All Things Upwork

oDesk Launches Beta Chat Support

January 29, 2009 by

Beginning this month, oDesk will provide chat support from the hours of 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST, Monday – Friday. We are committed to our customers success, and providing high quality, timely responses to customer service needs. We are hopeful that Chat will become an important communication channel for the Support Team, and our customers. Traditional EMail Support will also continue for all oDesk users. We are launching Chat Support as a Beta feature, and we will monitor staffing and service levels to ensure a quality user experience. As we learn, we may need to modify availability in order to maintain service. Please let us know how you feel about this new support channel, and we look forward to connecting soon. Shannon Adkins Director, oDesk Customer Service Update: We have had great success with chat support, and we have heard your feedback asking for expanded hours. As such, and in order to support buyers and providers outside of the Americas, we have expanded our hours. The new chat hours are from 12:00 AM PST – 5:00 PM PST (8:00 AM GMT to 1:00 AM GMT). Read Full Article

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Do Russians Work the Hardest?

January 29, 2009 by

The week before last, we had some fun with numbers by calculating which countries offer the best “value for money” in providing freelance work.  This week, we thought we’d try to answer a different question – who works the hardest?  To figure that out, we again dug through our data on individuals’ work activity on oDesk. One straightforward way to measure hard work is to look at how much people are working.  So, we began by looking at the average number of hours worked by service providers in each of our top 7 countries in 2008, total and per day. Hours/active provider in 2008 Rank Hours/day worked in 2008* Rank Russia 399 1 4.9 2 Ukraine 308 2 4.5 3 India 266 3 5.0 1 Pakistan 241 4 4.0 4 Philippines 218 5 3.4 5 Canada 142 6 3.1 6 United States 89 7 2.8 7 *Total hours worked by active service providers in each country divided by man-days worked Russian providers top the list in terms of hours per year, and came in 2nd for hours per day. There are several reasons why some providers may work more than others.  Providers with higher customer satisfaction scores may work more hours because they spend less time looking for work (Russians’ average feedback score of 4.30 falls in the middle of the spectrum of these 7 countries).  Similarly, providers working on longer-term projects tend to work more hours than those working on shorter gigs.  Finally, providers with lower hourly rates tend to work more hours (Russia’s average hourly rate of $16.86 is towards the more expensive side of the spectrum). In addition to the number of hours worked, we also considered individuals’ efforts in qualification tests.  These tests allow providers to demonstrate proficiency in various … Read Full Article

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oDesk Launches Beta Chat Support

January 28, 2009 by

Beginning this month, oDesk will provide chat support from the hours of 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST, Monday – Friday. We are committed to our customers success, and providing high quality, timely responses to customer service needs. We are hopeful that Chat will become an important communication channel for the Support Team, and our customers. Traditional EMail Support will also continue for all oDesk users. We are launching Chat Support as a Beta feature, and we will monitor staffing and service levels to ensure a quality user experience. As we learn, we may need to modify availability in order to maintain service. Please let us know how you feel about this new support channel, and we look forward to connecting soon. Shannon Adkins Director, oDesk Customer Service … Read Full Article

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Representing oDesk at the Good Morning America Job Fair

January 28, 2009 by

For those of you who missed my blog post, oDesk asked me and fellow oDesk provider Erin to represent them at the Boston Great American Job Fair and talk to prospective providers about opportunities in online work. Here’s a little about how it went… I am a typically early riser (around 5:30 – 6:00) but even for me, 3am was very early to get up.  We arrived at the Sheraton in Boston at 4:45am. Now for a visual here, this hotel is one of the premier hotels in the area, and of course my first thought was where do I get coffee, but I decided to set up the oDesk table first and then head for coffee.  So off I went up the escalator and I was met with 12 security guards (go figure) and at least thirty people standing in line, resumes in hand, as well as the GMA staff setting up a table for people to sign in.  I entered the grand ballroom, and there were tables set up side by side 6 across and 6 deep for displayers. At about 5am my fellow oDesker joined me (I recognized her by the oDesk shirt she was wearing) and we decided we should wander downstairs for coffee.  Starbucks (disclaimer: I never drink Starbucks coffee) was still closed but we were assured they were going to open ‘early’ at 5:30.  I hate to tell you – when I’ve been up since 3am, 5:30 is NOT early!  At 5:30 we headed back downstairs.  $8.25 for a cup of cofee, a muffin and a tin of gum.  Oh well, such is life! So finally at 6am Tory Johnson announced that they were just about ready to begin filming and told us to not ‘fawn’ for the cameras but please don’t … Read Full Article

