Buzzworthy! (Feb 2010)

February 25, 2010 by

Checking out the blog buzz, it seems oDesk is doing well in taste tests. First, buyer Simon Bunker compares our marketplace to a competitor and declares we’re “now the site of choice for all my outsourcing activity.” Then for the provider perspective, the remote-work gurus at CertifiedFreelance.com provide “Five Reasons Why oDesk Tops Other Freelance Sites.” Network Solutions blogger Steve Fisher talks about using oDesk with your iPhone, and a provider writing as “Sufidreamer” offers his fourth in-depth post about getting started on oDesk, this time focusing on cover letters and interviews. If you’re tired of reading websites, here are a couple of YouTube videos you can watch: Camitta Davis offers a video intro to becoming an oDesk provider, and “MrWebMarketing” asks, “Is Outsourcing Just a Fad?” Watch and learn, folks — and remember to send us your links when you talk about oDesk online. For a few lucky winners each month, there’s a free T-shirt in it. Over at the developing oDeskGuide.com, Rikki John De Castro continues to create an independent resource for oDesk providers. Recently he offered a friend advice on dealing with a difficult buyer who kept demanding broad revisions on a fixed-priced project (check it out just for the cartoon about a web design project gone awry), and he finished January by celebrating his first $1,000 in earnings through oDesk. Congratulations, Rikki! … Read Full Article

Introducing Faceted Provider Search

February 24, 2010 by

Finding just the right oDesk providers got easier! We’ve unveiled a new advanced search box for Provider search to let you drill down into your search and find candidates who match more specific criteria. You can choose multiple categories, locations, and more. We have a lot more improvements planned for provider search, and we’d love to hear your feedback and feature requests. Read Full Article

Applying to a job just got a little easier

February 20, 2010 by

In response to provider feedback, we have redesigned the “Apply to Job” form to make it easier to send just the right application. All-new styling brings this form in line with our design direction and sets the stage for future updates and additions. Set your rate right in-line instead of after you submit the application; by default you enter your own pay rate, but you can also set the buyer charge rate (including oDesk fees) by clicking on it. Job qualification matching is smarter, too – if you don’t meet all of the buyer’s preferred qualifications, we tell you which ones We know there are plenty more opportunities to make this page better. Please speak up if there’s something you’d like added or changed. We are listening! … Read Full Article

And the Winner Is…

February 19, 2010 by

Thank you all for your fantastic entries in yesterday’s contest! Hearing about your oDesk milestones and successes was nothing short of inspiring. Some of our favorite entries were: #oWin #oDesk I’m finishing up another web design/development job today. Its great to work from home! oDesk Rocks! – @getterdonegurus made my first major withdrawal from @odesk on the day of my wedding last January 30! #oWin #oDesk – @alexis0fDreams Milestone: Was sitting at home this week and got an email from a former client who wanted more work from me. #oWin #oDesk – @dcrwrites Today I could die from an excess of work #odesk #oWin #happy – @kovalevd #odesk has catupulted my copywriting career, over 13 assignments I’m psyched!! – @Ironsunflower Working on overdrive to complete the latest project for my oDesk client for whom I have been working for the last year! #oWin – @sampathd Didnt notice that I have 3345 hrs in Odesk since August 2008,amazing how Odesk rocked my world and my bank acct #oWin #oDesk – @kmarvs23 And the winner – by random drawing – is….. Congratulations, @FoodTravelDiva! And thanks again to everyone who shared their amazing milestones – please keep us updated on your successes, we love to hear about how you are changing how the world works! Be sure to follow @oDesk on Twitter for the latest information on job and hiring trends, tips on successful remote work and more chances to win! … Read Full Article

