All Things oDesk

Have a great story to share?

July 30, 2007 by

Hello oDeskers, Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re using oDesk? Are you able to travel more, have greater flexibility with your work day, or free up more time because of your remote work environment? In honor of “The Four Hour Work Weekâ€? by Tim Ferriss, we’re looking for some great stories from oDesk users that are able to do and experience new things because they’re either working remotely or hiring remote assistance to help them grow their businesses. We know you’re out there! If you have a great story to tell, please share it with us. We’re gathering stories to share with the media – tv, print and radio. This could be an opportunity to talk to the media about your remote work situation and promote yourself and your business. So let us know! Send us an email at … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Milestone Payments

July 26, 2007 by

We’ve built new functionality into the console application for buyers and providers to easily pay milestone payments for any amounts on fixed price projects. Buyers can initiate payments at any time and for any amount. Providers can see immediately when milestone payments have been made and approved. Both sides can track the agreed amount, amount paid to date, and amount remaining. This should alleviate some of the concerns around getting paid on fixed price jobs. Providers may even want to request a small payment before starting any work to ensure that the buyer is serious about completing the project. It’s up to you how to use the feature. We’ve also prepared a short play for you: (Act I – working on a fixed price project before today) Provider: “I finished the first phase, can you pay me 25% for reaching the milestone.” Buyer: “I don’t see any way to do that on oDesk, I’ll just pay you the full amount at the end” Provider: I’m nervous, this buyer might not pay me. (Act II – working on a fixed price project after today) Provider: “I finished the first phase, can you pay me 25% for reaching the milestone.” Buyer: “Sure, happy to. Good job.” Provider: “Thanks, I’ll keep working now.” /*thinking*/ I feel much more comfortable now that I’ve received some partial payment. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Add / Remove Company User

July 23, 2007 by

Buyers can now add additional company users to your Team Room. You might want to consider doing this if you are jointly managing a project or if you have other local developers that you’d like to be able to work with your oDesk providers. Adding new users takes just a few seconds. Go to My Account – Company Info – Add User (see screensnap) If you’d like to add more managers to your team, they will be able to post jobs, hire providers, and update financial information. If you’d like to just add other local employees, contractors, or non-oDesk providers, do not add them as a team manager. Once you add a user, they’ll receive an email invitation to join your team and their registration can be completed in just 2 minutes. Then they can join you and your oDesk providers. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Interviewing do’s and don’ts

July 16, 2007 by

Posting a job, interviewing candidates, and picking the right one is always a challenging process. I’ve been a hiring manager about 5 times for local positions, but that was easy. Hiring for a remote or offshore position is much harder. All of the conventional wisdom is useless when hiring for remote positions. You get the bonus challenges of: -Managing timezone differences -Working thru cultural and language differences -Verifying the authenticity of your info -Dealing w/o back-channel references (usually the best source of info) In the past 2 1/2 years of working with oDesk buyers and providers, I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two about the process of interviewing remote contractors. Do’s Post a detailed job description. Includes additional expectations about time of day availability, English skill, min / max hourly rates. Send trial projects. Something as simple as “take a look at this website and give me 3 suggestions for improvements” are convenient little tests to see how they think. Ask questions about attitude. Some projects will fail. What’s important is how a provider deals with it. Ask about it. Ask to talk to previous clients. They’re still the best source of info. Start small. Build confidence in your selection by starting with some small projects to make sure everything works out ok before diving into bigger projects. Don’ts Focus exclusively on responsiveness. It’s easy to fall into a trap of confusing “responsiveness” with “responsibility”. Rush into a decision. Every one needs a project completed yesterday, but spend the time and energy to find the right candidates. Mistake poor grammar for poor communication. “We are able to go for thing to make project completed” may be confusing, but ask yourself what’s more important; reliable, … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Affiliate Feedback Score

July 11, 2007 by

We recently made an update to the feedback system to accurately calculate affiliate feedback scores. As most of you have probably figured out by now, the individual feedback scores are weighted on a dollars-earned basis. For example, if I’ve completed 2 projects: Project X: $5,000 earned. 5-star feedback Project Y: $100 earned. 1-star feedback My total feedback score would be a (($5000 * 5) + ($100 * 1)) / ($5000 + $100) = 4.92 The feedback score for affiliates has historically been calculated as a simple average of the feedback scores of the individual affiliate contractors. It has been updated to be dollars-weighted for all projects completed by the affiliate contractors, past and present. For most affiliates, this should not cause a significant change in total feedback score in either direction, but you may notice that it has moved slightly. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Job Preferences

July 10, 2007 by

We’ve added more options for buyers and providers to find better matches quickly and easily. Buyers can specify up to 5 different preferences and dynamically see how many candidates meet all of the qualifications. Once the buyer has posted their job, they can quickly review the providers that meet all their criteria and invite them to interview. Buyers will see this option when they’re viewing their job opening in the My Jobs tab. And for providers that are viewing job openings, you will see the buyer’s preferences listed in the job opening page. We hope this helps providers gain a better understanding of exactly what the buyer is looking for in a candidate. You can always apply to the job even if you don’t meet all the preferences, but it should help set the right expectations and lead to more effective applications. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

