Tuesday, August 01, 2006

oDesk vs RentACoder: code mercenaries have to get hired somewhere, right?

oDesk :.: The On Demand Global Workforce
Rent A Coder:How Software Gets Done

When I first decided that I wanted to work remotely instead of shuffle around from site-to-site jobs in Savannah, GA, I did a little investigatory research into my options. By the end of the week, I decided I was left with two safe options: RentACoder and oDesk.

I say safe because, unlike some of the other more notorious contract coding sites on the 'net (*cough* ScriptLance *cough*), there's really no way to be cheated out of getting paid. RentACoder uses an escrow service, which is pretty much a requirement for a fixed-bid system. They've got an arbitration system that works quite well from what I've seen. oDesk is based on an hourly rate system, so its not really that much of an issue and they make the guarantee on their site that you always get paid for hours worked, so that's cool too.


RentACoder works on a fixed-bidding auction-style system. Potential buyers put up projects, maybe set a price range they feel the most comfortable with, and sellers -- that is, coders -- put up bids. Bids are basically how much the coder would charge to complete the auction's specifications before the deadline.

RentACoder has a very low barrier of entry: anyone can sign up for an account and start bidding on jobs. That's definitely a bonus in my book; it's one of the main reasons I chose to try doing RentACoder full-time, but more on that later.

Although I've had my RentACoder account for almost a year, I never used it until about two months ago. That was the first time I investigated RentACoder, and I was not pleased with what I saw. Back then you could view the bids of other coders, both the messages left and the bid amounts, and it was... let me just say that it was a mess back then, in my opinion.

That was a year ago, though, and things have significantly improved in that year's time. Now the site seems a lot cleaner and tighter than it was a year ago.

One downside is that there's very little interaction between RentACoder and the rest of the community -- no forums, the blogs are rarely updated, etc. That's kind of disappointing, since to the timid RentACoder has a kind of a "thrown to the sharks" kind of atmosphere.

Another issue -- slightly bigger to me than their lack of communication with the community -- is the website itself. I'm not saying its ugly, but it seriously needs an uplift, for aesthetics and usability in general. The site is obviously showing its age; the coder financial page, for instance, gets really cumbersome once you've got several completed jobs under your belt.

Despite all that, my experience, after a few weeks of dealing with RentACoder, was really excellent. I don't regret picking them at all. But more on that later.


oDesk is kind of the new kid on the block, and has a radically different model. I guess, in a way, they embrace the Web 2.0 model of doing business. They're a very responsive group; they blog very often, and they're not scared of dogfooding the oDesk model of business in order to develop the software powering oDesk. They embrace community interaction and they're a very responsive group with good feedback, a helpful forum of users, and etc.

oDesk embraces the concept of a "remote workplace" to the extreme. Using oDesk requires using their proprietary software system. It tracks how many keystrokes you've made an hour, occasionally takes a snapshot of your workstation screen so that Buyers -- the people who hire you -- can monitor you during "working hours." Creepy, right?

On the flipside, oDesk also offers a lot of awesome tools for Providers -- coders -- to use. Providers all working with the same buyer (or is it the same job?) all have access to Bugzilla, Subversion, etc -- the typical software development tools people working on a product together deploy, except that everything is set up automatically by oDesk.

Providers can pick their ideal hourly wage, send resumes' to prospective Buyers who have job openings, etc, etc -- oDesk has basically brought the traditional workplace to The Web, which is a great accomplishment.

Most of this information, though, is based on the oDesk forums and the information available on their website... which brings me to the downside of oDesk.

Joining oDesk looks like a real pain -- such a pain, in fact, that after working with RentACoder for almost 2 weeks it didn't seem worth the effort (still doesn't) trying to get through the signup process. It also seems targetted at old people--errrr, people who have been "in the business" for a significant amount of time.

Here are some of their requirements -- stuff you have to go through during the interview process.

