Guru - Project Discipline Focus
As is the case with its competitors, Guru is a general purpose online freelancing marketplace. It attempts to cater to all fields and disciplines, not specializing in any particular area. Its distribution of projects tends to be roughly representative of the overall online outsourcing marketplace, though its higher-end focus tilts its project base towards more specialized work disciplines.
Guru divides its projects into a larger number of work categories than some of the other sites, with a total of 15: Websites & Ecommerce; Programming & Databases; Writing, Editing & Translation; Graphic Design & Multimedia; Sales & Telemarketing; Illustration & Art; Admin Support; Marketing & Communications; Engineering & CAD; Business Consulting; Photography & Videography; Legal; Networking & Telephone Systems; Broadcasting; Finance & Accounting; ERP & CRM; and Fashion & Interior Designs. The large number of categories suggests a greater diversity of projects than is present on some other sites. To be fair, though, other companies simply combine smaller categories with similar, larger ones. For example, many sites put projects related to business consulting, accounting and admin support into one group.
Guru makes it fairly easy to capture a snapshot of the number of open projects across its 17 categories; I did this on the day I wrote this topic, and graphed it in Figure 5. Note that this is not a perfect representation of project posting volumes, since it is possible that some categories see their projects filled and closed more quickly than others. Still, it gives you an idea of what you’ll find on the site.
You can see that while there are 17 categories, a few of them are dominant, covering most of the projects on the site. The technology field is particularly well-represented, with website and programming projects combining for over 50% of the projects. Writing and graphical design combine for a further 20% or so of projects. Having these categories lead the pack is to be expected for a site like Guru; website, programming, writing and design represent the bulk of online freelancing.
What’s more interesting is what you can glean from the percentages in the less popular categories. For example, Admin Support is only 4%: that’s a very small percentage for a general freelancing site, given the large number of projects of this type in the industry as a whole. This is likely due to Guru’s emphasis on the higher end of the market; admin jobs appeal more to lesser-skilled workers, many of whom don’t want to pay the relatively high fees that Guru charges for full membership.
On the other hand, some of the specialty categories, such as Broadcasting, Engineering, ERP/CRM and Legal, while small, are larger than one might expect. This too is probably because of how Guru is set up, and the fact that it tries to cater to a higher-end clientele. Having these fields as separate categories means they get more attention than if they are combined within a more generic classification. Having them distinct almost means that Guru members must set up and pay for profiles in these work areas if they want to bid on projects there, which discourages casual freelancers. In a way, these end up almost being like small “boutique sub-sites” within Guru that cater to special client needs. However, the operative word here is indeed “small”: some of these less popular categories get only a couple of dozen new project postings per month, because there’s just not that many people looking to hire legal help, business consultants or fashion designers on an online freelancing site.
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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