New Provider Search

July 3, 2007 by

We are pleased to announce our new provider search with enhanced filtering. Now, it’s easy to find what you are looking for when searching for candidates. What did we change? We hope these enhancements help make everyone’s hiring experience a great one. If you have any feedback for us about provider search, please tell us here. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk


June 17, 2007 by

We’ve fully released a WYSIWYG editor in all main free text fields in the job openings and provider profiles. We would like to enable users to customize their profiles to the best of their ability to showcase their jobs, skills, experience, and portfolios. We selected an open-source tool, FCKeditor, that seemed to have one of the simplest interfaces. We hope you utilize the new editor to spruce up your profiles, customize your messages, and add some color to the marketplace. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

New Tests Available

June 14, 2007 by

oDesk currently offers over 100 different skill tests as part of the oDesk online testing program to our entire provider network free of charge. These tests enable providers to certify their skills for the latest technologies and business practices. We have received a great response to the online testing program and the number of tests taken by our providers is increasing rapidly and steadily every day. Read more about the online testing program. Today, we are happy to announce that we have 4 new tests available for all of our providers: Adobe Flex Builder 2 Dot Net Nuke LAMP Web Services You can click on the link above to take the tests or also go to the “My Qualifications” area in your account console. When taking any of the new tests, remember to help us improve the quality. Recently, we enhanced the online testing program with a feedback feature that allows users taking an online test to submit issues, concerns, or errors in the questions. We have received a great response from our providers and in a short period of approximately 2 months we have received a huge number of tickets regarding our test questions. We look forward to getting your comments and suggestions on these 4 new tests as well. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Increased Market Transparency

June 12, 2007 by

From the beginning of oDesk, a few founding principles have guided our product development strategy and process. High on the list among the principles is, -Transparency breeds accountability This principle has always been most evident in our core application, oDesk Team and the Work Diary. Many oDesk outsiders have looked at the Work Diary that includes screenshots and sometimes webcam shots and thought that we were spying on our providers. Some have gone so far as to call us “Big Brother”. We know that oDesk is unique and doing things differently than anyone else before us and we are proud of that. We also know from your comments that our users almost never share the same opinions as these external critics and bloggers. This principle has led us to what we believe is another important milestone in the development of the oDesk marketplace. We are pleased to announce that full job history is now available online and searchable. Over 15,000 job openings including those that have long since completed and/or cancelled are all available online as part of a user’s assignment history. We will always give the option to our user to hide the details of their jobs if they choose, but we believe that transparency in the majority of jobs will help all of our users learn about the marketplace and make better decisions about who to hire / work for. Now, when looking at oDesk Assignment History for a buyer or provider, you will see job opening titles and will be able to click thru to see the details of the job if it is not private. You will also note that you can now view a candidate list at the end of every job opening and provider profile. On job openings, this will give providers that may … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

New My Candidacies Page

June 10, 2007 by

After getting lots of feedback from oDesk providers, we are excited to announce the new “My Candidacies” page. We hope these improvements make your job hunting process easier and more efficient. Take a look at what’s new: Thanks to all of you who gave us feedback on how to improve this page. Be sure to always let us know what we can do to make oDesk work best for you. Best, Jon Product manager oDesk … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

My Account and Work Activity Tabs

June 6, 2007 by

My Account tab We have brought all admin information under a new tab, called “My Account”. It includes User Information, as well as Company and Billing information for Buyers. It will also be where we add our new billing & payment features. Here is what it looks for buyers: And for providers: Work Activity Tab We are pleased to offer the first step in increasing your visibility into your oDesk spending and earnings. The Work Activity tab shows your weekly Work Activity Statement, with each hourly and fixed price invoice, bonus, refund, and account adjustment. This serves as a complete record for your oDesk work activity for the week. Two notable things about this new features: (1) You can now view historical timelogs, not limited to four weeks in the past; (2) Freelance providers and Affiliate Managers now see financial information in their timelogs, not just hours. Buyers, please note that in the past, adjustments were not included in the timelogs (they were included on a separate invoice), so timelog/invoice totals may vary slightly. Note: the Work Activity tab replaces the Accounting pane in the lower left corner of the screen. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Upgrade to Bugzilla 2.20

June 5, 2007 by

While we know that only a small percentage of buyers and providers utilize the integrated Bugzilla tools, we’ve invested in the upgrade of our Bugzilla version from 2.16 to 2.20. All information was fully preserved and migrated to the new version. If you login to your oDesk Bugzilla account you will see some new features and enhancements in the 2.20 version, including: User-interface: A little cleaner, a little prettier, a little easier to understand. High-level categorization: If you’ve made use of the product – component structure of 2.16, you now can create a higher level categorization of bugs under “classifications” User drop down menus: It’s now easier to select assignees and email addresses User and Email preferences: You now have enhanced control over your preferences For a complete description of the new features in 2.20, please check out We’ve always believed that oDesk should offer value-added services and tools that will help our users be successful in any projects that are performed through the our system. Internally, we have made full use of Bugzilla to track all of our tasks and bugs. For us, we’ve found that 100% adoption of the tools and process has greatly helped improve our overall efficiency. Whether you decide to use oDesk’s version of Bugzilla or your own tools, we hope you find best practices that work for you and your team. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk – Red Herring 100 Winner!