1. Minimum 3 years work experience (Preferred but exempted in case of exceptional candidates)
2. Good resume (relevant work experience, experience with remote working, solid educational background)
3. Available to work on oDesk at least 20 hours every week
4. Tech-savvy, comfortable working over the internet
5. Able to deal with customer directly
6. Good knowledge of English language and good overall communication skills
7. Flexible working hours
8. Ready Internet Access (Broadband recommended)
9. Enterprising and ready to take initiative

Providers | Community

Yadda yadda, most of its typical. #9 is raw marketing, #4-8 are a duh, #2's kind of strange unless you consider the context of a "remote workplace" instead of RentACoder's auction system, etc.

The two biggest hurdles for me even experimenting with oDesk were #1, and the interview process itself.

For one, I never did really like interviews -- people tend to ask pretty stupid questions, like, "where do you want to be in 5 years" and random shit like, "weeeeelll, use a bubble sort on this array" where saying "qsort(array)" will not get you the job.

My complaints with the interview process aside, I'm just not really comfortable going through that kind of gauntlet over The Web. I'm not really an agile thinker, so realtime interviews -- all of them -- end up as "mushroom cloud"-shaped diasters for me. I also like my skills to speak for themself; I'm pretty secretive and tend not to give out information about myself or what I do other than what's absolutely necessary.

#1 was the real non-starter for me, though. I... don't have 3 years work experience. That's really it. I don't, and I'm not an exceptional candidate -- I'm just Really Good at what I do. I'm not even sure what I'd say during the oDesk interview: "I don't have 3 years work experience, but I'm really good at softare development?"

Although on RentACoder, mentioning Boo in a bid request is what sealed the deal and got me one of my first jobs.

I am, by the way, a rocking software developer -- that's what all of my satisfied buyers have to say, anyway. >:)

My choice.

As 90% of you astutely gathered, I ended up going with RentACoder. The pay's been slow -- I might have made more in the initial 2 months with oDesk than RentACoder -- but I've been working my way up (in terms of bidding and winning) and my reputation's been spreading, so now the issue of landing a good job really isn't really a problem anymore.

At the time of this writing, I spent some time checking out oDesk again. They've improved a lot -- they have a working feedback system now, for one -- but there's still nothing really compelling enough that would make me endure the interview process. It's a lot of time to spend for a site I might not even get into. Kinda like a high rate club, I guess. The draw just isn't there for me, though.

Anyway, that's all for now.

I blog, therefore I am,


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Jason Chicola said...


Thanks for the feedback. We're glad you like oDesk's remote workplace model, our tools, and our community.

Regarding the downside, we agree 100% that our Provider signup process needs work. We're currently working on a complete overhaul. Provider Signup will be much simpler, very soon. Stay tuned.

Until then, if you want to get fast-tracked for an oDesk Provider account, email me at jason [ at ] odesk.com

Note that we're hard at work adding features based on user requests, including:

* oDesk Tests - all providers can take an unlimited # of skills tests, which are listed on their profiles
* My Analytics tab - a dashboard to give each team visibility into work activity, including hours worked, bugzilla tasks performed, and subversion commits
* oDesk Chat - buyers will be able to interview providers through an integrated chat system

Of course, we'd love to hear more of what you like and don't like about us. Let us know...

Jason Chicola
Director of Marketing

Bet's On said...

Ahh, this is what I meant when I said you guys were pretty responsive. =D

I really don't want special or preferential treatment, but I will keep an eye on oDesk for this simplified sign-up process you say is coming. I hope it happens in the near future, because I'm always on the look-out for new opportunities.

Anonymous said...

I signed up for odesk about a month ago. Their webmail doesn't even work: https://secure.odesk.com/webmail
They take a cut out of your pay, though they make no mention of this when you sign up. And like you said you have to use their proprietary desktop software that prob. does a lot of stuff they don't mention.

irfan said...

Well, I've registered with oDesk some 3-4 months ago and I occasionally check my mails by webmail and I've had no problems so far.

As for the cutoff for the payment, that’s quite normal as every similar system charges a certain fee to the coders including RentACoder, Guru etc. as well. The commission fee is clearly stated on oDesk FAQ page in the FAQ section : Home » oDesk Handbook » FAQ : "How does oDesk make money?" https://community.odesk.com/provider_faq#A_1 Before signing in for a membership, I always check the site’s FAQ section and I had found it there easily.

