What's New

Giving you more control over email

We’ve released a new version of our Email Preferences page, giving you even more control over the communications you receive from oDesk.

We know you’re busy.  Our emails are designed to give you pertinent information and allow you to take action as efficiently as possible.  However, if you manage a large remote team or are hiring for many positions, and you already sign into your oDesk account multiple times a day, some of these emails may be redundant. You now have more options for managing the emails you receive:

  1. Go directly to the Email Preferences page within your Message Center and select the emails you no longer wish to receive.  Individual emails are listed by category, such as job applications, contracts, etc.
  2. oDesk emails contain a link in the footer to manage your email preferences.  Clicking these links takes you to your preferences where the email type you clicked will be called out.

Keep in mind, some emails are not optional, such as those alerting you that your password has changed and other security related communications.


New oDesk Terminology

To help new visitors better understand what oDesk is all about and clarify important concepts to all oDesk users, we’ve updated a few of our more commonly used words.

What has changed?

Old New
Buyer Employer
Provider Contractor
Candidacies Job Applications
Job Post and Opening Job Posting
Assignment Contract
Affiliate / Provider Company Agency
Affiliate Manager Staffing Manager
Affiliate Contractor Agency Contractor
Stipend Weekly Rate

Why has oDesk made these changes?

Some words we have historically used to describe our service and the various roles on oDesk confuse our newest users. We believe that clarifying these terms will help them to hit the ground running faster and clarify for them what oDesk is really all about.

We conducted extensive testing to determine which terms were the most confusing and what the new terms should be. A huge “Thank You!” to the thousands of community members who responded to our surveys and helped us determine the right terminology.

How does this affect me?

Aside from getting used to the new terms (which we believe to be more intuitive than the old ones) there’s nothing you need to do!

What if I want to share my feedback about the new terms?

We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts. Please share them with us here.

New design for job posts

The next time you look for a job or post a new job, check out the new job description page.  Our designers have been hard at work revamping this page.  They’ve cleaned it up, given it a fresh new look, and highlighted the key information you need.  For providers, it’s now easier to determine whether a particular job is a good fit for you.  For buyers, you can now use this page to easily update your open job posts. 
For providers:
  • Right up top – see the job description, skills required and preferred qualifications
  • Check the job status, including when the buyer last viewed the job, # of applicants and # interviewing
  • Quickly see if you’ve already applied to the job
  • Review the buyer’s work history and other open jobs
For buyers, you can now use this job description page to manage your open jobs posts – make edits, repost, make the job private to stop receiving applications, or close the job once it’s filled.  Keep in mind, to manage active assignments, you should go to the assignment detail page.
Let us know what you think of these changes in our community forum.

Job description page

Find providers fast & changes to job application quotas

This week we have two enhancements to the oDesk service to tell you about.  Both of these changes will create a speedier site -  something many of our users have been asking for!

Faster, more interactive provider search results

We’ve made looking for providers easier and faster, helping buyers find the talent they need and helping providers get hired.New Provider Search

First, provider search results have a great new look.  A cleaner design highlights the information buyers need to easily review their search results.  Also:

  • Faster page loads and more interactive filters to quickly narrow search results.
  • Easier navigation to jump to any page in your search results.

Provider search listings will look different and we know change can be jarring.  But, we’re confident these changes will make it easier for buyers to find providers.  We are always working to improve the experience for all of our users.  Check out the new provider search results now. If you have feedback on these changes, we’d love to hear it!  Visit our Community Forum.

Job application quotas to refresh twice daily

Starting today, providers will see a change in how often job application quotas are increased.

Currently, when one of your job applications becomes inactive (you are hired, or your application expires, is withdrawn or is rejected), your quota is increased immediately.  This real-time updating encourages job application spamming and is causing our systems to run very slowly.  To increase system speed for all users, and reduce the amount of job spamming, increases to your quota will now occur twice per day. This means that when one of your job applications becomes inactive, it may take up to 12 hours before you see your quota increase.

Note, none of the rules regarding your quota change.

For more information, see the Help Center.  To leave feedback, visit our Community Forum.

Quality Health Insurance for Contractors, Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs

Being an independent contractor comes with a lot of benefits, including the freedom to work when and where you want.  Until now, those benefits didn’t usually include affordable health insurance options.

But, that all changes today.  oDesk is now making health insurance available to all of our U.S.-based users. On behalf of our members, we have negotiated pricing, plan offerings and a streamlined approval process that outstrip other plans generally available to individuals.

“By providing access to health coverage options, we’re lowering a key barrier faced by many people that aspire to the freelance lifestyle, and enabling them to focus on building successful careers.”  – Gary Swart, oDesk CEO

There are 3 types of plans available. For more details see: http://www.odesk.com/benefits:

  • Wellness plan – day-to-day health care plan with guaranteed issuance, low deductible and up to an annual maximum benefit of $20,000 including hospitalization.
  • Catastrophic plan – coverage for major medical care, including hospitalization with an annual maximum benefit of $1 Million
  • Comprehensive plan – combine the Wellness and Catastrophic plans to get comprehensive coverage.

