The Freelance Economy according to oDesk: Improve Your Job Search

February 18, 2009 by

Still sick of hearing dreadful news every day about the U.S. economy?  Earlier this month, we provided some rare good news when we reported on the acceleration of U.S. freelance job growth.  Today, we're going dig deeper into our data to try to provide a fair & balanced assessment on the state of the Freelance Economy.  We are going to answer three questions: 1)    Is outsourcing growing or shrinking as companies are tightening their belts in the recession? 2)    Is competition for freelance jobs heating up? 3)    If so, are wages being depressed? As a marketplace for online workteams, we keep close tabs on outsourcing trends, including growth, wage statistics, and country-by-country comparisons.  We share as much of this data as possible with our community of businesses & freelancers in our oConomy. This analysis is based off of oConomy data. 1. The growth of outsourcing Jobs aren't just being slashed these days — they're being clearcut like an old-growth forest. Yet work still has to get done, which is why freelancing and outsourcing continue to grow at a furious rate. With unemployment rates at their highest in 15 years, more skilled professionals are looking for freelance work, and leaner companies are looking to outsource functions rather than hire more full-time staff. The bottom line: Last year, outsourcing on oDesk nearly tripled. This broad-based trend, stretching across continents, had an interesting twist — a resurgence of homeshoring, in which U.S. buyers outsource to U.S. providers.  We reported on this trend earlier this month.  Notice that growth in the amount of work done in the U.S. was faster relative to other countries known for outsourcing, like India and Russia: We concluded that higher satisfaction rates … Read Full Article

oDesk crosses milestone & unveils new oConomy

February 16, 2009 by

We're a little obsessed with analytics here at oDesk. We start each day with a vigorous round of "Daily Predictions." The rules of the game: Guess how many hours of work will be logged worldwide on oDesk that day (ending 4 pm Pacific time). Players must log their guesses in a Google doc by noon, and no one can pick a total within 20 hours of anyone else’s guess. Don’t even ask about the disciplinary procedures for sneaking in after lunch and changing your guess — they involve severe public shaming.  The winner gets bragging rights, his or her name in the official “winners column,” and the (grudging) admiration of colleagues. This is not a game for the faint of heart. Each of us has developed a personal algorithm, taking into account such variables as the number of hours already logged a the deadline approaches, the percent increase over the same day and time from the week before, and which guesses have already been claimed by rivals. It’s amazing that any work gets done before noon. Last week was an especially exciting for this pulse-pounding mental sport.  We crossed 10,000 online hours in a single day for the first time on Tuesday.  What does 10,000 hours mean?  That’s five man-years of work logged on oDesk in a single day. We couldn't have crossed this important milestone without you – the more than 200,000 buyers and providers in 150 countries, so thanks for building our success, and for giving us a thrilling afternoon.  Imagine if we had money riding on this game. When we’re not swimming through our data for fun and sport, we’re crunching numbers to better serve our community.  We always like to be transparent, and like to share data … Read Full Article

Joomla vs Drupal - Battle of the CMSes

February 11, 2009 by

Today we’re going to look at the growth of Content Management Systems, software packages that allow non-technical users to make changes to existing websites with little or no HTML training.  Joomla and Drupal are the two most popular CMSes on oDesk.  Earlier this month, we listed both of these platforms among our skills with the fastest growing demand of 2008, showing that they are more relevant than ever.  WordPress topped that list, but we’re considering it a blogging platform for the time being.  Now, let’s take a look at trends in Joomla and Drupal. There are currently 4,695 Joomla developers on oDesk, and 201 open jobs.  Joomla has shown steady growth over the last two years, from 300 jobs posted per month at the start of 2008 to over 500 today.  The average Joomla job size is 125 hours. There are about half as many Drupal developers (2,212) and jobs (108) on oDesk, but the average job is almost twice the size, at 234 hours.  Drupal, too, has shown steady growth from 125 jobs posted per month last year to 250 today. So, Drupal jobs have half the frequency and are twice the length, which may point to the platform being used more by larger enterprises, vs. smaller projects for smaller businesses for Joomla.  Although there are fewer Drupal jobs for providers to choose from, it seems to be much less competitive of a skill.  In fact, it made our list of the top 10 skills with the least competition and most opportunity, which we published in December. In any case, it looks like both Joomla and Drupal have sizable communities and continue to grow.  Providers with PHP … Read Full Article

Freelance Job Growth Accelerates in the U.S.

