oDesk - Bidding, Client Interaction and Project Award Policies and Mechanisms
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Most communication between employers and contractors is done using oDesk’s own messaging system, which is similar to the ticket system used for customer support. There’s a separate message center for each project, and messages from both parties appear in a single thread so it’s easy to follow the conversation. By default, oDesk sends email notifications when new messages are received, so you know when a client wants to contact you.
Clients indicate their interest in a contractor by selecting them for an interview. This is usually done in response to a received bid, but clients can also select contractors for a project and tell oDesk to notify them that they’ve been chosen to be interviewed at the time a project is posted. These are called invitations to interview, and again, contractors are notified about them by email.
oDesk is very strict about prohibiting off-site communication prior to interviewing taking place, to prevent spamming, scamming and fee avoidance. However, the company is refreshingly reasonable about allowing other forms of contact (email, telephone and so forth) once an interview is accepted. This stands in contrast to some more paranoid sites who force you to use only their message center at all times.
oDesk does not have a live chat feature for clients and contractors (only for support).
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Last Site Update: December 13, 2011
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