Using the proprietary desktop software, called oDesk which takes random screenshots as well as recording the keyboard and mouse clicks indeed seems a bit weird at first but you get used to it very easily. In order to protect your privacy when you stop working, it has a very easy pause/resume tool, and I use it a lot when my work schedule is interrupted by sudden phone call etc.
But this tool has a real benefit which you can not appreciate at first. As it takes random screenshot and counts keyboard/mouse clicks, there’s absolutely no way to have disputes with the buyers. All is recorded there both for the provider’s and buyer’s review, so I strongly believe that this tool is mandatory for avoiding disputes on work time.

This was a major factor for me as similar Arron’s past experience; I had memberships in RentACoder as well as guru.com site for over a year. The appealing factor for me in oDesk was the hourly fixed pricing system. While I was researching for freelance work, I had seen many arbitration cases/dispute resolutions in those systems. Working with a remote buyer is very difficult and most the time buyers don’t have the proper experience to prepare a full project specification which results in disappointment in both parties. Most of the time the end result is not satisfactory for the buyer [as he was not able to fully specify the requirements] and he asks for modifications [add here/change this etc]. This is a major frustration for the coder as well has for a fixed-bid project it’s not profitable. Asking for an additional fee is most likely results in arbitrations. Most often the coders add large amount of “compensational estimates” as much as 2 times in the project price as they’re not certain how long they’d have to work for the project. For ex the project can be assumed to last for 100 hours but it can take as much as 200 hours as a result of buyer’s lack of experience, not specifying all the details etc.

On the contrary I have no such problems on oDesk, the buyer may ask for modifications/changes as much as he wants. As long as I record the time using the oDesk client, I always get paid. This was a huge factor for me in deciding oDesk over other systems such as RAC. Not to mention that as Arron has pointed out, these guys are really fast and responsive. So many times I’ve asked for assistance for various reasons and I was always answered promptly either by email or by Yahoo Messenger.

I do agree to a certain level with Arron that the interview process in the initial signup was a bit too detailed. However I think that this is also good for the buyers as well as the developers. The buyers get only qualified coders and for the coders the competition is much less. RAC boasts about ~150.000 coders but how easy will it be for any coder to get over so much competition ? I’m sure that there are also many qualified coders on RAC as well but it’s so difficult to compete with so many coders out there, I had even tested RAC system as a buyer and I even had 2-3 instant replies just 5-10 mins after I’d posted a project. And in 2-3 days I had over 30-40 quotes for my project but more than half of the coders quotes were either copy/paste quotes or were incredibly low priced.

I guess the initial membership interview process could be smoothened a bit but it seems logical for me when I think of oDesk to put some restrictions, 3 yrs could be maybe a bit much, but requiring at least 1 or 2 years is quite logical. Other than the experience in coding, it also takes so much to manage a project with remote telecommunication. Dealing with the clients, trying to point them in the right direction, helping them to specify the project specs a more detailed level … This is also achieved by experience and the limitation should be at least 1 or better 2 yrs.

As Arren has pointed our oDesk has really awesome tools deployed for tracking the project, SVN repository, news/feedback system etc. They even utilize webinars to get you oriented into the system. While Arron says he does not want to spend time for an interview that he might never get the job, current system in RAC also takes some time to prepare a good quite. I’ve had several interview with buyers in oDesk and most of the time I never had to spend more than 1 hour for the interview/chat with the buyer. The good thing with the interview is that it’s also possible that the buyer is not the right kind of client for you as well. It helps a lot during the interview [usually done on IM] and if you feel like you’ll have problems if you get the job with this particular buyer, you can also decline the job offer. You don’t have this chance on other freelancer sites.

I’m really sorry for you Arren that you did not have more than 3 yrs experience to qualify with the current restriction but I’d wish you tried once more for the membership. All the tools oDesk provides and the hourly charging system really makes the oDesk system unique and a pleasant experience for coders. I can not much about your dislike for interviews but telecommuting always requires a certain level of client relationship management. It looks like you were able to satisfy your clients in RAC so I guess you’d have no problems if you were in oDesk as well. There might always be odd clients asking for bubble sort algorithms but hey this is life, you’ll always meet peculiar/odd clients in the end. I’ve even had a client who was used double-clicking on the links in a web page thinking single-click on a link would not function 


Paul S said...

