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Project Discipline Focus
As mentioned in the introduction, ScriptLance is focused primarily towards the technology side of the freelancing market. Most of the projects are related to programming and Web design and implementation. There are a few data entry projects, some graphic design jobs and even a few requests for writers, but these make up a relatively small percentage of the total. Unfortunately I cannot give you any actual figures, because ScriptLance uses tags instead of categories, and provides no way to show numbers of projects listed under various tags.
To its credit, ScriptLance has modest fees, and it also tries to spread the cost of using the site between clients and contractors.
There are no registration or monthly charges. ScriptLance also doesn’t have categories for bidding, nor any fees for placing bids. Transaction fees are $5 flat rate charged to the client per project, plus 5% of the cost of the transaction (minimum $5) charged to the contractor. If a project is cancelled, ScriptLance returns any fees, which is commendable.
Like Freelancer.com, ScriptLance tries to earn extra income by charging incidental fees to clients for various features related to how projects are posted. They can list a project as “featured” for an extra $19, post a full-time job listing for $39, or mark a project “urgent” for $5. These make some sense, but the cost of $1 for a project to be marked private, and an extra $1 for closed bidding, are in my view short-sighted. Giving clients a disincentive for posting private jobs privately adds to clutter, and open bidding isn’t really good for contractors, so why discourage it by charging clients extra money for closed bids?
ScriptLance is designed only for fixed rate projects, except for featured projects or job listings, which allow hourly pay or other forms of compensation, but incur much higher listing fees (see above). Clients are asked to enter a budget range for projects, most of which are usually “Very Small” ($10 to $200) or “Small” ($200 to $500).
Like most sites, ScriptLance insists on indirect payments using its own site. It prohibits off-site contact in an attempt to enforce this—and in my opinion, goes overboard in doing so (see the discussion of client interaction below). The company allows advance payments but recommends that clients avoid them; it won’t refund money to a client who prepays and gets ripped off.
ScriptLance allows withdrawals via PayPal, Moneybookers, a Payoneer debit card, wire transfer or paper check. Unfortunately, no details are provided by the site on what these various forms of payment cost.
Also noteworthy is what I consider a completely ridiculous policy of “account verification” that ScriptLance foists on users when they try to withdraw funds. I had about $2,000 in my account—which is over two years old—and when I tried to withdraw the money via Paypal, it was held up because they wanted to verify my account. This was done despite the fact that I was withdrawing to the same email address I’ve always used on ScriptLance. The company insisted on not just an automated phone verification process, they also asked me to send them a copy of my driver’s license or passport! I flatly refused, as I consider this both unnecessary and to represent a serious risk of identity theft. They eventually put through the withdrawal, and then even afterwards kept harrassing me to send in this personal information. I’ve also read many other reports of similar hassles. No other site has ever demanded anything like this of me, and while I admire their concerns over security, I find their solution flatly unprofessional and unacceptable.
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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