With 10-million strong freelancer army and 4 million businesses to cater for, Elance-Odesk is being rebranded as Upwork, a new freelancer-client platform that promises improved communication, faster hiring time, easier collaboration among teams and a feature-rich mobile interface. More than a year back, Elance and Odesk merged to create the biggest freelance marketplace, and five months and $30 million later, Upwork hopes to become a better option for freelancers worldwide.
Moving from Odesk-Elance to Upwork
Though it is reported that both Elance and Odesk will be merged in to a single platform, right now Elance is still Elance but Odesk is completely replaced by Upwork. So Odesk users are already experiencing the new interface. Since months back Elance users have been getting email invites to transfer their account to Odesk so it is clear that eventually Elance website will also be replaced by Upwork (Odesk)- whether the current users like it or not. We’re not sure when this change will happen but it is expected in the next couple of years.
Except for some design and fee differences, Elance and Odesk serve the same function. However, many users loved the simplicity of the Elance interface and that is why they have been sticking to the platform instead of moving to Odesk. Elance is also a more preferred platform for non-technical freelancers such as web admin and writers. Now that Elance is going to become Upwork, many Elance freelancers are also concerned about their profile scores and whether it will be transferred to Upwork or not. But Upwork will most likely transfer your stats, ratings and customer feedback from Elance. Odesk charges freelancers 10% fee while Elance charges 8.75%- this higher fee may also deter some freelancers from immediately moving to Upwork. So, what are the new changes that might prompt long-time Elance users to move to Upwork?
An enhanced matching algorithm
Upwork boasts of a new algorithm which is developed by Stanford PhD employees and is said to significantly improve the process of finding the right job for the right freelancers. Because freelancers have quick access to matching jobs, the hiring process is said to take much shorter than before, which saves a lot of time for both clients and freelancers. A new work place status where you can set your availability to “right away”, “later” or “not looking”. Previously you could only set your status to either available or not-avaliable.
Real time group collaboration
Similar to Slack, Upwork includes a collaboration tool that is free to use by anyone not just Upwork users. With this tool, clients and freelancers can communicate and share files in real-time. Extra features like video chat and integration with third party platforms like Google Drive, Jire and GitHub are expected to be added later in 2015.
New Mobile App
Elance’s mobile app received a lot of criticism for its lack of features. It basically displays the mobile version of the Elance website minus the ability to send proposals or post jobs. The Elance app can only be used to see the workplace messages and payment upadtes. Upwork’s new app adds extra features which let you post jobs, send proposals and review applications on the go- basically you will be able to hire or get hired right from your mobile device. You can try these new features by downloading Upwork Messenger app from Google Play Store or itunes App Store.
Are you a client or freelancer on Upwork (Odesk)? Please share with us how your experience has been so far. Also, if you have recently moved from Elance to Upwork, let us know how you like the change in the comments below.