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oDesk review

Just discovered a great new service, oDesk. It’s pretty technical/business so I’ve posted an extended review of oDesk to the foliovision website. If you are into outsourcing and programming, check it out.

What’s cool about oDesk is that the programmers/providers earn a living wage. oDesk also takes a fair cut (10%) instead of a bunch of hideous fees.

oDesk review
oDesk home page – links to review

Sometimes technology can make for a better world.

Sometimes capitalism can lead to constructive innovation (as opposed to A-Bombs exploded over Japanese/Iranian cities).


  1. Paul Paul

    oDesk is terrible. It is good for programmers who manage to get projects, but terrible for buyers. There are almost no protections against incompetent developers who accept projects and then can’t do them. If a buyer has one dubious experience, they won’t go back. The really qualified developers are too busy to take on new jobs, so that leaves a wide range of developers eager to get an assignment. oDesk will be a marketplace for low end work and buyers who can afford to take risks with

  2. Rick Rick

    I agree with Paul partially. Odesk is TERRIBLE if used the way they want you to use it, which is to give work on an hourly basis. This lines the pockets of the idiotic people who run Odesk while a developer with little to no competency will drag out your hours as long as possible until you catch on and end the project. Odesk has a policy that they will only review time spent working and not the quality of the assignment so this basically boils down to as long as the person was online and using their stupid odesk monitoring tool than this is considered to be work regardless of what the person was actually doing or working on.

    On the other hand, after some horrible experiences working hourly I just decided to no longer do anything hourly and just on a fixed price basis. As long as you have some good feedback and history on odesk providers will bid good prices on fixed price projects and then you have no obligation to pay the person unless the project is completed to your specifications. Its kind of odesk’s secret that this way actually works a lot better than their other hourly method. Also, the fixed price projects attract actual real coders and people who can get the job done quickly because the other 90% of the providers are just scammers so they know not to take on a fixed price project because they won’t be able to deliver and thus will be paid nothing.

  3. Bob Bob

    “the fixed price projects attract actual real coders and people who can get the job done quickly because the other 90% of the providers are just scammers”

    As a ‘real coder’ who uses oDesk I’d say the complete opposite. I started out with low priced fixed price projects to gain site reputation, but wouldn’t touch them now.

    You have to appreciate that plenty of buyers are scammers too, many will change project requirements repeatedly to the point where what looked like a quick simple project can end up taking weeks. Then they take the work you did and get someone to finish it off for a few dollars.

  4. Here are a few best practices I find:

    1. Try not to hire someone with less than 100+ hours of odesk experience, let someone else deal with the newbie and train the person.
    2. Try to find a contractor that is in the same timezone so you can monitor the progress and not wake up realize he went down the wrong path and you are billed 8 hrs.
    3. If you interviewed someone will good review, insisted on dealing with that account, don’t get talked into bait and switch to deal with an unknown account. People with good review cares about their reputation, people doesn’t have any review can create a new account.
    4. Review the work every day and dispute it right away, once it falls outside the disputable window, it will be difficult to dispute.
    5. Give very detail instructions. Use Skype as much as you can. English comprehension skill is important.
    6. Ditch the guy if he is not good. It is meant to make your life easier, if you ended up spending more time communicating or getting frustrated, it is not worthed, put up a craiglist ad at your local college. As lot of smart local kids out there.
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