All Things oDesk
December 19, 2013 by Gary Swart

Yesterday, after announcing our exciting plan to merge our company with Elance, I was overwhelmed and humbled by thousands of emails. Many expressed support and congratulations for this new chapter, and I found myself reading them into the early hours of the morning.

Among your notes I received thoughtful suggestions, as well as your likes, dislikes and other comments. We plan to synthesize and reflect on these ideas and talk about them next year in another blog post.

A number of you asked about potential changes to oDesk. Let me be clear: oDesk is constantly evolving and innovating to empower our customers—both our freelancers and our clients. Examples of innovations we’re already working on include improved support services for freelancers, and enhanced user profiles through even better testing and certification.

But for the moment, three freelancer worries from your emails stood out to me and I want to address them immediately so you don’t need to be concerned.

#1: I like using oDesk, and I'm worried it will go away.
Brandon, an oBlog commenter, made a wonderful analogy as to how the merger will work: just as Apple owns both iPhone and iMac, oDesk and Elance will remain separate platforms under a larger umbrella company. That means if you're an oDesk user, you can continue using the oDesk website. Of course, Elance users can also continue using the Elance website.

We recognize that you’ve worked very hard to build up your hours, feedback, work history and other elements of your oDesk profile. It’s important to preserve your online reputation on oDesk, and you will.

#2: I'm worried oDesk will adopt membership fees or other aspects of the Elance pricing structure.
Don’t worry! oDesk does not plan fee increases or membership fees based on the merger.

#3: I'm worried there will be more freelancers, making it more difficult to find work.
This is a misperception. We believe the merger will help us make greater investments in marketing, among other things. We plan to use these resources to attract more clients who, in turn, will create more jobs and thus more selection.

Rest assured, even when the merger closing becomes official, we'll remain first and foremost committed to you, our customers.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, concerns and suggestions with me and please keep the ideas coming. The next chapter is all about creating more opportunities for you.

Gary Swart

Chief Executive Officer

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. Gary is a thought leader in entrepreneurship; how best to hire and manage teams; and the future of work, including online work. He is passionate about helping small businesses thrive, fueled by his extensive experience working with startups and small businesses that use oDesk, as well as by mentoring entrepreneurs and business school… read more

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  • Barun P Mondal

    Odesk is my first love. I believe odesk is a alive market palace,where posted so much job and hire within a short time. So I like and love odesk only. But when Odesk and elance will be marge,then I'll lost my odesk profile with my work history and others???
    I need to create new account and need to login there instead odesk.com? Or just odesk and elance going to increase there business with two separate company name and theer customer? Just this or something others?

    • http://www.odesk.com Jenna Weiner

      Hi Barun, don't worry! oDesk and Elance will continue to operate as separate platforms, so your oDesk work history, ratings and reputation will not change. Thanks for your questions!

  • http://www.jawwadkalia.com Jawwad

    I hope this merger doesn't out leave odesk behind as it has simple fee structures. elance with its membership fee might be more profitable and major resources may be put to make it a top line while leaving odesk behind.

    Secondly, one company offering a paid membership structure at one platform while the other remains free - as a client I myself would be thinking that there will be top of the line / serious workers who are on paid platform (this never means odesk should charge too).

    • http://www.odesk.com Jenna Weiner

      Hi Jawwad, thanks for sharing your thoughts. We hear your concerns loud and clear, but we can assure you that there won't be any changes to oDesk fees or membership structures as a result of the merger. We are as committed as ever to ensuring that you have a great oDesk experience!

  • http://gravatar.com/gulfamshabbir1 gulfamshabbir

    Since the news was announced, I had a lot of reservations, some of which have been answered. But, still, one remains. And that is, when I went online to create an account and start a career as freelancer, I had the option of creating account either on Odesk or Elance or both, I PREFERRED Odesk on Elance like the millions of other freelancers, respected Odesk for its fair policies, elegant interface and superb services.
    Merging with what I left for them does not seem to be an amiable way of saying "thank you for picking me up".

    • http://www.odesk.com Jenna Weiner

      Hi gulfamshabbir, thanks so much for your honest feedback. We take your concerns very seriously, and appreciate the fact that you chose oDesk and continue to be a loyal oDesk customer. That's why we are keeping both platforms separate, so the oDesk you know and love will remain -- only it will get better as a result of the combined resources and innovations the merger will provide. We would never make a decision that would negatively impact our users; we think this merger will be a very good thing for oDesk freelancers and clients alike!

      • Muddabir Aziz

        Can we merge our odesk and elance profiles/feedbck together ? so work all profiles/feedback displays at same place

  • David B.

    Clever responses:
    "#2: I'm worried oDesk will adopt membership fees or other aspects of the Elance pricing structure.
    Don’t worry! oDesk does not plan fee increases or membership fees based on the merger." - by Gary Swart

    My interpretation of this response is: no fees based on the merger, the fees will be based on something else and have nothing to do with the merger.
    No, they will probably impose fees based in the name of improvement of service. Lets hope I am totally wrong about everything and I will wake up in mid 2014 in a flood of income and not a flood of notices from banks.

    • David B.

      "Brandon, an oBlog commenter, made a wonderful analogy as to how the merger will work: just as Apple owns both iPhone and iMac"

      Well this merger has nothing in common with Apple owning both iPhone and iMac, lets not beat around the bush. Both products where developed by the same company. It's not like Microsoft merged with Apple and the new company produces Windows and OSx as separate projects. Or Mozzila merges with Google to make a "better" internet experience.

      Sir Jonathan Paul Ive is the head designer of the Apple products, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iOS 7 (wikipedia reference). All PRODUCTS are owned and produced by Apple, the one and only. A single entity.

      This here will be a merger between two "rival" companies and when this happens I am not so exited to think that the main objective it's "Let's bury the hatchet and build a better place for freelancers". It sounds more like "Hey buddy, what do you say, we join forces and we impose monopoly on the market, and we make more money?".

      Please, I really want to be totally wrong about all this, and I do hope I am wrong. But at this point this is my view of the merger. And if you guys think I am wrong please correct me with some direct responses that are not cleverly engineered to sound different.

  • http://homepreneur-online.com Deepa Govind

    Gary, although this seems all "as the way it is" ... I will mark my calender to revisit after 18 months from now and share how we perceive of the things that have evolved over time. Until then, I reserve my comments.

    All the best to you, oDesk Team, & oDeskers

    • David B.

      I will also mark my calendar. Because I have doubts about this. A merger is pointless based on the information provided at this point. Just the fact that they want to provide better service for online workplace is not a strong motivation to merge two companies. This is not how humans behave but it's never to late to prove that my thinking is wrong.