February 2, 2009 by

Are you sick of hearing dreadful news every day about the U.S. economy?  40,000 job cuts here, 15,000 layoffs there.  Unemployment potentially rising to 10% in this recession.  Fortunately, we have some good news for Americans today. We see over 11,000 jobs posted every month, and historically many of those jobs have gone offshore to lower-cost countries.  But, oDesk is a free market, and over the past year we've seen a resurgence in homeshoring, or U.S. companies outsourcing to U.S.-based talent. Why is this the case?  While rates are higher for U.S. providers, feedback scores tend to be higher, too. Work done in the U.S. grew at a rate of 367% from 2007 to 2008, 50% faster than oDesk's overall rate of growth. This growth was faster relative to other countries known for outsourcing, like India and Russia. One driver for offshore outsourcing has been the lower cost of living in other countries like the Philippines and Ukraine.  Software developers and other skilled professionals in these countries require less income than their counterparts in the U.S.  As seen in the chart below, the U.S. average hourly rate is more than $6 higher than our average. In fact, when we break U.S. rates into job categories, we see that they are actually rising in skilled categories like software development. So then why are businesses choosing to outsource their jobs to U.S.-based providers?  One possible explanation is that there are more U.S. providers today, providing buyers a wider variety of U.S.-based skills and experience, than ever before. In December alone, over 20,000 new U.S. providers signed up on oDesk, the largest monthly percentage increase (over 40%) that we have seen since 2005.  Other possible reasons could be better ability to co-ordinate due … Read Full Article

Кто самый трудолюбивый?

January 30, 2009 by

На прошлой неделе мы немного поиграли с цифрами, вычисляя, какая из стран предлагает лучшее соотношение «цена-качество» на рынке фрилансерских услуг. На этой неделе мы решили поискать ответ на другой вопрос – кто самый трудолюбивый? Чтобы это выяснить, мы опять обратились к нашей статистике. Один из самых простых способов определить степень трудолюбия, это посмотреть, сколько люди работают. Итак, сначала мы посмотрели на среднее количество часов, отработанных пользователями каждой из 7 стран, возглавляющих наш список, в 2008 г. – всего за год, и по дням. Часов/активных пользователей Место Часов/день в 2008* Место Россия 399 1 4.9 2 Украина 308 2 4.5 3 Индия 266 3 5.0 1 Пакистан 241 4 4.0 4 Филиппины 218 5 3.4 5 Канада 142 6 3.1 6 США 89 7 2.8 7 *Общее количество часов, отработанных активными пользователями в каждой из стран, поделенное на количество отработанных человеко-часов. Пользователи из России возглавляют список по количеству часов в год, и занимают второе место по количеству часов в день. Причин, по которым некоторые пользователи работают больше, чем другие, несколько. Пользователи с высоким рейтингом, скорее всего, работают больше, потому что меньше времени тратят на поиск работы (Россия занимает середину списка из этих 7 стран со своим средним баллом в 4.30 из 5). Так же, пользователи, работающие над продолжительным проектом, работают больше, чем те, которые заняты краткосрочным заданием. Кроме того, пользователи с более низкой почасовой ставкой, как правило, работают большее количество часов (средняя ставка пользователей из России - $16.86, и она находится в более дорогой части спектра). В дополнение к количеству отработанных часов, мы также рассмотрели усилия пользователей по прохождению квалификационных тестов. Эти тесты позволяют пользователям продемонстрировать потенциальным заказчикам свой опыт в разных областях. Мы исходим из того, что вероятно, что те, кто проходит больше тестов и получает по ним более высокие баллы, также более трудолюбив. Пройденных тестов … Read Full Article

Do Russians Work the Hardest?

