Best Freelance Websites Reviewed

Since I couldn’t find an objective comparison between freelancing sites, I decided to create one myself.  The following reviews of freelancing sites are based on my personal experiences.  Every freelance website will tell you they are the number one destination with the most qualified freelancers.  But you should take that with a grain of salt.  If you’re looking for talent, here’s an unbiased review of your best options. If you want to be a freelancer yourself, check this post out.

Freelance Job SiteMy RatingEase of UseFreelancing SpecialtiesNotes
Freelance Website Review - 5 Stars
EasyIT/Programming,
Web Design,
Virtual Assistants
Because Elance is the most popular freelancing website, it's easy to find a wide variety of people (they actually have 1.8 million registered contractors). I've found Elance has a very intuitive user interface that makes it easy to track candidates and work. They also have a work guarantee and escrow service that ensures you only pay for work completed on fixed price jobs. Read More...
Freelance Website Review - 4 Stars
Needs improvementIT/Programming
Web Design
After posting a job on Odesk, I always seem to get the largest number of freelancer responses in the shortest period of time. However, I find the Odesk user interface difficult for comparing candidates, taking notes, and reviewing messages. While the UI could be better, Odesk is still one of my favorite options for finding low cost freelancers. Read More...
Freelance Website Review - 5 Stars
Super EasyWeb Design
Logos
99designs lets you set your own price for a design contest where multiple graphic designers compete for your project. It's hard to get a bad result with their money back guarantee. 99designs has a very simple and intuitive job posting process that helps you present your vision to designers. Visions can be very subjective and their process helps get you a much better result than a graphic design job posting on a typical freelance website.

Here’s my more detailed review of 99designs and a couple of my readers’ tips for picking a logo and running a contest on 99designs. Read More...
Freelance Website Review - 2 Stars
Super EasyAny crazy service you can imagineIt's quick to hire a freelancer on Fiverr for a $5 mini-task (called a gig) and the site is super-addictive. You'll find some truly ridiculous gigs and some gigs that are worth much more than $5. Fiverr is great for very small, simple jobs like article writing or keyword research. Head in with low expectations and you will be pleasantly surprised. Read More...
Freelance Website Review - 3 Stars
Easy (but time-consuming up front)IT/Programming
Web Design
vWorker requires extremely thorough job postings by employers. As a result, it takes much longer to post a job using their mandatory "Requirements Wizard". vWorker's intention is to help you flush out requirements as early as possible so that you end up with better results. Unfortunately, if you are non-technical and seeking technical advice (as well as a coder), the wizard may prove a little challenging. Read More...
Freelance Website Review - 1 Star
Needs improvementIT/ProgrammingFreelancer.com has too many job posting fees not baked into the freelancer bid amount. I also found it to be the worst user interface out of all the freelancing websites I've used. It's very unintuitive and difficult to navigate between proposals and candidate profiles. I was too turned off by the poor UI to hire anyone after receiving bids. Read More...
Freelance Website Review - 4 Stars
EasyWeb Design
Logos
crowdSpring works just like 99designs and has a money back guarantee as well. However, starting prices are a little bit less expensive than 99designs. It's not as popular a website, but they claim to have just as many graphic artists competing on projects. Interestingly, they also offer crowdsourced writing services. Read More...

The big difference between freelancing sites is usability

You’ll find qualified freelancers (and duds) on every site and some people have profiles on multiple sites.  That’s why I focus on freelance websites that are easy to use.  To get a feel for which site works best for you, test drive freelancers from several sites by creating a freelancer test assignment .

And if you want to see more of the nuances between sites, check out this freelancing website comparison by vWorker.  They compare the best freelancing websites and go into more specifics than I do here.

If you’ve tried any of these freelance websites and want to share your own experiences, please leave a comment.

GD Star Rating
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Best Freelance Websites Reviewed, 4.6 out of 5 based on 36 ratings

37 comments on Best Freelance Websites Reviewed

Michael February 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Very nice comparison! I joined oDesk a while back, and wrote up my thoughts in a review as a contractor: http://www.michaelmusgrove.com/marketing/guerilla-marketing/odesk-a-review-and-my-impression-as-a-contractor/

I’m interested to see how it works from the other side of the fence, since I’ll be doing some hiring soon, myself.

I’ve also used Fiverr twice. Once with great results and one with no completion and no response. I had to kiss that $5 goodbye. I believe most people will do what’s right, however.

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ddiy February 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Thanks Michael and I appreciate your comments on a few posts. When you start hiring, please check back here, would love to hear your thoughts on using odesk from the other side of the coin.