May 2, 2007 by

Hello oDeskers, We’re excited to announce that oDesk is a recipient of Red Herring 100 Spring, an award given to the top 100 private technology companies based in North America. This honor was once received by Google, eBay and Skype, and we’re thrilled to have been recognized with the same award. As a result, Gary Swart, our CEO, is speaking at the Red Herring Spring conference. Be sure to see him if you’re there. Thanks to all of you for helping us win this prestigious award! … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

A new way to get paid on oDesk

April 30, 2007 by

oDesk is pleased to announce a new way for providers to receive their earnings: the oDesk Debit MasterCard, powered by Payoneer, is now available for pre-order. The oDesk Debit MasterCard is a prepaid debit MasterCard. A provider’s earnings are loaded directly onto the card, which can then be used to withdraw cash at any MasterCard ATM worldwide as well as make purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted, in stores or online. We believe it will be the best way to receive funds for most non-US providers, with low fees, the best exchange rates in the world, fast transfer and the convenience of a MasterCard. We will be shipping cards around the second week of May, and will waive the activation fee for providers who pre-order their cards before then. To pre-order your card, providers should log into oDesk and go to the new My Money tab. The oDesk Debit MasterCard is available for providers in all oDesk countries, and will replace iKobo for providers in Ukraine. For more information on the oDesk Debit MasterCard, visit the oDesk Guide to Payoneer or discuss the new card here. Read Full Article


oDesk reaches major milestone – $10M spent in our marketplace

April 12, 2007 by

This week we reached a major milestone in the marketplace – $10M has been spent on outsourced technology jobs through oDesk! We’re very excited about the news and we know we have our buyers and providers to thanks for this achievement, so thank you! Michael Arrington and Rafe Needleman both covered the news, about which we’ll be sharing more details on Monday. Stay tuned! – Abid Mohsin … Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Are you going to the Web 2.0 Expo?

April 11, 2007 by

…so are we and we’d love to see you. oDesk is exhibiting at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco next week. If you are planning to be there, please stop by our booth to say “hello” and enjoy a treat. We’ll be in one of the kiosks in the Long-Tail Pavilion. We’re really excited about the conference. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s new and meet new people, not to mention that former oBlogger, Dave McClure, is a program co-chair. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

oDesk – Red Herring 100 Finalist

April 10, 2007 by

It’s always nice when someone describes your company as “leading the next wave of innovation.” That’s especially true coming from Red Herring. Here’s the quote: Award Recognizes the 100 “Most Promising” Companies Driving the Future of Technology SAN FRANCISCO, CA (April 4, 2007) — Red Herring today announced that oDesk ( is a Finalist for the Red Herring 100 Award, a selection of the 100 private companies based in North America that play a leading role in innovation and technology. The Red Herring editorial board diligently surveyed the entrepreneurial scene throughout the North American region and identified the top 200 out of more than 800 closely evaluated companies that are leading the next wave of innovation. We have great company, too. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Feedback Resolution

April 10, 2007 by

We’ve received a number of support tickets over the past several months requesting changes to feedback scores and/or comments. Most of these requests come as a result of a positive outcome. For example, a buyer may have ended an assignment and left negative feedback because project was not completed to satisfaction, but then the provider resolved any of the outstanding issues and delivered a working product. In these cases, the buyer often offers to go change the feedback and comments that were initially left for the provider. In order to facilitate feedback resolution, we’ve enabled a way for any buyer or provider to enable a feedback change. When you view any feedback that you have received in the past, you will see a new link. This feature is intended to be used only after you have worked out all issues and discussed the outcome directly with the buyer or provider that left you the feedback. Once you enable the user to make a change, they will have up to 14 days to modify the feedback. Please note that this operation can only be performed once for each feedback you have received. We hope everyone finds this to be a fair solution for all users. Read Full Article

All Things oDesk

Privacy Control for Jobs

March 28, 2007 by

We will be making a significant change within the next month in order to share more information in the oDesk marketplace and enrich the user experience for everyone. You can see detailed discussion of the upcoming feature here. It will make many more jobs available to view, even if they have been cancelled or filled. The intent of making jobs available after being filled or cancelled is to educate the marketplace; allowing providers to learn how to better acquire jobs and allowing buyers to gain a deeper understanding of a provider’s assignment history. We believe that an open exchange of information is critical to making a marketplace operate efficiently. In order to prepare for the upcoming feature, we are now enabling privacy controls for buyers for any past job openings. We do our best to balance the marketplace’s need for open information with our individual users’ needs for some privacy control. To that end, any buyer can now go to their My Jobs tab and click on any of their past jobs to edit the visibility settings. 1) Go to My Jobs tab and search for All jobs 2) Click on any Job title 3) Select Change Visibility Buyers: we recommend going to your My Jobs tab to review the privacy settings for any jobs you’ve posted in the past. Read Full Article