Show your stuff: creating your portfolio from scratch

January 26, 2009 by

At oDesk, as in the real world, it’s hard to get hired without experience – and hard to get experience without getting hired. The best solution at oDesk is to use your portfolio to show off your skills. Unfortunately, many of us don’t own the work we’ve done. In the forum discussions, you’ll find people lamenting that the work they’ve done is confidential, and can’t be used in the portfolio. I know just what they mean: I write for hire, and much of what I’ve written is out there with someone else’s name on it. Whether it’s the blog owner who likes to let it be assumed that the CEO of the company writes his own blog, or the web developer who rightly gets credit for the website she paid me to write, I can’t show my stuff. The way around this obstacle is to create something new. Even if you can use your work-for-hire, you may still want to create something new to show your talents in ways your commissioned projects don’t. There are two very easy ways to get your work online where you can show it off to prospective buyers: 1. Give it away. There are lots of people out there who will be happy to publish your good-quality work. I wrote a lesson plan for Valentine’s Day which was just posted at HotChalk, a PR6 domain for teachers. It also went out at the top of their email newsletter, which goes to thousands of teachers. They’ve given me an odd headline, as you can see in the screenshot, but I can live with that. I do a lot of blogging for the educational market, so this is a good showcase for my skills. It’s also a good showcase for my linkbuilding – the … Read Full Article

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From Queue to Interview: Finding the Right Provider

January 22, 2009 by

  A recent perspective discussed how to write a killer job description, designed to bring highly qualified providers rushing at you from all over the world. Now we’ll look at what to do if, uh-oh, it works. 1. Your first order of business is to smartly sift though the candidates queue. Some tips: Include a specific instruction or “captcha” in your job description, such as, “Include two URLs to previous jobs in your cover letter.” Applicants who don’t follow instructions, reject immediately. Reject ridiculously low or ridiculously high rates/bids — deal with serious people only. Remove providers with below-average feedback. Anyone under a 4.0 is in the bottom quartile of all providers. Tread carefully. Of course, a brand-new provider will have no feedback, and that’s natural. If you like her portfolio, give her an interview. If that goes well, you may have discovered a new gem before anyone else! 2. Once you narrowed down the candidate queue, carefully read each provider’s profile. Work history and feedback are very telling. A provider who has had only one job, but has billed 500 hours and is still in progress, is keeping her buyer very happy. If a provider has 20 one-hour or one-day jobs on his record, pay close attention to the tasks and feedback. (Hint: you can click on a job opening and see the original job description to compare.) Check to see whether he has passed relevant tests. If an interesting candidate hasn’t yet taken a test pertaining to your job, invite him to interview and ask him to take it — it’s free and shouldn’t take more than an hour. Review portfolios for the quality, style and range of their work. If someone doesn’t have a portfolio — request one. 3. Read Full Article