RE: Fiverr, I like to think of it more like a place to kill a few hours than one of the top freelance websites. Put your five bucks in and think of it as going to see a movie. Some are bad and some are well worth the price of admission.

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Matthew Joseph January 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm

We’ve been using Doublelinx for our web site services. Much better than finding a freelancer to do the work because the package is already listed. We’ve ordered probably 8 packages from there and we haven’t had any issues. I tried Vworker, freelancer.com, and even fiverr.com. Each one had their own problems.

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Andrea Nagar February 24, 2012 at 5:05 am

Thanks so much for the reviews. I had not very exciting experiences working with contractors so far. I think that communicating properly to the contractor to make sure he understandand what you want can take a while. And of course the selection process is of paramount importance. I had bad experience with graphic designers. I’ll give 99 designs a chance.

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ddiy February 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

Andrea, it’s very easy to have bad experiences with contractors (I’ve had quite a few myself). And you’re right, vetting freelancers properly makes or breaks a project. Good luck w/ 99designs.

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Lewis May 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I operate a website design company and I have soooo many problems with graphic designers – it’s a nightmare. They aren’t timely, they don’t do what you ask… really basic stuff.

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KB September 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Lewis, that’s what you get for using these types of sites. You have not met or used real graphic designers.

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Russell W July 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Coming from the contractor side (as a graphic designer) part of the problem with sites like Freelancer.com is that there are no specifications (short of “I need a logo!”). @Lewis any graphic designer you work with whose up-front process does not include ask you a lot of questions before starting—to nail down specifications—is a n00b who can use photoshop. Professional designers have solid methodologies that involve a lot of Q&A before they even touch a sketchpad.

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Zara April 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

hi,

Freelancer.com is good but you run the risk of hiring freelancers who do not do the job themselves. Some providers win a project and soon after open their own project to re-outsource your work. If you are just going to get second-rate results does outsourcing make any sense to you? The same site has hard workers who have earned every rating they have on their profile who sadly do not the jobs they deserve.

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ddiy April 15, 2012 at 10:51 am

Hi Zara, as you can see from my review of freelancer.com I was unimpressed as well.

With any freelancing site you do run the risk of finding people that will not do the work themselves and subcontract it out. That isn’t always a bad thing though. Sometimes recruiters and small consulting shops will add a layer of pre-screening and quality assurance to make sure your project goes well. But in any case, the best answer is to interview and test any candidates before you hire them.

If you care to share more specifics about what types of jobs you posted that were re-outsourced or had poor quality canditates, I’d be curious to hear more about them.

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Rachel January 22, 2013 at 4:45 am

Don’t get me started on Freelancer.com. They won’t leave me alone. I made the mistake of giving them my email and am being inundated with unsolicited emails. I’ve unsubscribed, asked them to delete my profile and they still won’t leave me along. Does anyone have any idea (apart from their emails going into my junkbox which doesn’t solve the issue of them being so intrusive) of how to put a stop to this? I’ve asked them nicely a number of times and I’ve sworn at them. All to no avail Grrr!

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RDP June 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

I have been using ODesk for the past year and I am very disappointed. Contractors are not upfront about how much time they can actually dedicate to your project. For a startup, suffering through painfully slow development as your contractor juggles other clients is a nightmare. It’s important to note for any project with technical complexity that switching costs are high and that unless you have a war chest you cannot afford a proper level of redundancy and risk management. This leaves you highly vulnerable to be taken advantage of – which is much of what goes on at ODesk from what I now understand.

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Tasha August 11, 2012 at 11:15 pm

That is why you must vet your applicants. You should also pay attention to their qualifications, test scores and ranking of their test scores, and their overall rating. It also helps to read what other people have said about the worker. I have only use Odesk once , but my contractor was outstanding. But they say you get what you pay for. If they are making so little money, of course they will juggle clients if they are able to get a lot of clients. If you are paying good money then you should be able to get better results in terms of project being done in a timely fashion.

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meDilbert September 30, 2012 at 3:54 am

I have now spent almost 90 days on oDesk( as contractor) and on how things work.

My advice is not at all consider test result, Portfolio when considering candidates but take time to interview them. Most of the tests results are fake and typically so for Agency candidates. For every new hire some agency ask all their existing staff attempt test in group and there you have one one of the perfect scores in HTML but do not even know basics.
I have even seen some contractors awarding bids on oDesk it self (shows how tolerating oDesk of such bad practices) to candidates for attempting tests on their behalf and getting more then 4.8 in tests.

