oDesk - Project Quantity and Marketplace Size
In stark contrast to sites like Guru that tend not to be too forthcoming about their own operating statistics, oDesk is not only open about sharing this data, it seems to be eager to do so. The company maintains a large section on its website, which it calls oConomy, where a plethora of information can be found about how the site is being used. At the oConomy page you’ll find links to a surprising amount of real-time data that shows figures and trends about oDesk: project totals, information about contractors, country-based breakdowns, summaries of rates earned in different categories, and much more. The company adds to this further by also publishing a monthly Online Employment Report which provides even more detail.
This wealth of information makes it relatively easy to see where oDesk is at any point, to view its growth over time, and to compare it to its competitors. And what this data shows is that while many marketplace sites lay claim to being the biggest in the industry, oDesk is the one best able to substantiate that claim. Based on what I consider the most important measurements—number of projects posted and total billings—oDesk really is the biggest online freelancing marketplace.
oDesk’s main oConomy page shows the number of new projects listed on the site in the past 24 hours, updated in real time. oDesk also gives an estimated number of projects posted per month in its Online Employment Report.
The number of projects posted in the preceding 24 hours goes up and down, of course, and there is also a natural variation between weekday and weekend figures. I took a sample on a weekend (at around 1 pm on Sunday) and it said there had been 1,627 projects posted in the trailing 24-hour period. A sample on a weekday (at about 9 am on Tuesday) showed 2,700 projects. If we take five times 2,700 plus two times 1,627, divide by seven and convert the result to a monthly figure, it comes out to 71,800 projects per month.
These figures match up fairly well with the numbers that oDesk reported in its February Online Employment Report, which listed 70,274 projects for the month. (A header in the report incorrectly claims 72,000 projects in the month). February is of course a short month; this figure works out to about 2,500 projects per day, which means more like 75,000 projects in a typical 30-day month.
Based on these figures, oDesk is clearly in first place in terms of number of projects posted, ahead of Elance and Freelancer.com, which are both in the range of 1,500 projects per day. oDesk is growing at a staggering pace: the report from one year prior showed only 37,580 projects posted in February 2010, so the site has almost doubled in volume in just a year.
Here are a few other metrics that help illustrate oDesk’s position in the market and where it stands relative to its competition:
As you can see, in addition to oDesk being the biggest marketplace site right now in terms of number of projects, it also leads in billings and web site traffic. The project billing figure is in my opinion the most important real indicator of how big a site is, and oDesk is not only in first place here, it seems to be pulling away from the competition.
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