January 29, 2009 by

The week before last, we had some fun with numbers by calculating which countries offer the best "value for money" in providing freelance work.  This week, we thought we'd try to answer a different question - who works the hardest?  To figure that out, we again dug through our data on individuals' work activity on oDesk. One straightforward way to measure hard work is to look at how much people are working.  So, we began by looking at the average number of hours worked by service providers in each of our top 7 countries in 2008, total and per day. Hours/active provider in 2008 Rank Hours/day worked in 2008* Rank Russia 399 1 4.9 2 Ukraine 308 2 4.5 3 India 266 3 5.0 1 Pakistan 241 4 4.0 4 Philippines 218 5 3.4 5 Canada 142 6 3.1 6 United States 89 7 2.8 7 *Total hours worked by active service providers in each country divided by man-days worked Russian providers top the list in terms of hours per year, and came in 2nd for hours per day. There are several reasons why some providers may work more than others.  Providers with higher customer satisfaction scores may work more hours because they spend less time looking for work (Russians' average feedback score of 4.30 falls in the middle of the spectrum of these 7 countries).  Similarly, providers working on longer-term projects tend to work more hours than those working on shorter gigs.  Finally, providers with lower hourly rates tend to work more hours (Russia's average hourly rate of $16.86 is towards the more expensive side of the spectrum). In addition to the number of hours worked, we also considered individuals' efforts in qualification tests.  These tests allow providers to demonstrate proficiency in various … Read Full Article

Demand for Linux Surges

January 22, 2009 by

So here we are in 2009 and if you haven't been living under a rock, you know that you are no longer stuck with the choice between just Windows and Mac.  A third operating system, Linux, has edged its way into the mainstream, propagated by a passionate group of Linux developers. Today we are going to examine the growth of Linux from oDesk's perspective (oDesk is a marketplace for online workteams), looking at supply and demand for Linux-related freelance work and the geographies it is taking place in. Today, oDesk typically has 175-200 jobs posted per month with the "Linux" keyword in them.  A yearly snapshot of this metric shows serious growth. Year # of Jobs* 2006 128 2007 796 2008 2014 *Job openings with "Linux" as a keyword Linux jobs are clearly on the rise, but a more interesting piece of trivia is that there are currently 87 open jobs with the keyword “Linux," compared to 134 jobs with “Windows” and 43 jobs with "Mac." This indicates a 32% market share for Linux among new jobs, significantly higher than the 12.7% share of the server market and 1-2% share of the desktop market that Linux owns according to Wikipedia.  Of course, to suggest that Linux truly has a 32% market share on oDesk is aggressive; many job posters do not specify that they prefer Windows — it's just assumed.  But perhaps this is a leading indicator of Linux’s continued growth on oDesk. Job Market Share on oDesk (linux, windows, mac) Looking at which countries are embracing Linux, we see the United States dominates in both posting Linux jobs and providing Linux professional services.  But, this may be … Read Full Article

Women are 3.5% better than men

January 20, 2009 by

We don't want to start a battle of the sexes with that headline, but we spent an afternoon playing around with the age-old — and often controversial — idea that men and women are not the same.  In the world of remote work, though, many of the perceived differences between genders shouldn't come into play, right?  When all you're seeing is the final product of someone you're never going to meet face-to-face, all our cultural programming, habits and stereotypes shouldn't matter: all the employer sees is the work.  With that in mind, we decided to check feedback scores to see whether there's any perceived difference between the work done on oDesk by men and women. Trouble is, oDesk doesn't collect gender info from our remote providers — so we had to do it the hard way.  We took a sampling of 3,000 providers and divided the likely men (the Marks, Dmitriys, and Sanjays) from the likely women (the Jennifers, Olgas, Priyankas).  We threw out the names that could go either way (Robins, Shannons, Valeriys).  Here's what we got: # of Providers % of Total Female 580 17.29% Male 2774 82.71% The sample suggests that men outnumber women on oDesk by four to one.  Not surprising, since most of the professionals on oDesk are tech-related (like php programmers & ruby on rails programmers), and the engineering gender gap is well-known.  According to the National Science Foundation, fewer than 20 percent of engineering graduates in the U.S. are women. However, it’s quality that we’re interested in, not quantity, so let's look at the feedback provided by employers to their freelance professionals: Average Feedback* Female 4.404 Male 4.255 *These averages were computed with a standard error of 0.049, and are statistically significant with a p-value … Read Full Article