Agency typically share their portfolio among all contractors and many individual contractors even lift them freely from internet so you can be sure there could be 80-100% fake.

Having said, at this point of time i find oDesk much better then Freelancer or eLance. Some moderators at freelancer don’t even understand the technical aspects. I listed a fixed price service to De-obfuscate the PHP code for a fee and freelancer people wanted me to put up images for this service and rejected it. Their fee is much high and very confusing on how much a project will net to complete a work. I had a Fixed price service completed and they took almost 1/6th as fee because amount was less then their threshold commission. Now I have stopped bidding on freelancer for projects and find only people who can survive its such high fee is Contractors who have either no idea of work or intend to just take the upfront payment in Fixed price projects and not do any work.

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meDilbert June 29, 2012 at 4:13 am

I am a contractor trying to find best freelancing site and stick with it instead of having profile every where. Which how would you rate sites on following criteria

1. Least cost of bidding ( Membership, revenue sharing, withdrawing etc)
2. Payment Guarantee and escrow
3. best dispute resolution
4. Waiting period before withdrawing funds

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ddiy June 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm

MeDilbert, While I’ve only been on the hiring side and not a freelancer myself, I would probably rank freelance websites in a similar order to the table above. vWorker has a very detailed comparison of the sites from the freelancer perspective as well: http://www.ddiy.co/vworker-employee-comparison

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Logytics July 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Elance is really very expensive, Odesk is very complicated and too much of terms and conditions, Freelancer is better I got 2 projects in 1 week worth $200. in Odesk and Elance after several week also I’ve not got any job..

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oleg September 28, 2012 at 6:22 am

Freelancer is the worst freelance job site. My suggestion will be to stay away from this site. Instead join Guru, Elance etc.

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Brent July 9, 2012 at 6:17 am

I’ve been a contractor on Elance since 2008 and on Scriptlance, oDesk, vWorker and Freelancer.com since 2009. Competition to win work is tough and so bids are low, which forces contractors to take on a numbe of jobs at a time and multitask through them. Even then, I think very few (if any) contractors make enough to freelance full time (I certainly don’t). The key to success, I think, for some contractors is to win as much work as possible, and then re-outsource the work they can’t do to someone else on the same or another freelancer site. I suppose for the employer, the key to remember is that you get what you pay for. And if you find a reliable worker, hang onto them.

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Daniel July 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

Great review! Very clarifying!I’m a contractor, but it’s always good to see the opposite point of view.
And I’d like to share my experience here in freeelance.com…
It’s a good site for who’s starting, as there’s several opportunities and I guess less concurrence. But most part of the opportunities don’t turn into deals…I mean not just for me, the clients cancel the project or it expires.. Maybe exactly because the UI, the clients may prefer another sites…
But what I think really worst are the fees. They’re very confusing and don’t match (5% $50 = $4??). And beyond the high fees (I think so at least), client and contractor pay.
The site also charge the membership without your authorization after you upgrade the first time.
So, summarizing, I also don’t recommend this site and am looking for other alternatives.

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Brent July 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Freelancer.com’s website is slow and even though they carried over my projects that I completed on Scriptlance, none of that adds to your reputation, so employers still see you rated as 0.0 when you bid. I haven’t won any projects on Freelancer before even though I won lots on the other sites. And now they want to charge a membership even if you win no projects at all! (Same as Elance). But I’ve won work on Elance even though I was on the free option. No such luck on Freelancer.

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get web July 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Nice comparison,
I found odesk is very competitive, even there are more than 200 applications for single job. scriptlance is taken by freelancer.com and freelancer is also changed its policies and now you have restriction of 10 jobs. $5 has its own restriction and 99 design is only for designs, i never use elance so I am moving to it.

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Pjmax July 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I am a freelance graphic designer (over 25 yrs.) and just wanted to point out a few things to consider, whichever site you use. Most experienced designers will not work for free, which is what the ‘contest’ sites are asking of the artists. It’s also pretty much against the policies of professional (graphic arts) associations.
I have worked (or I should say re-worked) a number of jobs for people here locally who were initially quick to boast about getting a great logo for only $50. They were not professionally done, and the clients ended up paying me several hundred dollars to clean them up, which in most cases means starting from scratch, making sure the type is kerned properly, formatting for vector or raster use, colors are set for the intended use, ie., web, 4c printing, spot color, etc.
In the long run, hiring a pro can be cost-efficient, and you will really never know if a person is right for you until you work with them (like most fields.) Look through the portfolios, resumes, and if you find some you like, ask questions, provide information and try them out with a small, paying job., before you hand over that big job you need in 3 days. A pro will ask you questions, explain his/her procedure and give you a timeline as to when you can expect certain stages of the job, and they will deliver when promised, at the agreed-upon price.
I have one client I’ve been working with for over 7 yrs. Because I have most of his work on file, I can easily make changes as he needs them. He sends me an email, I do what he asks and send it back, usually within an hour or two, and I have a check in the mail within days of billing. I actually charge him less than some others, because he’s such a pleasure to work with.
I’m just saying vett the prospects carefully and don’t dismiss those who are charging a fair price for the work, it could save you money in the long-run.

