All Things Upwork

Yesterday, after announcing our exciting plan to merge our company with Elance, I was overwhelmed and humbled by thousands of emails. Many expressed support and congratulations for this new chapter, and I found myself reading them into the early hours of the morning.

Among your notes I received thoughtful suggestions, as well as your likes, dislikes and other comments. We plan to synthesize and reflect on these ideas and talk about them next year in another blog post.

A number of you asked about potential changes to oDesk. Let me be clear: oDesk is constantly evolving and innovating to empower our customers—both our freelancers and our clients. Examples of innovations we’re already working on include improved support services for freelancers, and enhanced user profiles through even better testing and certification.

But for the moment, three freelancer worries from your emails stood out to me and I want to address them immediately so you don’t need to be concerned.

#1: I like using oDesk, and I’m worried it will go away.
Brandon, an oBlog commenter, made a wonderful analogy as to how the merger will work: just as Apple owns both iPhone and iMac, oDesk and Elance will remain separate platforms under a larger umbrella company. That means if you’re an oDesk user, you can continue using the oDesk website. Of course, Elance users can also continue using the Elance website.

We recognize that you’ve worked very hard to build up your hours, feedback, work history and other elements of your oDesk profile. It’s important to preserve your online reputation on oDesk, and you will.

#2: I’m worried oDesk will adopt membership fees or other aspects of the Elance pricing structure.
Don’t worry! oDesk does not plan fee increases or membership fees based on the merger.

#3: I’m worried there will be more freelancers, making it more difficult to find work.
This is a misperception. We believe the merger will help us make greater investments in marketing, among other things. We plan to use these resources to attract more clients who, in turn, will create more jobs and thus more selection.

Rest assured, even when the merger closing becomes official, we’ll remain first and foremost committed to you, our customers.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, concerns and suggestions with me and please keep the ideas coming. The next chapter is all about creating more opportunities for you.

Gary Swart

Chief Executive Officer

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. Gary is a thought leader in entrepreneurship; how best to hire and manage teams; and the future of work, including online work. He is passionate about helping small businesses thrive, fueled by his extensive experience working with startups and small businesses that use oDesk, as well as by mentoring entrepreneurs and business school… read more