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Nailing the Interview

January 22, 2009 by

So you’ve focused your profile, updated your portfolio and learned to write a persuasive cover letter, all to land an interview with a buyer. Now what? Here are some tips for effectively interviewing with remote buyers: First, the obvious: Be prompt, polite, professional and prepared. Consider the “Four Ps” the unofficial code of conduct in the oDesk marketplace. Be flexible. Time zones and communications preferences can be tricky; be willing to adapt to a reasonable time and the method — email, Skype, IM — that the buyer prefers. Given that, try to schedule your interview for when you are at your best. Do not interview at the end of your day, when you’ll be tired. Better to wake up early for an interview than to stay up late. If you are working on another job, make sure to stop at least an hour before your interview. You want time to wind down, get a fresh start, review any relevant materials, and make sure you’re giving your best. Make sure you won’t be disturbed — especially if you’re on the phone (or Skype) and at home, don’t let background noise or interruptions make you seem unprofessional. Bring notes. Have at hand examples of past work that are relevant to this job, and have pertinent links and reference contacts at hand. Double-check your portfolio. If there’s anything relevant to this particular opportunity that you’d like the buyer to see, get it into your portfolio or be prepared to otherwise direct the buyer toward it. Ask the buyer about his experience with providers. What bugs him about providers? What has he valued in remote workers in the past? Discuss how your strengths can make you the kind of worker he’s looking for. Are you willing to do … Read Full Article

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Provider Spotlight (January 2009)

January 22, 2009 by

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Sally, Kay, Katrina, and Imre — you’ve earned this! Sally M Sally Milo – Creative Design – What you want, when you want! eBay too Total oDesk Hours: 0 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 1 feedback) Comments: “Excellent work done exactly as I wanted it. Made changes with no fuss and great communication. Will be using again.” Kay W PHP wizard Total oDesk Hours: 132 Overall Feedback: 4.78 (Based on 3 feedbacks) Comments: “Kay responded to all emails very quickly, and he never lost patience with my constant requests for revisions on the project.” Katrina D Creative and Awesome Graphic Artist : ) Total oDesk Hours: 365 Overall Feedback: 4.90 (Based on 23 feedbacks) Comments: “Katrina goes the extra mile to make sure that you are satisfied and is open to making changes where necessary.” Imre T Software Developer Total oDesk Hours: 134 Overall Feedback: 4.80 (Based on 1 feedback) Comments: “Imre started out as beginning programmer on oDesk but proved to be a fast learner and very good worker over the past half a year!” Spotlight Providers must have earned a 4.5+ feedback score with a glowing comment on an assignment in the past month, have a 4.0+ overall feedback score, an impressive profile, and an individual portrait (no avatars or group shots). Only oDesk Ready public profiles are eligible. Read Full Article

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Success Story: Danalyn West

January 22, 2009 by

Coder and Web designer Danalyn West started doing freelance Web design in 2002, but it wasn’t until last summer that she dedicated herself to full-time freelancing. She and her husband had relocated for a job that fell through after the move, leaving them both unemployed. “Panic ensued,” she says. Remembering that she’d once used oDesk as a buyer, she spent a week getting her profile as a provider in shape, and encouraged her husband to put himself online, too. “Within a week, my husband got his first job, albeit low-paying at first, and a few days later, I got my first assignment,” she says. She’s kept increasingly busy since then, and has also been an active presence in the oDesk forum and on her SavvyLancer.com blog — offering advice through both forums to freelancers and buyers, particularly regarding the oDesk marketplace. Q:   In the six months you’ve been active as a provider, what have you learned about marketing yourself to buyers? A: I learned that Mom lied when she said “don’t judge a book by its cover.” First impressions always count, and on oDesk, it happens with your profile and cover letter. If buyers make it past your cover letter, be able to back it up with a strong portfolio. Q:  Any tips on developing trust with new buyers? How do you approach your first conversations with a buyer? A: Just do the job and do it well — that’s the best way to build trust and credibility. Whenever possible, I always like to offer buyers suggestions for improvement (i.e., “Instead of doing that, you can do this and reduce the amount of work you have to manually do by X%”). I can’t tell you how many times this has won me the assignment. Q:  When you’re … Read Full Article

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Buzzworthy! (January 2009)