I have been working with Odesk for more than three months now but till yet never faced any kind of issue with them whether it's payment related or regarding any kind of assistance.These guys have really done their home work well and are planned.I am in this business for more than 5 years now and and this might be the first site in which a service provider doesn't have to pay a single penny for getting the projects. Believe me guys, there are a lot other similar websites out there that charge the service providers so heavily before even assigning a project to them and that also with zero support system. In fact Odesk's assistance team is really fast and responsive and they are always ready to help you out with any kind of stuff. I am very satisfied working with them and hoping to grow with them.

LaZy Tiger said...

Before oDesk I tried RentACoder but it takes a lot of time to go through all projects description, spending time to bid, answer etc.

I've been working as oDesk provider about 2 years. Yes I had several interviews before starting to work, but nothing creepy. On all my previous works I had interviews as well.
I got a job in half a month after I became oDesk provider.
During these years I've applied only for one job for myself. For all other projects bueyrs found me. This is also a plus - no need to waste time with finding projects, just focusing on work.

All other things such random screenshots are normal, anyway you are working not surfing the net ;-).

Also using the tools you stay informed of what's new on oDesk via email or forum. You can ask at any time any question you have.

Bet's On said...

Wow, thanks for all the feedback, guys. I had no idea my blog post would attract that kind of attention.

Some strong supports of it here. Guess I might have to take another look at it more sooner than later.

Alexander Ryzhanskiy said...

Hi All,
I think that the only way to build good service it is make it good for developers and customers both. And my opinion odesk is best for developers on this market. And I am sure that best developers will choose odesk, because of hourly payment and stability. And this make odesk best for the customers too.
Alex Ryzhanskiy
Software company leader.

gerar said...

Hi all,

I am interested in all this "code mercenaries" sites, and I have been reading around in blogs, logging in the sites, reading their FAQs, listening to others opinions ...

So far, I've seen people really like oDesk, but I cannot feel comfortable with the amount of privacy intrusion they have, and the work relation they somehow encourage or represent.

I understand why that control is there, and I also know some "normal" businesses also have a lot of control over their employees. Some "normal" businesses even install spyware and log keystrokes and remotely survey the content of the screen, as oDesk does. I have some friends that have worked for businesses like those, and all the employees were really unhappy, and they would try to cheat the company as much as they could, just because the loyalty was zero, and they felt like slaves. So they wanted to screw the "master".

So I don't feel comfortable with those businesses and their philosophy, and if I could choose, I would never work for them.

Also, I think that's a model that is not the correct. It's fundamentally wrong. It’s untrusting your employees. Saying them they are cheaters, bad workers, and that they don't deserve the money they are getting paid. It is seeing employees as enemies instead of allies.

No way you can achieve great things in that way. Your employees will give you all they owe you, not a second less or a gram of effort less, that’s true. But also, not a gram more.

Anyway, I understand that when looking for an “offshore” coder you don’t want loyal employees, or to obtain great achievements, but to get things done quickly and cheap.

And it’s also true that I can’t imagine right now some other good way of having some degree of control on the money you are investing. After all, it is in the other side of the ocean and you are looking to get some result.

I don’t know; though matter, isn’t it?

Dave said...

..cannot feel comfortable with the amount of privacy intrusion they have, and the work relation they somehow encourage or represent

i think you're missing the point here.

the work diary is a benefit to the remote programmer, because it provides insurance / audit trail info so that they can be paid regularly (and thus, hourly... which is the big difference between oDesk and other services).

far from being a privacy intrusion, this is what enables remote workers to make sure their work is verified, and their payments are guaranteed.

in other systems -- particularly fixed-bid scenarios -- it's more likely that a buyer/employer will renege on their commitment because there's no visibility on the work being done.

more importantly, since there's visibility via oDesk unnecessary work / payment disagreements can be prevented before they occur.