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Aaron October 11, 2012 at 11:30 am

As a business owner I am constantly bombarded by companies offering to do my blog writing, social media tasks, link building, emailing blasts, SEO, pay per click campaigns, etc. I feel ninety per cent of the time the person I am talking to only knows less than 10% more than me. They probably have several clients which means they have as much time as me to do the tasks. The fees charged seems to be around the a3500 for just about every service going and when you add all that up seems to amount to an imposing amount of money.The tips in the article are good, worthwhile and thought provoking. May be someone can actually put a plan together which is quantifiable as to how they will increase the online presence and what cash will then then generated which can then be re invested.

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James August 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I agree. As a concept artist/illustrator I find all these sites have the same initial problem, which is the amount of pay for jobs. Only artists from the developing world can consider the work as no westerner will survive on the rates offered. 100% disapointing, all of them.

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Chederlei October 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

You’ve not mentioned Virtual Assistants. Do you know they have been aronud since the mid 1990s providing the type of support you mention?If you google Virtual Assistant’ you’ll find a lot of websites and also networks and organisations that they are listed with. Many live in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand as well as several other countries, English speaking and other languages.Because they are independent business owner/operators they are the perfect partner to those who need to outsource the work to be done.My own longest term clients have been with me between 5-12 years some only need me a couple of times a month, others may need me several times a month. Each only gets charged for the hours I support them.

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Brett August 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

With Fivver.com you get what you pay for. A super simple task, completed for just $5.

The important thing to remember with Fivver.com is that you shouldn’t try to outsource anything involving higher-level thought there. For example, you’re not going to find a great copywriter there. You’re not going to get someone to build you a custom website and blog. With that being said, if you need something small that is simple it can be a good choice. There are plenty of folks giving nice website reviews via YouTube that can work nicely. Also, I actually got one of my template videos that I use for a landing page via Fiverr.com. (You can check it out by following my link.) It doesn’t look too bad for $5 bucks.

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Todd December 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I have been using Vworker for years hiring designers for logo projects. Freelancer just purchased them and I am attempting to get a logo designed. It has come to my attention that Freelancer maintains copyright ownership of all logos and graphic design projects. Vworker had legal jargon included in your project listing that said the designer will transfer all copyright ownership to the client. I know that 99 Designs also keeps the copyright ownership. Does anyone know if Elance or Odesk let the designer transfer the copyright ownership to the buyer?

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Phil December 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

On the other side of the fence… coming from a professional freelancer.

Several sites which are rated highly are not so agreeable to a professional person who does a good job but desires a decent fee. Who in western developed nations can work for $2.00 per hour like someone from a third-world nation charges!? That’s the major flaw I’ve found with most of these sites. It’s impossible to give a competive bid, so the job goes overseas.

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Deezy January 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

This list is great!!!

I’ve been doing Free Lancing on the side for years and freelancer.com just recently acquired rent a coder/Vworker .com. And I was quite heart broken about it because I use to be on freelancer.com which I totally agree with your review of them. There interface is horrible and it’s money driven. I couldn’t book mark a project without putting $24.95 down (some membership fee). It has gotten so bad that after my current projects I’m going to leave the site for good. I’ve been shopping around for a few days to see if there are other site other then odesk.com and this list is great. Anyhow thanks for the list and reviews, this makes my search for another site easier.

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adrian higgs January 23, 2013 at 8:26 am

another freelancer saga story. I had a friend of mine who i owed money too, he had a freelancer account, i hadn’t made a withdrawal yet so had to wait two weeks to get my money out i thought we would create a project and he complete it thus allowing the money to be transferred to him. Next thing i know freelancer has suspended his account, he had to provide a high def photo of his passport and him holding his passport and a freelancer code, he said if they have a problem then just put the money back into my account, so they put the money back into my account, froze my account made me do the passport, code bill thing, so i did that, then still wasn’t good enough, still more questions, have been trying to get this money out of my account for three months now, it’s beyond a joke. This company is criminal.