#oDesk Twitter Contest – Your Odesk Milestones

February 18, 2010 by

It’s Thursday, and tweople are talking. What are they talking about? Your oDesk Milestones! They are talking, and YOU might be winning. What could you win? A $50 Amazon gift card and an oDesk t-shirt! Here’s the deal: Tweet about your oDesk Milestones. Passed a personal best for number of hours? Reached a thousand hours in record time? Been active on oDesk for ages now? Made some big $$ through oDesk? Share it! Add the hashtags: #oWin AND #oDesk Tweet (or re-tweet) by 11:59pm PT tonight. Every tweet (or re-tweet) is a new entry. Re-tweets count as entries for the original twitterer (so, if ten of your friends RT your original oDesk Milestone tweet, that’s ten entries for YOU!) Winner will be drawn at random for a $50 Amazon gift card and an oDesk t-shirt! Winner announcement will be made at 9:30am PT, Friday, February 19, 2010. @iamdjbrixx, @abhishekdesai, @AishaDansalRN and @tjlytle already have one entry each for kicking us off with their tweets this morning – how many entries will YOU have today? … Read Full Article

oDesk Notifications

February 16, 2010 by

One of the biggest complaints we get is “you guys send too much email!” And yet despite (or perhaps because of) all that email, it’s still easy to miss important things that happen in your oDesk account. With this in mind, we have developed a new system for notifying users about important account events: Notifications. Notifications are one-line news items, most of which link to a relevant destination within odesk.com. You get a notification whenever something potentially newsworthy happens with your oDesk account. For example, if I sent an offer to a provider, the provider would get a notification that read: Michael Levinson of Acme, Inc. contacted you about the job opening “Senior Web Developer”. If the provider accepts the offer, I would get notified with: John Smith’s assignment has started. Notifications cannot be “opened” or individually read or unread; we keep track of how many new notifications you have since you last viewed your notifications, that’s it. This makes them much easier to manage, similar to Facebook notifications. Right now there is an email sent for every notification, and if you opt out of an email, you opt out of the notification as well. Soon we’ll be implementing more advanced notifications preferences, and you’ll be able to choose for each type of notification, whether to receive an email, a notification, both, or neither. Notifications are currently in beta, and once we have polished all the content we will be phasing out “Account Alerts” and “Updates”, which today are redundant with the emails we send, and frankly, no one really reads them anyway… The Notifications tab is available in the Message Center. Read Full Article

Planned outages – February 13-14, 2010

February 11, 2010 by

oDesk will be switching datacenters on Saturday February 13, 2010 beginning 10:00AM PST (18:00 GMT/UTC). We’re making the change to enhance our hardware, increase capacity and improve uptime. During the datacenter migration oDesk.com and its services will be unavailable. Barring unforeseen complications, the entire process should be completed within two hours. Should challenges come up, we may need to go offline again for brief periods over the weekend to make corrections, and we will be sure to notify you if further downtime is needed. We apologize for the inconvenience but we are confident that this will result in an even better experience for our users. As is the case with all of our maintenance windows, we want to remind you that you can continue to log time to the last team you were logged into – your oDesk Team client will cache the time, memos and screenshots, and will upload those details to the server when the connection is restored. If you need to work for a different team during this time, please discuss with your buyer a need to potentially add offline time later. If you do work through the outage window, please check your Work Diary after oDesk.com resumes service to ensure your time was logged correctly and make any necessary adjustments. Read Full Article

oDesk Lends a Helping Hand to Vator Splash Finalists

February 8, 2010 by

Last week we were privileged to be able to attend the Vator Splash competition in San Francisco which was put on by the folks at Vator.tv. Vator is a leading platform for innovators and entrepreneurs to broadcast themselves, and a provider of news and information through VatorNews. The event gave entrepreneurs and up-and-coming, early-stage startups a chance to present a little about their companies and we were quite impressed! In an effort to do our part to help startups succeed, we’re extending a helping hand to each of the top 10 companies that presented at Vator Splash. We’re excited to show them how oDesk can help them build online workteams to save money and stay flexible. We’re excited to help and are looking forward to working with such an innovative group. Of the 176 companies that participated, here are the ten that received the most votes, in no particular order: Vidli Vidli is an online video licensor that allows users buy, sell, and rent streaming videos online. YourVersion YourVersion offers a free iPhone app and Firefox plugin for users who want to get relevant Web content delivered to them. It grows with the user the more they use it. AskYourTargetMarket.com AskYourTargetMarket offers a service for anybody looking to survey their target market on a simple platform where users can set up surveys, pick out exactly who they want to get information from, and pay as they go. Thumbtack.com Thumbtack.com is an online marketplace for local services where users can find anybody from handymen and cleaners to tutors and errand-runners. CinemaShares.com CinemaShares.com coins itself as, “crowdfunding for entertainment projects.” They sell single shares of stock in … Read Full Article