Philippines & Pakistan top oDesk’s “value for money” outsourcing rankings

January 16, 2009 by

Today we’re going to have some fun with numbers by trying to calculate “value for money” between countries in hiring contractors to your workteam. The following table summarizes oDesk’s average hourly rates and feedback scores in each of our top 7 provider countries. United States Pakistan Ukraine Canada Russia Philippines India Avg Hourly Rate-Overall $18.32 $11.13 $15.96 $19.60 $16.86 $6.33 $12.52 Avg Hourly Rate-Developers* $29.99 $10.30 $16.61 $21.49 $17.60 $11.27 $13.25 Avg Hourly Rate-Data Entry* $7.91 $3.07 $5.38 $10.90 $15.86 $3.15 $2.81 Avg Feedback Score 4.4 4.36 4.36 4.32 4.31 4.3 4.01 *We’ve only broken out the rates for software development and data entry; there are many other categories of work on oDesk that aren’t listed here. Looking at this data, it’s obvious that there is much greater variance in average hourly rates ($6.33 to $19.60) than feedback scores (4.01 to 4.40). We therefore scale the numbers to percentiles to compare between countries. We then do a quick-and-dirty calculation, averaging the percentiles, and finally rank the countries to determine their relative “value for money.” Average Feedback Percentile Average Rate Percentile “Value for money” (avg AFP, ARP) “Value for money” ranking "Value for money" ranking-Developers "Value for money" ranking-Data Entry Philippines 74 100 87 1 2 2 Pakistan 90 64 77 2 1 1 Ukraine 90 27 59 3 3 3 United States 100 10 55 4 6 4 Russia 77 21 49 5 4 7 Canada 79 0 40 6 5 5 India 0 53 27 7 7 6 The results ... the Philippines and Pakistan rank the highest in this admittedly simplistic analysis, which must be taken with a grain of salt. There are many factors to be taken into consideration when hiring contractors to your workteams. But, in the meantime, congratulations to providers in these … Read Full Article

What’s Hot? Skills with Fastest Growing Demand in 2008

January 8, 2009 by

. We are going to take a look today at the technologies or skills that enjoyed the greatest percentage increase in 2008 by keywords listed in job postings on oDesk. The numbers in the table below show the number of job postings on oDesk in which the skills were listed as “required,” and their relative increase from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008. You will notice some variance in the numbers between the table and the charts below as the numbers on the charts show keyword mentions in the job post titles, not required skills. Skill/Experience Openings Last 60 Days 2007 Openings Last 60 Days 2008 Change WordPress 37 195 427.0% Writing* 32 138 331.3% Excel* 30 118 293.3% SEO 73 250 242.5% XHTML 24 61 154.2% Linux 23 58 152.2% Drupal 70 169 141.4% Joomla 157 352 124.2% CSS 119 250 110.1% Graphic Design* 20 42 110.0% *Because writing, graphic design, and excel have small starting points, we believe their change reflects oDesk growth, not a general trend. Since oDesk is a job board for freelance and contract technical jobs, the numbers here may vary from permanent placement job data. There are definitely other skills that are in more demand as noted here and here but these skills represent the greatest increase by percentage in 2008. Blogging seems to dominate as a tech growth area in 2008. Demand for WordPress designers has increased by more than 4 times. Demand for freelance writers, a good portion of which are online or blog related, more than tripled. Website (or blog) development and design show up elsewhere on our list with strong demand growth shown for SEO consultants, XHTML designers,  … Read Full Article

