Table 2: Freelancer.com - Fastest Growing Categories by Percentage in 2010

Category

Number of Projects

Percentage Increase

Video Broadcasting

1487

+6659%

Business Cards

1100

+5400%

Templates

3269

+1881%

Article Rewriting

20,129

+845%

eBay

3,983

+791%

Software Architecture

6,076

+778%

BPO

3,777

+776%

Format & Layout

2,401

+682%

Dating

1,054

+669%

Objective C

1,472

+647%

PSD to HTML

4,428

+643%

Voice Talent

1,092

+643%

Travel Writing

1,903

+618%

Caricature & Cartoons

1,172

+504%

Android

2,813

+501%

Academic Writing

8,676

+476%

Blackberry

1,702

+446%

Reviews

6,419

+444%

Articles

35,853

+410%

Order Processing

1,736

+406%


As you can see, most of these are growing quickly, but are still quite small (under 2,000 projects per year). On the other hand, the “Article Rewriting” and “Articles” categories are rather large and yet still growing at a healthy pace.

The same report includes a list of the top 10 categories by absolute growth (meaning, how many more overall projects were listed in 2010, not sorted by percentage); this is shown in Table 3.


Table 3: Freelancer.com - Fastest Growing Categories by Total Volume in 2010

Cate­gory

Number of Projects

Percentage and Absolute Growth

Articles

35,853

410% (+28,822)

Article Rewriting

20,129

845% (+17,998)

PHP

61813

40% (+17508)

Graphic Design

33834

70% (+13908)

Facebook

11585

364% (+9088)

Adver­tising

12865

149% (+7698)

Academic Writing

8676

476% (+7169)

Ghost­writing

9507

269% (+6931)

Leads

8491

352% (+6611)

Blog

11394

126% (+6346)


There’s some overlap here, with both “articles and article rewriting” leading the pack, but the number of PHP jobs actually being larger overall.

Finally, Table 4 has the report’s list of the top 10 category “losers” in terms of percentage decrease in 2010:


Table 4: Freelancer.com - Fastest Shrinking Categories by Percentage in 2010

Category

Number of Projects

Percentage Decrease

Windows Desktop

1,994

-47%

Perl

1,466

-39%

Proofreading

4,344

-39%

Web Security

1,726

-34%

System Admin

1,974

-32%

C Programming

5,297

-31%

XML

4,434

-25%

Accounting

1,281

-24%

ASP

4,060

-22%

Flash

13,748

-5%


Some of these aren’t a big surprise, but others are; XML and Web security are not exactly going the way of the horse and buggy, so why would they be down by 25% or more in one year? I think that in the case of these and a few other advanced disciplines, reductions in projects here may simply reflect clients moving away from Freelancer.com and towards higher-end marketplaces.


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