Guru - Freelancer Community Characteristics
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General Quality and Professionalism Level
Guru has the highest quality of freelancers of any of the big sites. While obviously there is significant variation from one person and company to the next, the average Guru contractor is above average when compared to those found on some competing platforms. I think there are three main reasons for this: the company’s policies, its longevity, and its advertising/marketing strategy.
As I’ve mentioned throughout my review of Guru, the company aims towards the higher end of the marketplace. The company does this with a combination of policies designed to favor serious freelancers. Most notably, the high monthly fees for Guru and Guru Vendor accounts tend to discourage those who are not serious about plying their trade. The company’s professional website design, useful help features and other touches may also attract a higher caliber of freelancer.
Guru has also been around a long time. There are plenty of contractors who have been on the site for many years, and there’s a strong correlation for freelancers between time of service and quality of services rendered. The longer someone has been in business, the less chance of a bad experience with them, all else being equal.
But perhaps the most important reason why Guru has better than average freelancers has to do with how the management of the site markets it—or rather, how it doesn’t market it.
Most of Guru’s competitors seem obsessed with growing their sites at any cost. They try to accomplish this goal by luring clients with the promise of work done cheaply; some of these companies are quite shameless with these promotions, flatly telling prospective clients that their sites are the places to come to get work done for a tiny fraction of what it would cost elsewhere. Then these sites recruit huge numbers of low-quality freelancers to do these cheap projects, promising them money while doing no screening of their credentials and putting no barriers to entry into the market. The results are predictable.
In contrast, I’ve never seen Guru engage in this sort of behavior. The company does claim that it is the largest freelance marketplace (which isn’t really true) so it does care about quantity. However, Guru doesn’t appear to strive to achieve this goal by simply trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
All of that said, I should point out that some freelancers who have experience with Guru would likely take issue with some of what I’ve written above. It’s not hard to find comments about how the quality of Guru freelancers (and projects) has decreased over time. On the whole, though, I think Guru is still in the lead here, at least among the major players. (Freelancer quality is much better at some of the boutique sites.)
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