Introducing oDesk Team 3

January 28, 2010 by

As you may know, we have been doing a lot of work on our core oDesk Team desktop application. We are excited to announce that as of tonight, all oDesk Team users are being prompted to download oDesk Team 3. oDesk Team has gotten a complete overhaul, on Windows, Mac, and Linux. And, it’s not just for providers anymore – in addition to its original time tracking function, oDesk Team is now a virtual office, giving buyers useful new tools to make online work and management more successful. For Buyers Always-on visibility into your entire team. See who’s “in the office” right now, and what they’re working on. Chat! Instantly reach everyone in your team on one integrated platform. If they’re billing time, you can reach them.* Single launch point to oDesk tools. oDesk Team gives you links to the oDesk Work Diary, Reports, Tasks, and other oDesk tools directly from your desktop. Screensnap and ShortURL. Screensnap allows you to capture, annotate and instantly share screenshots right from the desktop; ShortURL converts long URLs to short ones for easy sharing over chat or email. For Providers The same automatic time tracking you currently enjoy, with some usability enhancements. Easily bill time to your buyer(s) and enjoy the oDesk payment guarantee with our “zero-click invoicing”. Chat! Instantly reach everyone in your team on one integrated platform.* A feeling of being in the same office as your colleagues. With the Team Room on your desktop, you get a real-time view into who is at work and what they’re working on, so you can connect, converse and collaborate. Screensnap and ShortURL. Screensnap allows you to capture, annotate and instantly share screenshots right from the desktop; ShortURL converts long URLs to short ones for easy sharing over chat or email. * A team … Read Full Article

Special Offer for Affiliate Summit Publishers: $100 towards your first oDesk hire.

January 18, 2010 by

oDesk is live at the Affiliate Summit and we just unveiled our exciting new payout plan for affiliate members.  Now we’re also announcing a special offer for Affiliate Summit publishers: $100 towards your first oDesk hire! So, how does it work?  It’s as easy as 1-2-3: 1) Join the oDesk Affiliate Program.  Go to www.odesk.com and click “Affiliates” in the footer, or find us in the B2B category on Commission Junction. 2) Sign up for oDesk and hire someone you like. 3) Send an email to hwalker@odesk.com with your CJ PID and your oDesk userID and we’ll credit your oDesk account with the cash. Whether you’re an affiliate marketer, affiliate program manager, independent website owner or an agency, oDesk is a great place to hire, manage and pay remote contractors from around the globe.  oDesk has over 400,000 providers with skill sets in areas such as web development, graphic design, blog writing, SEO/SEM, social media marketing, data entry and more. With workers available from all over the world, you’ll be surprised at how much work you can get done with $100! Our Affiliate Program payout terms are quite generous: We will pay you $50 for each new business you send us that signs up & verfies a credit card. We will pay you $0.50 for each freelancer you send us that applies for a job. We’re excited about the new oDesk Affiliate Program and are looking forward to working with new publishers and affiliate marketers, especially those attending Affiliate Summit with us!     … Read Full Article

oDesk Announces New Payout at Affiliate Summit

January 17, 2010 by

We’re excited to announce the new payout for the oDesk Affiliate Program and what better way to do so than live at the Affiliate Summit? In just a few short months since our new affiliate program was launched, we’ve already begun working with affiliate marketers to grow the oDesk community. Now we are even more excited to introduce our new and improved payout program for affiliate members. Publishers can use oDesk for all of their day-to-day needs, since oDesk is a great place to find web developers, graphic designers, blog writers, virtual assistants, and online marketers (SEO, PPC, and social media experts). So what’s new? We’ve expanded our payout to now include provider signups as well as buyers. Our new program terms are quite generous: We will pay affiliates $50 for each new business they send to oDesk that signs up & verifies a credit card. We will pay affiliates $.50 for each freelancer they send us that applies for a job.   You’ll find a variety of banner, text link, and flash options for affiliates to choose from as well as a list of recommended keywords to use in your online marketing campaigns. We’ve even created some APIs so affiliates can create custom sites using our job feeds – http://developers.odesk.com. So if you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to apply to the program and start sharing some of our success.Click here to get started now!   We’re excited about our program and hope you will be, too. We want to work closely with our affiliates and help them succeed, so if you have any ideas about how we can make our program better, let us know! Email affiliate-team@odesk.com. Read Full Article