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Adam Davis February 2, 2013 at 6:48 am

I’ve used almost all of the sites as a contractor. Here’s the bottom line:

All sites have a lot of inexpensive workers from other countries that know just enough to win the projects. The workers can work out if you know exactly what you want and are willing to stay close to the contractor and guide him/her along. One of the problem that *some* US contractors face is they think they are more valuable then they are. Take SEO for example; a US worker gets a degree in marketing but has never ranked a site, he thinks he is the greatest thing out there. Therfore, he thinks he can charge $40/hr. However, a non-US worker can show that he has ranked sites on the front page of Google and charges $5/hr. Now, you have to verify – independently – with websites that the non-US worker claims to ensure he did work for the sites. Plus, non-US workers don’t spend a lot of time “pontificating” about the subject.

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Phil February 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Not to mention, these sites allow U.S. contractors to pay sub-minimum wage and not get fined or jailed for doing so. It’s a great way for contractors to get around the law in a legal and accepted way… and not feel bad for doing so!

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meDilbert February 3, 2013 at 7:33 am

This is my second comment and this time after having used the sites for more then 8 months. I am one of those consultants with accounts on Multiple sites. Here are some of my thoughts.

1. Elance and Freelancer , have bad UX. It is difficult for a new freelancer to get a breakthrough and win a contract. As mentioned Freelancer has way too many fees not very clear upfront

2. oDesk is best among top three. I opened my account at same time on all the three sites and I have completed 22 projects on oDesk, 1 on Freelancer, none on eLance.
Some positives of oDesk
1. Simple, no fuss user interface.
2. 10% oDesk fee(+bank/ wire transfer charges) are justified for service they provide.
3. Billing, payment is simple.

Negatives:
1. few agency/ contractors/ clients get options to hide the billed hours/ rates and this gives scope for manipulation and puts contractors like me who do not have options in disadvantage.
2. Test ranking sounds like scam. If a client just looks at test results and hires some one, he will be in for surprise. Some people ( mostly belonging to same agency) are all passing tests in record time like 5-7 mins . This means average 6 secs to read, understand and answer tests and seems impossible especially when you see all the star performers belonging to same agency. Very fishy but new clients wont know this and fall for trap
3. No option to see a client name before applying. Some clients are not worth the effort as they either want free samples or they are contractors who bid on other sites and offload their projects here. there is no option to disable a client/project from showing up once one decides not to take any further work from them.

Fiverr:
Some buyers know exactly what the requirement and discuss before ordering a Gig. Most want hours of programming for just 4$( after fiverr takes their 20% cut) and order gigs with out even asking.
Gigs are best suited to micro tasks that are well defined. Not suitable to programming services where buyer and seller need to discuss and get clarity on requirement and fiverr forbids IM/Skype/email communication
Seller cant cancel such gigs with out discussing with buyer and doing so hurts ratings.
The time it takes for payment to be available to withdraw is absurdly long also their payment transfer fee is too high in some cases.

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Scorrar March 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I have worked on oDesk as a freelancer with mixed results. Most people who complain are on the hiring side but some people who hire on this site are awful. I get the impression that some employers feel that they do not need to be helpful or cooperative as they are doing the hiring, good job really as I would not hire them in reverse. Two jobs ago I would ask a question, critical at the point of asking, I would get an irritable reply two hours later comprising of one very short sentence. The last job I did in January the hirer had me committing fraud(unwittingly) in my own name, probably a court case brewing somewhere in the world. I am working from home due to ill health and a strong need for money otherwise I do not think I would bother again.

I was looking today on the site and there was one job, quite easy, though there was no mention of average bid so I looked at the other jobs that they had posted previously. My jaw hit the keyboard when I read the last job someone had worked 95 hours at 4 cent an hour and had earned a total of $3.80 something. I cross my fingers and hope that the other sites are not any worse. Will try Elance next I think.

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William August 6, 2013 at 11:01 am

I have looked at the freelancer sites and they are populated with no-budget, clueless dreamers who think they can hit it big with the next Facebook. Skilled professionals should stay far away from freelance sites.

You could argue that it takes communication and education to bring the client up to speed but it’s a huge amount of time and effort (and it’s usually for nothing). Many of the projects posted by the tire-kickers are closed without being awarded.

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bart November 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

My favorite of the past was Scriptlance, which had the best pricing system ($5. flat fee paid by the seller) and the best review system for both parties. When Freelancer bought them, they changed everything to Freelancer’s messed up site and system. Now, they are (have) going to be a public corp. Good grief!

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