oDesk and Elance are merging

Two very popular (the most popular?) freelancing websites, oDesk and Elance are merging.

The two competitors announced yesterday that they will now become one company under a new name “To be announced”.

What is oDesk and Elance?

For companies, they are websites you can use to hire freelancers for jobs that you need done. From personal assistants, to artists, to developers, whatever you need. You can hire people from all over the world. Freelancers can then be rated and reviewed, so you can check peoples work history to know if they are actually good to work with, able to meet deadlines, etc.

They are very useful tools for outsourcing tasks for your company, and enable you to get jobs done with minimal effort in job hunting. Not to mention a lot cheaper than hiring just US-based people (although you can hire from the US if you so want)

For freelancers, they are websites that enable you to get jobs based on your skills and be hired by companies all over the world for your talents. It’s hard to get work as a freelancer, finding new clients is a full-time job in itself, especially if you live in a country where there just isn’t that much demand (or too much competition) for your talents.

oDesk and Elance enable freelancers to take jobs from all over the world, and provide some legal safety nets. Such as verifying the companies, ensuring they won’t just take your work and run without paying, and time keeping tools to make sure you get paid for the actual amount of hours you put in.

What does this merger mean?

It’s still early in their process, and for now the two companies will continue to operate independently from each other. However, I would expect that as one company they will slowly state to integrate into one larger website. But large mergers take time, so probably nothing will happen anytime soon.

From their Q&A:

Why did oDesk and Elance decide to merge?
Both companies are leading innovators driving the adoption of online work. Combined, we will have the resources to invest in products and services that serve customers better.

For example, specific expected benefits of the merger include:

  • Significant investments in technology, including tools for more effective online hiring, seamless virtual collaboration, improved mobile accessibility and job skills development.
  • Higher quality results. Combining our engineering and data science expertise will deliver quality improvements including better-matched freelancers for clients and superior job recommendations for freelancers.
  • Accelerated growth and scale. The overall global demand for staffing is enormous and is transitioning online. Combined, the companies will be able to help accelerate this transition.

What is the vision for the new combined company?
Just as Amazon reinvented retail, and Apple iTunes transformed the music industry, together oDesk and Elance will revolutionize the way we work. This merger will create unprecedented freedom for people to find job opportunities regardless of their location, and will allow businesses of all sizes to more easily access the best available talent.

What does this mean for current clients and freelancers on oDesk and Elance?
Both odesk.com and elance.com will for now continue to operate as separate, independent services. Your accounts and profile records will not be impacted.

For clients, you will still be able to hire, manage and pay exactly as you have in the past.

For freelancers, your profile and work history and other aspects of your online reputation will not be affected.

After the merger closes, expect accelerated product and quality innovations that help both oDesk and Elance serve you better.

How are you evolving the two platforms so they become more differentiated?
We are inviting feedback from customers on both odesk.com and elance.com, and will be actively incorporating this feedback into differentiating innovations on the platforms moving forward.

It’ll be interesting to see how the sites work as they move forward. There are other competitors out there to oDesk and Elance, but I haven’t used them. These two together will definitely be the dominant force in the freelancing space.

Hopefully this means more jobs for freelancers to choose from and more potential qualified candidates to hire.

-Tobiah

 

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