TheFunded’s Founder Showcase

January 15, 2010 by

Last night, oDesk had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring TheFunded’s Founder Showcase, an event that allowed early stage companies from all over the world to pitch their ideas to an audience of venture capitalists, investors and industry experts. Events like this can be the break a fledgling business needs to get off the ground or move to the next level, giving these young companies a chance to be heard. All 12 presenting companies received a 250 dollar credit on oDesk. Timesight Systems Offers a scalable solution to video surveillance makes storing months of footage cost-effective for any business. Bonvoy Bonvoy is a Facebook application that allows  users to book trips at discounted rates and share their plans and experiences with their friends. Bonvoy also credits its users loyalty points that can be redeemed for prizes like iPhones. Contineo The medical space has been hot for years and Contineo promises to make connecting to a variety of back end medical systems a breeze with its  iPhone application. Health workers can easily view and update patient records from their mobile phones. Peerbelt Peerbelt is a search engine based on what you have searched for before giving you personalized  results based on your online search behavior. PrivateOnlineDating Distinguishing yourself in the online dating space is a tough job, but PrivateOnlineDating hopes to do so with an exclusive matchmaking algorithm, along with an emphasis on keeping its member profiles as private as possible. SnapitToMe SnapitToMe combines crowdsourcing and contests to bring high quality photos to anyone who needs a specific shot. ZeSecret ZeSecret can help you … Read Full Article

Holiday Haiku: Contest Results

December 18, 2009 by

Last week, we had asked everyone to submit their holiday haiku for a chance to win an Amazon Kindle. The response was amazing! We received hundreds of great entries, from profound to hilarious to absurd, which made it extremely tough to narrow down the list of entries, let alone select a winner. But we managed to get our rears in gear and put it to a company vote. Read Full Article

Spotlight Providers (December 2009)

December 17, 2009 by

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Adriana, Wojciech, Janet and Roman — you’ve earned this!   Adriana A Project manager | Web dev & Web designer | WordPress, WPMU & PHP dev Total oDesk Hours: 178 Overall Feedback: 4.98 (Based on 9 feedbacks) Comments: She was great throughout the entire process. She answered all of my questions and made built the website so I can make the changes as needed after. She held my hand and made sure I understood everything. Wojciech K (Affiliated with OXOS.pl) Ruby on Rails Developer, Jack of all Trades Total oDesk Hours: 1,662 Overall Feedback: 4.53 (Based on 12 feedbacks) Comments: Great all around developer. Wojeiech is very detailed and technically sound. We enjoyed his service and continue to look for great things from him. Janet S Experienced Filemaker Pro Developer Total oDesk Hours: 1,151 Overall Feedback: 4.73 (Based on 16 feedbacks) Comments: Wonderful working with Janet. She understood what we were looking for and delivered quickly and proficiently. I would hire her back in a heartbeat. Roman S (Affiliated with Shakuro ) Web Designer, Designer, Flash Total oDesk Hours: 2,551 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 29 feedbacks) Comments: Roman, the pixel ninja, is one of the best web designers that I have worked with. He was able to nail the site’s look and feel in record time. Spotlight Providers must have earned a 4.5+ feedback score with a glowing comment on an assignment in the past month, have a 4.0+ overall feedback score, an impressive profile, and a high quality individual portrait (not too blurry, no avatars). Only oDesk Ready public profiles … Read Full Article

Buzzworthy (December 2009)