Stay Employed - Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity

December 22, 2008 by

. Due to the popularity of our Web Developer Skills in Most Demand post last week, we thought we would follow up with more interesting information from the oDesk Trends vaults to assist you develop your resume to stay employed in these challenging economic times. Last week we looked at the base number of job postings for various web technologies and skills over the past year on the oDesk job boards. This week, we will look at various skills and technologies and the competition, or lack thereof, for them. A look at the supply compared to the demand. . In viewing these numbers, keep in mind this is for oDesk which is primarily concerned with placement for freelance and contract positions. As noted by some of our .NET and Java brethren from the previous post's comment section, this may vary with respect to full time placement numbers. We think the data is useful to all. . In looking at the table below we give you three columns, one with the skill or technology, the second with the average jobs posted per month and the last with the Fill ratio below average. The Fill Ratio Below Average will show the competition for these postings as these jobs are not getting filled at our usual rate. A high number indicates great job opportunities whereas a 0% score indicates all those jobs get filled at our usual rate. Anything not on this list is getting filled at a high rate indicating above average competition for the skill or … Read Full Article

Stay Employed - Web Developer Skills in Most Demand (PHP, AJAX, MySQL ...)

December 16, 2008 by

                       While these may not be a great revelation to many, included below are the web development skills that will get you employed now and by all evidences of their growth, for the foreseeable future. Knowing and being professional in at least some of the skills below to maximize your prospects for being employed.                      In looking at these graphs, keep in mind that oDesk is a growing site so even a flat trend is a potential sign of decreasing demand.    PHP PHP is by far the most in-demand web development programming language right now. As you can see from the graph, it has enjoyed a steady climb from November 2007 leveling off in July 2008 at a spectacular 1400 jobs posted. The demand for PHP development work has tripled over the period of a mere 9 months. AJAX The demand for developers with AJAX in their resume or portfolio is also in high demand as the average web page has evolved well beyond animated icons, the presentation and need for a smooth user experience in the front end is more and more essential. The skill enjoyed very similar growth to PHP above from November 2007 to July 2008 where it leveled off holding at around 450 job postings.  Javascript   As with the 2 skills above, Javascript enjoys high demand and has a similar shape in demand over the past year. As of November 2008, Javascript demand is steady at 400 after a slight decline since July 2008 but overall demand has doubled over the year.  XML XML is very dominant in web job postings and would seem like a relatively short … Read Full Article

Android Getting Slaughtered by iPhone

December 11, 2008 by

A good gauge of the strength of a platform is the trend in demand for development on that platform. Since cell phones are becoming fully featured handheld personal computers, the availability of cool and useful applications they offer will be the battleground by which these platforms will claim their ownership of the cell phone market. oDesk’s programming skill trends show the demand for application development across almost 80 different skills.  You can get an interesting look at the iPhone’s strong initial and continuously increasing demand.  See the full rankings and trends for iPhone Developers                   As you can see in the graph above, we had 40 jobs posted per month in the 3 months from March until June. This shows a very strong belief in Apple and its future as well as a validation of the power of its public relations department in generating strong buzz. This is followed by a dramatic increase in demand for iPhone developers over the next 6 months to 160 jobs per month posted for iPhone application development. Apple “Talked the talk” and then “Walked the walk” by delivering, as it did with the iPod, a product that people wanted to use.  Google is less aggressive in its release of new products and features. In many cases we are lucky to get a Google blog post on a new product or feature.  Android is not strictly “Google’s” as it is open source and is merely backed by Google. It is not a Google “product” but we can’t help put them together. The first Android-powered phone snuck out with nowhere … Read Full Article