(while there are certainly appropriate use cases for fixed-bid payment, in many cases this figure-out-problems-at-the-end approach is what causes disappointment / frustration / dissatisfaction in managing remote work projects)

oDesk resolves these type of issues by using the work diary to provide verification of work, and thus a guarantee of payment. this is a benefit for both remote workers as well as buyers / employers.

my .02,

- dave mcclure

[full disclosure: i am currently consulting with oDesk]

Bet's On said...

in other systems -- particularly fixed-bid scenarios -- it's more likely that a buyer/employer will renege on their commitment because there's no visibility on the work being done.

Sorry, Dave, but I don't agree with that one bit! Using RentACoder as a prime example, work can be done in phases (with money released for each phase) and it can be required that weekly status reports with delieverables be uploaded every Friday on the Friday or the deal is off. I've done several jobs (20ish? can't remember) using a system like this on RentACoder to ensure that I and the buyer are in complete agreement and will end up happy when the job is done.

I'll agree that there are benefits to being monitored 24/7 while at work, but that's not to say that other sites don't have equally effective and sometimes less intrusive means of ensuring that work is being done.

Dave said...

alot of different opinions are expressed here.
At this moment I can't contribute to the discussion as (for now?) I'm not using oDesk or other services.

These opinions are however at the core of some investigation we're doing. We see the rise of oDesk related services and are thinking about how the ultimate service would look like that brings (expressed) benefits to both 'buyers' and 'providers' (I'd change the terminology used..)

For our investigation we've setup a small survey on these "Global OnDemand Workforce" at

this location

I'd appreciate it a lot if you could give your opinion and possibly contribute to the development of the ultimate ;-) service?


David Ruzius

Anonymous said...

The difference is rentacoder is for smallish projects (couple hundred) and odesk is for medium to large projects (thousand to tens of thousands)


The buyer has less risk! They would much rather pay as you go than risk time wasted, headaches with arb, etc.. by going with the wrong provider.

If the buyer sees you are good they will go ahead with project and even give you a bonus! If they see that you can't cut it, they give it to someone else and all they've lost is maybe a dozen or so hours pay.

And why would you consider the monitoring of your screen as 'creepy'? Isn't that what a boss would do if you were working for them in an office?

you know... drop by and have a chat or ask a question, look at your screen and see what you've done, etc.

or do you tell your boss when they do that that he/she is creeping you out?


odesk all the way baby!

Bet's On said...

"And why would you consider the monitoring of your screen as 'creepy'? Isn't that what a boss would do if you were working for them in an office?"

Thanks for the comments!

Anyway, its because a random screenshot normally isn't indicative of my current progress -- a lot of times the oDesk Team software tends to capture the screen whenever I've got my FTP window open, or when I'm fiddling inside of my virtual machine (which produces a large black rectangle rather than the screen contents).

So, browsing through the WorkDiary as a buyer might lead to a lot of question marks, and if you can't get in contact with a provider immediately to discuss the seemingly random screenshots, then it feels a bit odd.

But from experience rather than theory, I haven't met a buyer that really relies or even checks the Work Diary all that often. I've been told they use TimeAnaylze more, and that functionality doesn't display the random screenshots.

I guess its just not that interesting to look at a bunch of screenshots as I thought it'd be.


Anonymous said...

Hi there. I've used both sites mentioned and am MUCH happier with Odesk. Yes, they are somewhat "tight" with the interviews and whatnot, but I think its fabulous. I actually had a client FLY to my home to meet with me as a result and it was wonderful. Odesk buyers also seem to be much more educated than those of other sites. I like the fact that I am guaranteed to get paid, and that I am able to demonstrate my efforts. I won't be slapped into arbitration because the client was not specific enough, or because he made changes. I now solely use Odesk as opposed to the other sites and am very happy with my decision. Yes, it does need some work LOL- doesn't everything? I discovered that I can't have full use of my keyboard when Odesk team is running- I've emailed support about it and updated the client as well. But, the advantages far out weigh the little "pains." The interview process threw me a little bit too, but it gives both coder and buyer a chance to get to know each other and make sure that each are confident and comfortable working with each other. Besides, if you can have an interview in jeans and a t-shirt instead of a suit, why complain? :)

kamen said...

