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

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Guru - Payment Methods and Mechanisms
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Guru - Escrow Services, Work Tracking Systems and Payment Guarantees
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Guru - Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
(Page 1 of 4)

Guru has the sort of full-featured project setup, bidding, award and management proce­dures that you’d expect from a large marketplace that’s been in business for over a decade. In fact, if anything, one might argue that Guru’s mechanisms are overdeveloped. While most of the site’s features are well designed, there are a number of steps in the overall journey from project inception to completion that Guru has made more complex and confusing than they are on other sites.

Project Initiation Methods

Guru projects are initiated by a client filling out a new project listing, and optionally inviting freelancers to bid. These two steps can be performed in either order. Most clients start by selecting “Post a Project” from the “Hire” menu on the top menu bar, or clicking the “Post a Project” button that is found at the top right corner of the site. After the project is posted, they then may choose “Search for Freelancers” to find specific contractors they want to invite to bid on the project (if desired). Alternately, clients can start with the “Search for Freelancers” feature, choose contractors that they find appealing, and then move straight into the project posting procedure.

Defining a new project involves a multi-step form that is more comprehensive than is the case for many other sites. The client starts by choosing the skill category and primary subcategory that best applies to the project; this dictates which contractors can bid on it because of how Guru’s profile system works. The client is then prompted to enter a project title and description, as well as to provide a project budget. Additional subcategories can also be selected, to better identify what sort of expertise is required for completing the project.

Guru also provides several important options that can have an impact on who can bid on a project:

  • Location: Guru allows clients to restrict bidding to contractors in specific countries, and within the US, specific geographical regions. This is sometimes done for projects that require close proximity to a place of business, such as hiring a photographer for an event, or employing a clerk to sort through large volumes of paper files. This option can also be used by clients who simply have a preference for freelancers in a particular location.

  • Bidding Type: The client is asked to choose which sorts of Guru contractors are allowed to bid. The default is to allow all freelancers who have the appropriate profile. Other options include restricting bidding to only those with the matching Guru Vendor profile, or making the project invite only, which hides it from everyone except those specifically chosen by the client.

  • Offsite versus Onsite: Guru is the only marketplace I know of that allows clients to specify that a project requires onsite work. This is not often used, because of the inter­national nature of online freelancing.

  • Rate Per Hour: This is used to designate a project as hourly.

  • Questions: Clients are given three boxes where they can list questions they want to ask potential bidders. These are meant to help make the project requirements more clear.

Guru provides help for clients in the form of small question mark symbols at the top right of the dialog boxes on the new project form. When clicked, these open up the appropriate sections of Guru’s excellent online help system. Unfortunately, very little guidance is provided to help clients in describing projects in a way that will help them get good bids and be successful.

Note that all Guru projects are closed bid only; no details are disclosed to other contractors, and not even an average bid is shown.


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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011

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