December 17, 2009 by

Across many cultures, the end of the year is a time of reflection, celebration and appreciation. We’re certainly seeing a lot of that lately in the buzz around the oDesk community. Provider Sakin Shrestha was pretty happy to be listed as an oDesk Top-Ranked Freelancer at the same time his provider company, Digital Max Solutions, made the Top-Ranked Companies list. We’ve also got a blogger celebrating her first paycheck as an oDesk provider (“I feel awesome today.”), another looking at his first $100 earned on oDesk (“It is one of my dreams to become a freelancer and now I am …”), and a third beaming about her first oDesk assignment. If gift-giving comes to mind in December, Rikki John de Castro is offering something for the whole community: oDeskGuide.com, a site he created to provide tips and information for oDesk users, and the occasional “coffee break” fun. We’ll be very interested to watch the new site develop, and we hope Rikki and his readers create a great added resource for us all! Remember, if you’re blogging about oDesk, send us a link to buzz@odesk.com — our favorite bloggers every month receive free oDesk T-shirts, the gift that keeps on giving! To everyone who has helped make 2009 a banner year for oDesk, we hope oDesk helped contribute to a banner year of your own. We wish you the happiest of holidays and continued success in 2010! … Read Full Article

Emailing your team is only one click away

December 16, 2009 by

oDesk has been recently enhancing the Message Center, and today we release our latest improvement: allowing users to send a message to their entire team through the Message Center. Why we’re excited… Firstly, the Message Center contains all oDesk communications. You can also set your preferences to receive a copy of your Message Center messages in your personal email. Secondly, for those who choose to not share their personal info outside of oDesk, communicating only through the Message Center is the solution. You don’t have to know team members’ email/Skype/messenger addresses in order to contact them – you can just send team members a message directly from the Team Room. How does it work? 1. From your Team Room, click “Send Message to Team”. 2. A message box will pop-up that contains a list of all your current team members which you can add to and delete from as needed. 3. Add an attachment, if needed. 4. As soon as you hit “Send” the message will go to each team member’s Message Center inbox, where they can reply to you directly or share their response with the entire team. Depending on each user’s Message Center Preferences, a copy of the message may be sent to their personal email too. Are you excited about this new feature, too? Got ideas for making the Message Center even better? Let us know at feedback.odesk.com! … Read Full Article

Find the job you want – Phase II – Saved Searches & Job Alert Emails

December 15, 2009 by

Two months ago oDesk released a new job search page and today we’re excited to follow up with the next step – new job alert emails. The new system gives providers an ability to save their job searches.  Additionally this gives full control over what job alert emails they receive by marking saved job searches as emailed job alerts. We did so to make job alerts more relevant and help providers increase their chances of getting a positive response to applications. So what’s the difference? Until now, you signed up for email alerts by job category (and subcategory) and received alerts for all jobs posted to each and every category you’ve checked as an interest on your profile. In place of the categories as the basis for learning about new jobs posted in the marketplace, the new system uses the alerts on search queries you save. Because the new saved search queries are more specific than the old job alerts, you’ll be able to receive results from up to ten saved searches in a combined daily email. Additional searches can be saved for 1-click access from job search results, but will not be included in your email. And don’t worry, we’re not taking away the ability to save searches to RSS feeds – they’re still the best option for those who want to receive alerts of new jobs as they’re posted. What do I need to do? Activating your new job alert emails is quite simple: Go to the job search page and run a search with your desired criteria. Save the job search and check “Email me updates to this search” for those searches you’d like to receive daily alerts. You may mark up to 10 searches to include in your daily alert email. If you … Read Full Article

New Standard Sizing for Profile Photos

December 15, 2009 by

In our continued effort to improve site layout and usability, today we’re introducing standard sizing of profile photos. Profile photos will now be cropped square and rendered at 100×100, 50×50 and 32×32 pixels, depending on where they are displayed. Why did we do this? Better performance – pages such as provider profiles and the team room will load faster, thanks to lighter, standardized image sizes Consistency – page layouts will be better organized and easier on the eye Compliance with conventions – images and pages will look more like what you typically see on social networks such as Facebook Flexibility – the new image standard is optimized for the oDesk Team desktop application and APIs How does it affect me? If you’re happy with your current photo as it appears in your profile and provider search results, no action is needed If you’d like to change your photo to better fit the new square standard, simply upload a new one in your account settings page [https://www.odesk.com/account.php] The bottom line is, for most users, the cropping will barely be noticeable. But if your profile portrait isn’t in line with the identity policy (no logos, no group pics, etc.) now would be the perfect time to fix it. Questions or concerns? Join the discussion in the community forum. [http://www.odesk.com/community/node/9608] … Read Full Article