It is fair to warn about the pitfalls of rentacoder.

Please note rentacoder staff are INCREDIBLY STUPID PROFESSIONAL LIARS.
They lie even with their slogan.
The DUMMIES in rentacoder staff are proficient to blame someone else for their mistakes in attempts to hide their stupidity.
PERFECT evidences at http://kamen123.blogspot.com

With different words if someone tries to make serious project he will stumble in the incredible stupidity of rac staff. People interested to make serious projects have to go far away from rentacoder.

TakeReal.com said...

The insulter Kamen Kaburov (Kamen123) has been banned from RentACoder
Main reason: "He insulted other parties numerous times".
"kamen 123" spoil perfect site in revenge.

My name: Sergey I.Grachyov
Nickname: TakeReal
I am famous freelancer.
I have:
909 projects completed via RentACoder
115 projects completed via GetAFreelancer
35 projects completed via Scriptlance

Anonymous said...

Do not use ODesk, unless you are doing everything online. We had a buyer dispute our work, after doing the preliminary work offline, he disputed our hours, Odesk says we owe a refund. To bad the buyer implemented our work on his website, and has left it there for the last month. If you don't pay for the product, you should not get the product.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Yea, their dispute resolution leans toward hours clocked, you can clock offline hours but dispute resolution on fixed price and offline hours is totally up to you on oDesk. Personally I've never had a huge problem with that, but generally on a long term project I try to keep my hours minimal the first week (as the first week is mostly consultation anyways its no big deal), or for the first phase of a fixed price project. Minimize your risk, but don't be shy in getting things done either.

kaister said...

Responsive? waiting 4 days or more for help? No direct contact with Odesk they use Voicemail. No real help automated responses. OH, weekly payments instead of choices like bi weekly or monthly. In My book Odesk has been a nighmare so fare. Next step www.complaints.com and www.ripoffreports.com bet you they'll call me then. OR maybe answer their phone naahhh!.

STAY AWAY from Odesk unless you like to be ignored and like to leave voivemails

Anonymous said...

Yep, I agree with the last poster.

Odesk is a problem, signed up today, posted 5 projects and found it is not kosher to deal with.

Their billing agreement smells like Paypal. For explanation on "smells like paypal" google no pal pay pal or paypal warning. No thank you Odesk your agreement does not make me want to do business with you.

Oh yes how about.......drum roll....... "you have to provide a phone number to verify your credit card".....
Piss Off, if I wanted to live in the old USSR Id not be using a credit card. I like my privacy and do not provide a phone number even my bank doesnt have it.

Asked the rep to provide a direct phone number so I can call in - nothing.


arthipesa said...

ugh, confused, last two comments makes me confused. I just sign up to odesk, and now I'm scared.

Bet's On said...

oDesk is cool.

I'm still using it. :)

Anonymous said...

I have a serious issue with Odesk. I was concerned that I was getting robbed by a buyer. Understand that we need protection on website such as this.

I chatted with there support. Understand that it was my first attempt at odesk. I typically use e-lance and rent a coder for my projects. I wanted to know if the provider was avoiding me by trying to know if they knew if he was aware that he was awarded the project. I paid 20% in advance. I’m a serious business owner with not much time on my hands so quality of service is important. Obviously support department didn’t want to answer that question and has decided to refund me and close my account. They were frustrated, taugh I might was getting screwed and didn't want to admit it. I’m very disappointed of there attitude and we do not make business that way. There future isn’t big with an attitude like this…

tabish said...

I think odesk is better then rentacoder mainly because of guaranteed payment. I am working for odesk and get my first project on my second day of joining. The only issue i have with odesk is that there tool has some bugs which sometime not able to upload your logs mainly because of internet disconnection and this way provider loose some of their hours.

Techily said...