The oDesk Manifesto – Don’t settle for less than you deserve

November 25, 2008 by

As anyone who has been tracking oDesk already knows, our community is growing rapidly. In fact, we just passed $50 million in services rendered on oDesk. Kudos to our providers and buyers; we couldn't have done that without you! Today we released the oDesk Manifesto for Online Work, the first and only such bill of rights for buyers and providers. Our goal is to show the world that online work is just as viable as traditional work. And since we think oDesk has the best business model for both buyers and providers, we're publishing this Manifesto to prove it. oDesk is the only company to offer guaranteed payment to providers and guaranteed work to buyers. The Manifesto is a declaration to professionals who sell their services through the Internet marketplace and the companies that hire them: Don't settle for less than you deserve. Check our press release for more information. Read Full Article

oDesk Achieves 3X Growth in 12 Months

September 26, 2008 by

As anyone who has been keeping track of the oConomy will already know, oDesk is growing rapidly.  Yesterday we announced some exciting milestones including the fact that the value of work done through oDesk has nearly tripled in each of the past two years.  In addition: Over 110,000 professionals from 100 countries now offer their services on oDesk with the addition of 86,000 new providers in just 12 months.  Over 50,000 jobs have been filled at an average hourly job size of 390 hours.  Over 190,000 qualification tests have been taken by more than 55,000 oDesk providers Over 3,000,000 work hours have been logged on oDesk, with 55,000 logged within the last week alone What's driving the growth?  We think word-of-mouth has a lot to do with it, so a huge "oThank you" to everyone who has helped to spread the word. See the full announcement here. Read Full Article

oDesk Perspective: Project Managers

May 20, 2008 by

Most buyers post their first job to fill a skill or budget gap on a particular project. You find a skilled worker or two and get the project taken care of. But success breeds success - as your needs grow, you hire more providers. Suddenly you're managing a growing remote team, which may be more demanding than you'd anticipated. If you're feeling overwhelmed trying to keep your remote team in motion, use oDesk to hire a project manager (PM). A good PM minimizes the direct management required on your part, so you can leverage your time and expertise more wisely. To hire a PM using oDesk you've got two options: Search for new candidates, or promote someone who looks promising from your existing team. Either way, you're looking for exceptional communication skills, business savvy, leadership experience, and technical expertise. oDesk's network includes both independent contractors and provider companies with dozens of affiliated contractors working under the same roof. If you hire your PM from a provider company, he will tend to hire from within his company. The downside is that, arguably, there may be better-qualified people for a specific task elsewhere on our network. The upside is that while you are remote, your PM could be on location with his team members, allowing closer management. Plus, a large provider company can quickly move the right people in and out of your team as the project requires. Once you select your PM, take the time to provide her with in-depth training on your projects. Give your PM ìhiring managerî or ìrecruiterî privileges (in the Team Admin section of My oDesk) and ask her to build your team. Pay attention to whom she interviews and hires and why - discuss how she handles initial recruiting decisions, and offer guidance as needed. Set … Read Full Article

Explosive growth in the Philippines

May 15, 2008 by

A recent internal analysis at oDesk yielded some pretty interesting trends within our own network. We were looking at the total hours worked by all providers and were segmenting the hours by various different criteria. One of the most startling trends we found was the growth in hours worked by providers from the Philippines. The number of hours worked in Philippines has grown 4x in just 4 months. The amazing thing to us is the fully viral expansion of work that's going on in this country. We have not changed anything about our acquisition strategy in the Philippines so this is true word-of-mouth growth. Kudos to the providers that are driving this rapid expansion. Here's a few top providers: … Read Full Article