The Benefits of Full-Time Work, The Flexibility of Freelancing

December 14, 2009 by

oDesk Staffing gives U.S.-based freelancers access to group health coverage options, retirement plans and education savings accounts, in addition to the automatic billing and guaranteed payment enjoyed by all oDesk users. The new service also lets businesses take advantage of oDesk's guaranteed accurate billing and overall savings on contractor hiring costs, while maintaining compliance with IRS regulations in wide range of contract work scenarios. Read Full Article

Making hiring easier, part two: “Make Offer”

December 8, 2009 by

A month ago, we launched a new hire confirmation screen. It set the stage for a series of feature enhancements designed to make hiring on oDesk easier. Today we launch the second, and much more important, in the series. We call it “Make Offer”. What problem are we addressing? Today, there are only two ways to hire a provider: you can hire an applicant from your candidate list, or you can “direct hire” a provider by clicking the “Hire” button on their profile. The latter requires first posting a job. If you already know who you want to hire, you have to find them in the network, post a job if you don’t already have one, and then hire them. In addition, there is nothing stopping a buyer from hiring a provider he’s never talked to before, which can be disconcerting for the provider, to say the least! With “Make Offer”, buyers can now propose specific engagement terms to a provider. The provider can accept or decline the terms. How can this feature be used? (1) Easily rehire a provider you’ve worked with before. To rehire someone you’ve hired before, go to the “Ended Assignments” tab and click “rehire”. You may use the same terms as the previous engagement, or propose new ones. (2) Bringing your own provider to oDesk. If you connect with someone outside of oDesk and want to hire them into your oDesk team, you can use the Invite User function, then go to the Team Room and click the new “Hire” link. All team members without active assignments will now have this link. It is still a two-step process but it’s a lot easier than before, and we’ll be making it even easier soon. (3) “Direct Hire” from the marketplace. As of today, provider profiles no … Read Full Article

Introducing oDesk Team 3: a virtual office on your desktop (beta)

December 8, 2009 by

We are pleased to announce the release of oDesk Team 3 beta – an all-new version of our desktop time-tracking application. oDesk Team is the core technology powering the oDesk model of online hourly work, and our unique payment guarantee. Historically, only providers used oDesk Team. However, we have completely redesigned the application to be more useful for both providers and buyers. oDesk Team 3 beta is your virtual office, giving you useful new tools to make your online work and management more successful. For buyers … Read Full Article

Holiday Haiku: Tweet Yours For An Amazon Kindle

December 7, 2009 by

‘Tis the season for giving, and we’re giving away an Amazon Kindle! There’s a catch, though – we need you to get in touch your inner poet by sending us a haiku! For those unfamiliar with the art of Haiku, it’s a form of Japanese poetry that includes 3 lines (convenient for Twitter), each with a determined syllable count: Line 1: Five syllables Line 2: Seven syllables Line 3: Five syllables For the purposes of our contest, syllable counting is important, rhyming isn’t! From now until December 16th, follow @oDesk on Twitter and tweet your haiku in the following format – be sure to include the hashtag #oHaiku and slashes to separate your lines: oDesk is giving | Away an awesome Kindle | Must re-tweet A-SAP #oHaiku Be funny, get creative, get festive, get philosophical, anything goes! Official oHaiku Contest Rules You must live in one of the 169 countries (listed here) where the Kindle is available You must be following @oDesk on Twitter Your entry must be submitted via Twitter Your tweet must be in the form of a Haiku (5/7/5 format), rhyming is not necessary Your tweet must include the hashtag at the end: #oHaiku Enter as many times as you want Your tweet must be received before 11:59PM PST (GMT-8) on December 16th, 2009 One winner will be selected and announced by Friday, December 18th, 2009 So what are you waiting for? Follow @oDesk and start sending your entries in! … Read Full Article

Buyers: oDesk Experts Holding Live Office Hours

November 30, 2009 by

Join us for an office hour, in which we’ll answer your questions about how to work on oDesk. This is no prepared webinar — every session will be your questions, our experts’ answers, live. Advanced buyers and first-timers are invited. Go here for more information and a complete list of times — and then step into our office! … Read Full Article