I just signed up for ODesk, but I'm not a coder. I'm a Windows Server Administrator who has worked remotely for years as a full-time employee for a large computer manufacturer. With remote server technologies like iLO, RDP and VPN, there's very little that can't be done remotely. With HP's virtual media built into ilo, you can even insert an .iso image into the virtual CD rom tray to boot a server up as if you were in the data center watching the server boot up. My impression is that most of the people on this site are probably coders, but I'm sure there's other Windows Admins out there like me that are having experiences with oDesk (good OR bad) that can share what their experiences have been.

storekeeper said...

I signed up on odesk just 2 weeks ago and I already got my 4th job, and currently have a pending interview today.....so I guess it really depends on your niche....

DocuMaker said...

A heads up... Rentacoder buyers will benefit from learning *how* to outsource through the site before making mistakes via trial and error: http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/outsourcing-through-rentacoder/7564711

Shahzad said...

my experienced about odesk is very bad. because it give the all rights to buyer. it is my experience that buyers end of the assignment disputed my earn money or BLOCK my account. i have the Good rating in odesk but one client that name is HENRY (HLMS) First dispute my Money after that block my account with Fake emails show to odesk team and blocked me on permanently.i requested again and agin to Odesk but any one can't help me on this. can any one told me the middle way to negotiate the both Provider and Buyers. Thanks in advance

Minhaz said...

Just read the blog in its entirety. Though the post elevates Rentacoder over oDesk, I would still like to say - oDesk is fabulous. I've worked (still working) there more than 7 thousand hours (http://www.odesk.com/users/~~9a20a53ef8509cd1), and am earning way more than what I would offline.

Your English is so racy I could not stop until I hit the last line.

Anonymous said...

Strange that all the posts bashing Odesk seem to be anonymous posters Oo

That either makes them lazy (like me) or frauds/hired help... Just imo.

Leslie Ann said...

I've been with oDesk for over a year and never had any problems with them. I would not want to work for Rent A Coder at all because I do not want to work for a company who invites providers by badmouthing the competition. Nicole from Rent A Coder left a very detailed comparison between oDesk and them, which unfortunately is not factual at all.

You can read her original comment here: http://isleng.blogspot.com/2010/02/odesk-february-earnings.html

and my response here: http://isleng.blogspot.com/2010/03/invitation-to-rent-coder.html

Badmouthing the competition to attract new providers doesn't seem ethical to me...so I wonder what the rest of these guys have up their sleeves.

BTW, in response to an anonymous user's comment, oDesk does not cut a part of your pay. Buyers/Employers have to pay extra and you get the exact amount you and your buyer agreed upon. Buyers are the ones who are charged the 10% oDesk fee, not the providers.

Anonymous said...

Odesk is great, been using it for more than a year already, screensnaps are kinda weird at first but you will get used to it...and i agree with the last comment, odesk doesnt cut your pay, your employer pays 10% extra for odesk fee...

aleksacom said...

Do not join Imagine consultation team at oDESK!!!!

I am writing about the inconvenience I had with Imagine Consultation.

When I joined oDesk, more than a year ago, I immediately got a invintation from the owner of Imagine Consultation agency Alethea Smylie. She offered me to join her team on oDesk.

She promised me that she will find the best jobs from oDesk, and I need her in return to pay a percentage of each of the work I done. Since I was new and inexperienced at oDesk, I accepted her proposal.
But nobody told me that I had to pay her a percentage for jobs that I've found without her help and recommendations.
Also, if you agree to get into it, you lose control and privacy of your profile, all private messages that you send and negotiations about any jobs Aletha can see.
Also, many employers are looking for independent contractors and if you are in a team (Imagine Consultation or other) you will not be able to apply for a job.
These are very important things that nobody told me before I get into Imagine C.

I really got a list of suggested jobs from time to time, but no one was in my skills.
After more than a year, I have not concluded any jobs by Imagine Consultation and I asked the Administrator Alethea Smylie, to exclude me from the team.
At first I did not get a response, but after a few times I got it.
This is a conversation I've had with the administrator Aletha:


I would like to leave Imagine consultation because I have not concluded any job by you.

Is that okay?


