What's New

Message Center now available in beta

We are pleased to announce the Beta launch of the oDesk Message Center! This is just one of many features we are launching to improve our communications capabilities, both from us to you and between you and other oDesk users.

What is the Message Center?

The Message Center is an email-like interface that captures messages generated by oDesk or oDesk users within the system. Messages are divided into 3 tabs:

  • The Account Alerts tab contains message with direct or indirect financial implications. Examples include hiring actions (hire confirmations, raise rates) as well as payment-related messages (e.g. payment and withdrawal confirmation, payment methods changes)
  • The Updates tab contains other system messages, with no direct financial implications
  • The Tickets tab will contain discussions with the oDesk support team – no more fishing through your email to find our response to your support inquiry!

Will I still get oDesk messages via email?

For now, yes — all messages from oDesk will continue to be sent to your email account. But we are working on Message Center Preferences, which will allow you to configure which message types you receive in your email, your Message Center, both, or not at all. By enabling you to opt out of certain message types, the Message Center will help reduce your email load from oDesk and help you focus only on the highest-priority messages that truly demand your attention.

Will my messages “expire” from the Message Center?

For now, no, but once we have Message Center Preferences, we will likely delete Message Center messages after some period of time. You will always have the option to receive messages via email that you want to make sure you permanently keep.

What else is coming?

The next big thing is the “Inbox”, which will contain messaages from other oDesk users. The inbox will contain interview correspondence and team invitations, and will also enable buyers to email their team and keep the correspondence in one central location.

Oh, and by the way — you may notice that “My Stuff” has disappeared. We have moved “My Favorite Providers” into the “Find Providers” tab, and “My Referrals” into “Billing & Payment”. We think this is more intuitive, and hope you don’t mind!

oDesk Readiness is now public and required to apply to jobs

As promised, we have launched the second phase of the oDesk Readiness Test. This means buyers are now be able to explicitly search for and find oDesk Ready providers in provider search. Providers’ oDesk Readiness will also be displayed as part of their public profiles.

We are also going to enforce provider oDesk Readiness by setting the job application quotas for all providers who are not yet oDesk Ready to ZERO. Therefore, all freelancers, company managers, and affiliated contractors on oDesk will have to become oDesk Ready before they can apply to any more jobs.

If you have any concerns or suggestions please post your feedback here, http://www.odesk.com/community/node/3572.

Include Remittance Info with Wire Transfers

We are happy to announce what is a small but important feature requested by managers of provider companies. Some banks in our top provider countries like Ukraine and India require a memo along with a wire that helps provide some information about the payment, titled “remittance information”.
As requested, the wire transfer option in the withdrawals page now includes an optional field called “Remittance Information”. This field takes 35 characters, will be included with the transfer, and should appear in your bank statement.

Provider Search now defaults to “Titles Only”

In order to improve the relevance of provider search results, we’ve decided to set “Search titles only” as checked by default. So for example, if you search by the keyword “Java”, the default provider search results will only return those providers who have opted to include “Java” in their titles. Of course, you can always widen your search by unchecking the “Search titles only” checkbox.

Are you ready to work on oDesk? Take the oDesk Readiness Test

We’ve just launched the oDesk Readiness Test for providers. It is a brief tutorial, designed to educate new providers on oDesk policies and best practices. Providers who have recently billed hours on oDesk are by definition ready to work and will be granted the “oDesk Ready” designation without having to pass the oDesk Readiness Test.

The oDesk Readiness Test has the following specifications:

  • 25 multiple choice questions
  • Open book
  • 90% correct to pass
  • Should take less than 30 minutes to complete

Test topics include:

  • Following oDesk Policies
  • Getting Hired
  • Working on Assignments

In two weeks, only providers who are oDesk Ready will be able to apply to jobs. Therefore, we highly recommend all providers who are not yet oDesk Ready to take the oDesk Readiness Test before June 4th.

Market your company with the new Company Profile

As a company manager, you now have a lot more control over how your company is seen by potential oDesk partners.

The biggest change is for Provider Companies:

– You can set a company “tagline” and full description, in HTML
– You can more easily upload your company logo
– We show more statistics about your company
– We show your company managers and up to 10 Affiliated Contractors, so your potential buyers can see who they will be working with

See a sample here:

Any team member with Admin privileges may edit your tagline, description, and logo on the Team Admn -> Team/Company Info tab (link)

Buyers: Now you can market yourself as well

Buyers, you can now display your company name, logo, tagline and description in each of your job openings. The setting applies to all of your job openings. It is of course completely optional, and the default setting is complete buyer anonymity.

Job and Provider Search Results Improvements

We have overhauled the display of the search results for both jobs and providers.

For Jobs, we are now showing much more information about the buyer, including how much work they have billed, and how many of their job postings have resulted in hires. We are also showing more information about the job, specifically how many providers have applied, how many providers the buyer has invited to interview, and how many interviews the buyer has set up. Finally, we are displaying the buyer’s payment method verification status. Browse jobs.

For Providers, we are similarly showing more information about the provider’s history on oDesk, and also showing the first section of the provider’s self-description, so the buyer can more easily tell whether he is interested in contacting the provider. We are also showing the provider’s Company, if he is affiliated with one, including the name, logo, and feedback score. Browse providers.

Oh, and we think we’ve made both search results look a lot better too…

Grow your oDesk business: add Teams to your Company, or create a new Company

The long-awaited “Create Team” feature is finally here.

All users (except non-admin ACs) can now create as many teams as you want. Buyers can create multiple Teams, and Providers can create their own Company as well.

Buyers and Provider Company Managers: add Teams to your Company

Why would you want to do this?

  • Separate your providers into Teams with separate SVN and Bugzilla instances
  • Have providers work on different projects or for different clients, and generate financial reports divided by Team
  • Separating billing, i.e. pay for different work with different credit cards
  • Separate your ACs into different teams, managed by different Staffing Managers

Independent Contractors: create your own Company on oDesk

Why would you want to do this?

  • Become a Buyer – hire some oDesk providers to work for you
  • Create a Provider Company – subcontractor work to your Affiliated Contractors and earn even more money

Do you already have multiple accounts?

We can merge all of your accounts under one User ID for you. Just file a support request and include all of your User IDs.

Learn more about creating Companies and Teams and grow your oDesk business!

More easily find Providers with Portfolios

We have added the following 3 ways to help Buyers discover Providers with Portfolios (and to help Providers get noticed!)

  1. A “Portfolio” indicator in Search Results shows how many portfolio items a Provider has. This links directly to the portfolio tab in the Provider’s profile.
  2. A new item in the sort dropdown allows search results to be sorted by the number of portfolio items.
  3. A new Advanced Search option, “Has Portfolio,” has been added.

This is just one of many features we are releasing to help Buyers and Providers find the perfect match. Let us know what you think!