What's New

Noticeably Faster Site Performance

We have drastically improved performance of the web site. You will see this most noticeably in Provider and Job Search.

Try it out — We will be continuing to invest in performance in the coming months!

New Payment Method: Pay by Check

oDesk has been receiving requests from larger businesses to be invoiced and to pay by check. Today we are pleased to announce that check payment is now an option!

Who is this feature targeted at?

Larger US businesses whose financial systems forbid putting oDesk charges on a personal or corporate credit cards.

How does check payment work?

  1. You talk with a oDesk representative, who will determine your eligibility for this payment method.
  2. If you are approved, we will work with you to determine what security deposit would be appropriate given the amount you spend on oDesk and the period of time it takes your finance department to pay invoices.
  3. You send oDesk a check for the amount of your security deposit.
  4. When your security deposit check clears your payment method is marked “verified” and you can hire providers on oDesk.
  5. You receive an invoice each week, and pay as per your terms.

Click here to read the full help article.

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

You go to the Payment Methods page and click on the link in the “Check” payment method. This will initiated a request and an oDesk representative will contact you.

What are the restrictions?

You must:

(a) have a US bank account

(b) participate in an account screening interview and be approved

(c) pay a minimum security deposit of $2000

Will the security deposit be refunded?

Yes, when you choose to no longer pay by check, your security deposit will be applied to your remaining liabilities and you will be able to withdraw any remaining funds.

I’m an international business and I would like to participate in this.

We are currently only allowing US buyers to participate in this program. We anticipate expanding this program to international buyers using wire very soon.

More Detailed Candidates Queue

We are introducing a new, more detailed version of the buyer candidates queue. We’ve made it easier for buyers to manage the candidates in each active opening. Specifically, the more interactive view will allow buyers to:

  • Scan candidates’ key qualifications and cover letters
  • Filter out candidates that do not meet the preferred qualifications for the opening
  • Quickly grant interviews to quality candidates without navigating away from the queue
  • Quickly reject (or mark as spam) obvious misfit candidates without navigating away from the queue

Note that this view is still in beta and we would very much like to solicit your feedback on the new functionalities as well as suggestions for improvements. Please post your comments here.

(For now, you can click on the “standard view” to access the original candidacy queue UI.)

Message Center Preferences

Now you can opt to have most notifications sent exclusively to your oDesk Message Center!

For example, if you’re checking your candidates queue regularly and would rather not receive an email every time someone applies to one of your jobs, you can opt out of emailed Job Application Notifications. All messages will still go to your Message Center, so you won’t miss anything. You asked, and we’re listening — watch for even more new Message Center features in the coming months.

Customize your Message Center Preferences now!

Team Room Improvements (Beta)

We’ve redesigned the Team Room to be easier to use than ever!

See your whole team

Team members are now arranged in a tile pattern instead of a long list. With four tiles across on most screens, you can probably see your entire team without scrolling down Better presence indicator.

It’s even easier than before to see who is online right now, and who has worked in the last 24 hours.

At long last, time zone conversion!

One of the top requests we’ve heard, especially from Buyers, is to show the local time zone of your team members. We heard you! So whether your teammates are across the country or across the globe, you’ll always know what time it is wherever they are, all in the team room.

Filtering and sorting for bigger teams

For larger teams, it can be difficult to sort through all of your members, so we have added new sorting and filtering based on name, role, and when they have last worked, as well as a “quick search” option to find a specific team member quickly.

We hope you find these improvements useful. Please let us know your thoughts in this thread.

Hide unwanted teams

Yes, you can hide a team

Owners can now hide teams. Hiding a team makes it disappear from your team room and all pages with a team selector bar — no more scrolling through a list of inactive teams! A hidden team is not deleted from the system. We find hide to be more useful than delete because you can toggle the show/hide setting whenever you need to on the new My Teams page.

Please note that you cannot hide a team if it has an active assignment, or any team members (besides yourself). You may remove additional team members such as managers and ACs in your Roster.

360-degree Feedback

For all completed assignments, we will be displaying both provider and buyer feedbacks, side-by-side, in the provider profiles and buyer facts. This will give the feedback scores and comments more context.

Security Question and SMS Notifications

User security is a top priority here at oDesk. In addition to entering a password all users must now also answer a security question to perform sensitive operations. We also added an option to receive vital notifications via SMS.


Why do I need a security question?

Users log in with their user ID and password to use most of our online and software features. Due to concerns about fraud and unauthorized access to financial information we’ve added an additional level of security to protect users’ accounts. The security question helps prevent unauthorized access if a user’s password is stolen.

Read more about the security question in the help pages.

How do I set my security question?

The next time you access your My oDesk page you will be prompted to create a security question.

How do I choose a security question?

The security question and its answer should be intuitive to you and easy to remember. Having said that, make sure to select a question to which the answer is difficult to guess.

What is a security (SMS) email notification?

Many cellular phones come equipped with SMS (text messaging) capabilities. If you choose this option we will immediately send a notifications to your cell phone of changes made to your account.

Why should I add a security (SMS) email address?

We strongly suggest that you use a security (SMS) email address that forwards to a cell phone. That way you can be notified immediately of changes to secure settings of your account, even if you’re away from your computer. In the event of unauthorized account access, the sooner you know there’s a problem, the better.

What if I don’t normally receive email on my cell phone?

Your phone probably has the ability to receive SMS (text) messages sent to a special email address (e.g. 8881231234@yourprovider.net). Contact your carrier or check out this Wikipedia article to learn more.

Improvements to Ending Candidacies

We have made some changes to how oDesk users can manage their candidacies. Specifically we’ve consolidated and worthsmithed the pre-populated list of reasons for

  • Buyers rejecting candidates for their job openings;
  • Providers declining interview invitations from buyers;
  • Providers cancelling their applications to jobs.

These changes should more accurately reflect the most common reasons oDesk users would have to terminate candidacies. However, if none of the new reasons is exactly what you’re looking for, we are also allowing users to specify their own reasons as free-form text.

Further more, in our attempt to combat Spam applications to job openings, we are introducing the “Flag as Spam” button so buyers can, with one-click, reject the undesired candidate. Providers with a high percentage of applications flagged as Spam will be investigated by oDesk and may face disciplinary actions.