Odesk is a site that offers jobs to freelancers and employees to companies looking to outsource. The site was founded in 2003 by Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis, a pair of Greek businessmen. Odesk has its headquarters in Redwood City, California. It is one of the growing number of freelance sites that offer the opportunity to earn money from the comfort of your own home. Unlike the majority of other sites, Odesk does not charge a membership fee. It takes a 10% cut of each project instead. This may seem high, but for those looking to escape being trapped in an office environment, it is a price worth paying.
What Is Odesk All About?
Like all its competitors, Odesk asks employers to verify their credit card details before joining, though an increasing number of companies try to hire workers without taking this step. For freelancers, the site is easy to join and navigate. Employees have the option of applying for jobs which pay an hourly or fixed wage. While hourly jobs are guaranteed, fixed rate payment is not so new contractors especially are urged to be cautious when applying. After a job is completed, both employer and freelancer are invited to leave feedback. This operates on a ‘double blind’ system which means neither party knows what the other said about them until both feedbacks are logged. The exception to this is when one party leaves no feedback. In this case, the one feedback which has been logged becomes visible in 14 days.
Odesk is probably one of the best sites of its kind when it comes to looking for jobs. All categories are clearly marked and the instructions are incredibly simple to follow. The feedback system gives both parties an idea of who they are dealing with. The double blind system is a great way to ensure honesty from both sides. Hourly jobs are guaranteed with the money paid in to your account weekly.
As Odesk welcomes employees from all over the world, it is also host to a number of employers who abuse the site by offering ridiculously low rates for work. It is not uncommon to see $1 an hour postings. These rates are tantamount to slave labor and the sheer volume of such postings leads to an artificial number of jobs. Of all the jobs posted on Odesk, probably about 20% offer the kind of money that would appeal to someone from the United States or United Kingdom.
Fixed rate jobs are not guaranteed so there is a possibility you could work for a full week on a project, deliver it and not receive payment. Odesk can ban the perpetrator but you will never receive compensation. Hourly jobs are monitored with snapshots recorded to show the employer that the freelancer is working. There are also keystrokes (times the keys on your computer are pressed) recorded. While this is good news for the employer, it is overly intrusive and places unnecessary pressure on the employee who feels like they are constantly under surveillance.
Odesk has a number of flaws, particularly the risk associated with fixed rate jobs. It is something the site needs to sort out, especially with the proliferation of employers who fail to verify their credit card. Such parties should be banned until they receive clearance. Otherwise, Odesk is a tempting option for freelancers because it offers a free avenue to employment. Those who build up their feedback should receive better paid jobs but it requires patience.