Alethea Smylie
Feb 18

You are in the middle of the interview process so you cannot leave at this time. After you have finished the jobs, if you still want to then you can leave at that time.


Feb 18
I sent you a request even before four days.

I have no interview invitations, on what exactly you mean?

Alethea Smylie
Feb 20
You are currently interviewing for this job: https://www.odesk.com/applications/233434037

Feb 20
Yes, I did test for this client but after that, he did not report me, so I guess that the test was not successful.

Also, I started negotiations with this client a day after I sent you the request to leave, but you did not reply me immediately, than only after my second request and four days later. That way you can take your time endlessly.

Please accept my request immediately, otherwise I will be forced to take other methods.

Expecting a quick response!

Alethea Smylie
10:03 pm
Trying to threaten me to responding to you quicker was ridiculous.

Anyways, for me to be able to remove you from the agency you have to close all contracts and any open job applications/archived applications per oDesk's rules.

Also, discontinue using the improved cover letter & profile overview (remove any language you received from the handbooks). Send me your new cover letter (copy & paste it in the body of your message) without our language and tell me when you have update your profile overview that does not have out language and I will remove you from the agency.


After that I asked for help from Odesk administrators and only a month later I was allowed to leave Imagine Consultation. But after that has continued harassment by Alethea Smylie....

I advise everyone to think carefully before agreeing to enter a team, especially Imagine Consultation.

Alethea said...


I am the person that Ivan is talking about on this page. I have just become aware of this defamation campaign by one of my former contractors, Ivan Aleksic. Before I talk about the actual specifics to refute his statements, I will provide a little background of my team. I have a team on oDesk that I pick after a 2-part interview process that asks numerous questions including what they do and how long they have been working in their field of expertise. I state everything that is included with being selected on the team during the interview process. It includes receiving a job report twice a week with the best jobs in their field of expertise, improving their chances of getting interviews by me improving their profile & cover letter, being associated with a United States team, helping with any issues they may have with an employer & more.

For those benefits, I take a small portion of their earnings only when they are hired for a job. This was all stated in the interview process before Ivan was selected for the team. So Ivan knew that even if he found a job without using our job report that he would still pay a portion of his earnings to the team because he still benefits from getting the job with his improved profile & cover letter, he still received the twice a week job report to interview for more jobs and he could still correspond with other team members, etc.

I have many tips and advice that I have given my contractors and I stated in the job handbook to state in every job application that they are affiliated with the company but that they will complete the job all by themselves so that the employer will know only the hired contractor he or she hired would complete their job.

Ivan received a job report with all of the best available jobs not time to time, twice every week. I even specifically added categories and listed jobs under them for Ivan Aleksic because he was the only photographer on the team. He also worked with Photoshop as did some of my other contractors and there was always a lot of jobs listed on each job report.

After a year, Ivan never was hired for any jobs. He never followed my advice on the amount of jobs to apply to every week so that he would increase his chances of getting interviews. As with any of my contractors on my team, I had no reason to stop him from leaving the team. I always state that anyone could leave the team at any time. However, as stated in the job handbook, all contractors need to remove the language from the cover letter & profile that I gave you to improve those items when you were on my team because it is proprietary language. He agreed to this stipulation but refused to remove it from his profile once he wanted to leave the team.

More importantly and the reason it took a while to remove him from the team, oDesk didn't allow contractors to be removed from the team that had open or archived applications or open jobs. I always replied back to Ivan Aleksic in a timely fashion and his first ever message to me about leaving the team was in the first email he listed above. You can see the dates of my responses that it was always within 2 days. The last message I stated that per oDesk rules the steps that have to be completed for oDesk to even allow me to remove him from the team. I tried repeatedly to remove him from the team and every time it said "User has active candidacies in agency" so it was not my fault that it took a while for him to be removed from the team. If he just followed oDesk's rules he would have been removed from the team immediately.

I never harassed Ivan or any of my contractors at any time. This is just another cruel lie and I am horrified by the distortion of the facts by Ivan. I always work hard and take great pride in providing my contractors with the guidance, application & interview skills, extensive job reports and more to provide them with the best team services on oDesk.

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