Weekend Warriors are Worth Less

April 14, 2008 by

As part of our ongoing marketing efforts at oDesk, we have a pretty substantial Google Adwords campaign set up. I was reviewing some of the data today and we noticed that for all campaigns, the conversion ratios (% of visitors that sign up for an account) were highest on Saturdays. A little unexpected, but an interesting finding. Google allows you to tailor your campaigns by automatically adjusting your bid amounts by day of week. Seems like it would be appropriate to increase our bid amounts on Saturdays so we capitalize on this increased conversion ratio. Or maybe not? I was wondering why conversion ratio was higher on the weekend so I decided to take a look at oDesk data for job postings over the last few months. I took a look at over 10,000 jobs posted and analyzed results based on a few simple criteria. First, I wanted to understand the distribution of types of jobs posted by day. I put together all the results in Excel and did a pivot table on the day of week. Note that for all of the following charts, 1 = Monday, 7 = Sunday. This first chart shows the total ratio of fixed price jobs posted on the oDesk network by the day of week. Sundays apparently have the highest percentage of fixed price jobs. Ok, so clearly there is a small bias toward fixed price jobs on the weekends. What about job size? The following chart shows the average estimated hours for hourly jobs (estimated hours = estimated workload in hours per week * estimated duration in weeks). Note that durations over 100 weeks are rounded down to 100 weeks. Clearly, hourly jobs tend to be smallest on Sundays. Ok, we're starting to see a trend here. Let's … Read Full Article

Feedback systems: principles and issues

March 4, 2008 by

Let's talk about feedback systems. In the early days of oDesk (read: 2005), we didn't have a feedback system in place and I remember being on sales calls where almost every potential customer said, "You know, you guys should build a feedback system. Like eBay." And it's not surprising; feedback systems are such a fundamental part of making an online marketplace work that it sticks out like a sore thumb if you don't have one. Feedback systems in online marketplaces are designed to improve the user experience as a whole by allowing users to establish their own reputation and review the reputation of others. Users submit feedback on other users and relay their positive or negative experience so others can review feedback before entering into a transaction or relationship. In theory, it all works great. But it depends on a few key principles: 1) Identity Verification - what if any user could create multiple profiles? Well, then there's not enough motivation to maintain a positive reputation. If I receive a negative feedback score, no worries, I'll just create a new profile. Problem solved. 2) Transparency - what if people could leave feedback and comments, but others couldn't see that feedback? Well, that wouldn't do much good. If a user has received some negative feedback, others need to know about it. 3) Accuracy - the feedback that users leave on the system must be accurate. This seems simple, but in reality is quite complex. There are a lot of factors that go into a user's decision about whether or not to leave positive or negative feedback. 4) Consistency - users should all "grade" the same. If a user is just a particularly tough critic, it might throw things off. For the vast majority of cases, … Read Full Article

oDesk Perspective (February 2008)

February 20, 2008 by

This month, we launched the oConomy, a rich database that aims to maps out the oDesk global community. Check out the oConomy counter, tallying total service spending on projects via oDesk — more than $23 million and climbing! You can see how many providers are currently in our network, and even how many are working on projects right now. See how many jobs went up in the last 24 hours, and how big our provider network has become. Understand global rate trends and statistics. View averages and distributions or rates by country. Buyers can see whether the providers they're interviewing are in line with the global market, and providers can set their rates based on expertise in comparison with their peers. Feedback stats chart the steady climb of buyer satisfaction since oDesk launched. Chart the rising expertise of our provider network: Test statistics show you how many times providers have taken our skills tests — and how many times they've passed. Where is everyone? Our global map of providers lets you click any of 90 countries to see how many providers are there, and check out their average rates and feedback scores. See which countries offer the best rates and earn the highest feedback. Russia, one of our largest provider bases, has 1,403 providers averaging $15 an hour and feedback scores of 4.1, while China hosts 229 providers, averaging $16 an hour and 4.5 in feedback. Which top provider companies are the best choices for larger staffing needs? Which top-ranked providers give buyers the most satisfaction? What do the latest job post stats tell you about the market you're hiring or working in? We're still unleashing the power of the oConomy, … Read Full Article

