Popular freelance bidding websites Odesk and Elance recently announced a merge into a new platform called Upwork. This comes as the number of Americans doing freelance work at home as their primary source of income continues to grow, as well as the number of online platforms where they find work. The aim of this newly merged company is to increase annual freelance revenues from $1 billion to $10 billion in approximately six years.
So, what does this mean for these two platforms? In the mergers current form, the platforms still operate as separate entities, with Odesk having changed to a new platform called Upwork and Elance continuing to operate as is. Ultimately, the two platforms, now housed under one company, would like to merge. Because each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, it made more ssense for them to continue to operate separately until a solid plan for a complete merger can be developed.
For now, freelancers who work from home can expect to see some updates to oDesk in its relaunch as Upwork. The company aims to make the job bid site more efficient for both freelancers and those who hire them. This means more readily available contact between the two parties. The Upwork Message Center, for example, allows companies to chat with a freelancer who is available for work immediately. Clients are also able to communicate with a team of freelancers working on one project here. Upwork also hopes to allow clients to continue to hire freelancers with whom they work well. This could result in a short-term gig turning into a full-time contract between the freelancer and client.
Pricing and general setup continue to operate in much the same way, with Upwork taking 10% of a freelancer’s earnings for each project. Freelancers will still complete profiles and submit job applications to posted projects.