Life insurance with critical illness coverage is also available with no physical exam as an additional option on any of the 3 offered plans.

oDesk is committed to supporting both companies and individuals in the new, emerging “contract economy”.  Access to affordable, quality health insurance is an important ingredient to building successful, long-term contract careers, and we’re proud to be taking the lead in offering these types of benefits options to our users.

You can read about the plans at http://www.odesk.com/benefits or you can call 888-895-2440 to speak directly with a benefits consultant (available 8am to 6pm PDT).

Got feedback for us on the plans? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or share them with our Community!

New and Improved Reports Make Managing Work Easier

Buyers, providers and staffing managers now have access to our new suite of reports that make managing your work life easier.   We’ve added the most requested reports, made them easier to read, provided both summary and detailed views, and made it possible to select the specific date range you need.

For Buyers:

  • Customized reports to track the providers, teams and time periods you choose
  • Easy to read dashboards with summaries by provider, task or memo
  • Linked reports allow you to drill down into individual work diaries

For Providers:

  • Easier to read weekly timesheet showing hours by buyer
  • Detailed report listing daily hours and memos for any time period you choose
  • Still Available – Time Analyze – a configurable report to track hours or earnings

For Affiliate Managers:

  • Easier to read reports with summary and detailed views
  • Weekly timesheets to track total time and earnings by provider or buyer
  • Detailed reports showing work completed by memo for any time period you choose

Check out the Reports Center today to find out how much easier it can be to manage your work!

Have feedback about the new reports? Please go to the Community Forum to leave your comments.

A Better Way to Manage your Job Applications

Applying and interviewing for jobs just got faster and easier under the new “Job Applications.”

  • No more hunting for interview threads! Your communications with the buyer are now embedded in the new Job Application page. Reply to buyers, ask questions and view the job description all in one place.
  • Easily manage your job applications. Quickly reply to, decline or ignore invitations to interview. Easily propose a different rate and page through applications.
  • Declutter your job application list. Archive applications that you’re done with, and find all your past applications (declined, withdrawn, hired) in the “Archived” tab.
  • More responsive interface. We’ve fine-tuned it for faster performance.

This is just the beginning.  Look out for even more improvements over the next couple of months.  In the meantime, if you have feedback or suggestions regarding the new Job Applications, please share them in the community forum.

Job Applications


 Job Applications Detail Page

Live Chat Support 24/7

oDesk Customer Service’s live chat support is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Chat has quickly become the support option of choice for many oDesk users and we hope the expanded coverage will make it even more convenient for users around the globe!


To contact oDesk, please visit http://www.odesk.com/help/ticket, select a topic, and choose Create a Support Ticket or Live Chat. We also continue to offer a Help Center full of informative articles and community forum where you can seek the advice of fellow oDesk members.

If you have comments or suggestions, please share them in the community forum.

Your New Home on oDesk

The next time you log into your oDesk account, take a look around your new user Home. Here you’ll find an overview of your work life on oDesk, including modules for Notifications, My Teams, Payments, My Job Applications (for providers), and My Job Openings (for buyers). Each module also provides links to dig deeper into the information presented. Look familiar? The Dashboard we introduced a few weeks ago has graduated from beta to become your new user Home. We’ve made a few tweaks from the beta based on user input and we added modules to make the page more useful to both providers and buyers.


The new user Home is now the default landing page whenever you log in. Once you’re logged in, whenever you want to return there from anywhere in the site, just click the oDesk logo. (We’ve made some other changes to the site navigation as well – you can read more about the navigation changes here.)

Questions? Comments? Suggestions for new Dashboard modules? Let us know how we can make your user Home more useful!

STAR TREK and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. oDesk is not affiliated with CBS Studios, Inc. nor is “James Kirk” an actual oDesk user. There are not currently any positions open on oDesk involving “photon torpedo retargeting” or “Klingon-to-English translation”.

oDesk Site Navigation Update

oDesk is constantly evolving as a marketplace, community, and tool that changes how the world works. Today, we took steps toward creating a more streamlined site navigation system. The changes are subtle, visible only to users who are signed in, but we’d like to share some of the more noticeable differences:

  • New user Home
    • Your personalized Home page will now appear after you log in
    • Visit anytime by clicking “Home” or the oDesk logo from anywhere in the site (once you’ve logged in)
  • Streamlined username dropdown menu
    • New access to “Account & Profile Settings” and “Sign Out”
    • Some of the less-used (but still important!) pages have been removed from the menu. You can now access the following pages by visiting “Account & Profile Settings”:
      • User Info
      • My Provider Profile
      • My Company Profile
      • My Teams
      • My Tests
      • Extending oDesk
  • Message Center Changes
    • The indicator shown next to “Messages” now reflect the total number of unread Inbox messages and Notifications.
    • “Account Alerts” and “Updates” have been removed from the menu – they are now integrated into the user Home.
    • “Notifications” is now the best place to find the latest communications about your account.

Stay tuned — more changes are under way, all designed to make your oDesk experience better.

Questions? Comments? Let us know how we can make our site navigation easier for you (and new users) to access all the great tools oDesk has to offer!