oDesk launches the oConomy

February 6, 2008 by

While the US economy might be going into recession, I'm bullish on the oConomy. We're excited to announce the launch of the "oConomy", a feature that publicly shares data from the oDesk network on hourly wages, feedback, jobs, and certification tests. We scoured through our internal database in order to offer a valuable resource for both buyers and providers to understand global trends and lead to more successful remote work relationships. The oConomy summarizes trends based on record $22.5 million (and counting!) of work completed on oDesk. The oConomy data covers more than 1,600,000 hours of work completed by over 47,000 providers from over 90 countries. One of the first things we wanted to do when analyzing all of the data was to provide a helpful world map with details on service providers by country. For buyers - it can be intimidating to select candidates for their job and we hope the Google Maps mashup helps shed some light on the hiring situation. For providers - we hope this map can help set expectations and serve as a helpful comparison point for their individual rates and skills against their peers. Among some of the other insights offered in the oConomy: • Indonesian Providers Earn Highest Average Feedback Scores (for countries with over 100 feedbacks) • The Average oDesk Pay Rate Is $14/Hour • Experience Is A Strong Predictor Of Job Performance Here are just some of the many things you can see in the new oConomy: Top ranked provider companies on oDesk. The current top 10 are: ISS Art Impinge Solutions SoftProdigy SOFTREACTOR LLC InterLink Aarthika UshaTech Waverley Software DevelopmentMill Galindo … Read Full Article

Power of Community Feedback

January 30, 2008 by

So, as you may know, oDesk offers 100 free online certification tests available to users to prove their skills. Rewind 1 year ago: -Many users complained about the quality of the test content. -We didn't have the bandwidth to review and improve all of the content ourselves. So, after a number of users had brought the quality to our attention, we launched two new feedback mechanisms. First, any user could Report an Issue with a specific question. Second, any user could provide a Content Feedback Score at the completion of the test. Now, let's look at today. Over the course of 1 year, over 2,500 issues have been reported to improve the test content. Together with our testing vendor, ExpertRating, we have used these issues reported by our users to dramatically improve the test content. These improvements are reflected in the content feedback scores from our users; they have gone up 33% from around a 3.0 (out of 5.0) to over 4.0. This confirms our beliefs that communities are critically important to shaping the product and offering. While it was initially painful to hear the complaints of our users, it forced us to build a solution that allowed the community to get involved. And it has paid off. The job going forward for oDesk, and for all Web 2.0 companies, is to continue to build in more ways for the community to contribute. Read Full Article

United States making a comeback

January 22, 2008 by

Much has been published recently about the decline of the US dollar and the reverse flow of jobs back to the US from popular offshore outsourcing hotspots including India and China. It made me curious to see the trends at oDesk. We have providers all over the world, and should be able to see this trend if it's really happening. So here it is: Looks to me that while the entire market for remote contract labor is growing, the United States is possibly growing most rapidly over the last couple quarters. Read Full Article

Age of the Contractor

January 17, 2008 by

Check this out: Age of the Contractor article was posted in the New York Times. Andrew Benkard interviewed oDesk's CEO, Gary Swart, and here's part of what he had to say: "Here’s the problem: you have hired a website designer in Mumbai, India to redesign your site and you are paying her an hourly wage. How do you know she isn’t sipping chai when she should be coding – and perhaps more to this point, how do you know she’s on the right track in terms of what you want? Enter oDesk..." Read the full article on oDesk in the New York Times. Read Full Article

The best portraits on oDesk

January 17, 2008 by

There's always been some discussion about whether or not portraits are important for the provider profiles. I firmly believe that they are - and I'm happy to see some providers have used the portrait to really market themselves well. Consider these portraits: - This says to me that the provider is professional, can functionally use Photoshop, and gives me a sense of his style. - I like this one. It shows both individualism as well as the corporate brand of the oDesk affiliate company. - Another well done portrait showcasing the company name and brand as well as the individual. - This one makes me feel like she's already thinking about my design. - Ok, this guy knows his stuff, a true computer geek with disassembled parts in the background. - Nice touch, but would prefer more of the face. If I'm looking for an animator, I'm intrigued. - A bit impersonal since no face, but I like the clever sense of style. - Hmm. Nothing like showing off a little local scenery I suppose. - Professional, casual, sincere. I get a sense of the individual as well as the workplace. Quite nice. Compare the portraits above to this one: What do you think potential buyers would prefer? So, upload a portrait. Exercise some creativity, but keep it personal and individual. You only have a brief second to impress buyers in the search results and a good intriguing portrait can capture that attention. Read Full Article