January 22, 2009 by

Hey, check out this month’s buzz: Prolific blogger and oDesk user Doreen Martel talks up oDesk quite often on her “Freelancing and More” blog. Read her latest posts, including a four-point discussion about keeping your portfolio current, and keeping it targeted toward the kind of work you want to get. If you haven’t updated your portfolio lately (and even if you have), take a look at her advice. And while you’re there, read “Why oDesk” for some great thoughts about the value of our marketplace to the enterprising freelancer. Provider Arlene Cuares blogs from the Philippines about a recent trip to an impoverished rural province, where she contributed two weeks of oDesk earnings to those who’d otherwise have no food, let alone presents, on Christmas — and this despite having not much money to spare herself. Arlene describes having needed such holiday food giveaways herself as a child. I am paying it forward now. Thanks to oDesk for making this possible. Had it not been for oDesk, I wouldn’t be earning a decent income online and wouldn’t have the chance to save up for this charity work. Thanks to all my previous and present oDesk buyers. Arlene has our admiration for her selflessness, and our hope that she’s even more successful on oDesk in 2009! Adam Viener provides a few examples of small tasks he’s had done effectively and efficiently via oDesk providers. It’s a nice window into the experience of a new buyer finding ways to improve his business through oDesk. Over at Entrepr3neur.com, Marc Javellana posts a couple blogs about using oDesk — one that discusses (and comprehensively links to) the rising tide of non-programming jobs in our ever-growing marketplace, and one that talks about using oDesk’s metrics to … Read Full Article

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Round of Applause (January 2009)

January 22, 2009 by

803 providers from 49 countries, including Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden got their first jobs in the last month. These 800 providers have already racked up 24,222 oDesk hours and over $238,483 in just one month. Congrats to the providers who landed their first jobs in the last 30 days! A special round of applause to the top new providers by total earnings: Jerzy Z, Amanda I, Mishra J, Greg J, Salnan W, Dmitriy L Alexey E, Anait S, Shushu I, Lester M, Naveen G, Rania A Want to see your name listed here next month? Get oDesk Ready, fill out your profile, and apply to job openings! (We will only feature providers with public profiles.) … Read Full Article

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Demand for Linux Surges

January 22, 2009 by

So here we are in 2009 and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that you are no longer stuck with the choice between just Windows and Mac.  A third operating system, Linux, has edged its way into the mainstream, propagated by a passionate group of Linux developers. Today we are going to examine the growth of Linux from oDesk‘s perspective (oDesk is a marketplace for online workteams), looking at supply and demand for Linux-related freelance work and the geographies it is taking place in. Today, oDesk typically has 175-200 jobs posted per month with the “Linux” keyword in them.  A yearly snapshot of this metric shows serious growth. Year # of Jobs* 2006 128 2007 796 2008 2014 *Job openings with “Linux” as a keyword Linux jobs are clearly on the rise, but a more interesting piece of trivia is that there are currently 87 open jobs with the keyword “Linux,” compared to 134 jobs with “Windows” and 43 jobs with “Mac.” This indicates a 32% market share for Linux among new jobs, significantly higher than the 12.7% share of the server market and 1-2% share of the desktop market that Linux owns according to Wikipedia.  Of course, to suggest that Linux truly has a 32% market share on oDesk is aggressive; many job posters do not specify that they prefer Windows — it’s just assumed.  But perhaps this is a leading indicator of Linux’s continued growth on oDesk. Job Market Share on oDesk (linux, windows, mac) Looking at which countries are embracing Linux, we see the United States dominates in both posting Linux jobs and providing Linux professional services.  But, this may be … Read Full Article

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Women are 3.5% better than men

January 20, 2009 by

We don’t want to start a battle of the sexes with that headline, but we spent an afternoon playing around with the age-old — and often controversial — idea that men and women are not the same.  In the world of remote work, though, many of the perceived differences between genders shouldn’t come into play, right?  When all you’re seeing is the final product of someone you’re never going to meet face-to-face, all our cultural programming, habits and stereotypes shouldn’t matter: all the employer sees is the work.  With that in mind, we decided to check feedback scores to see whether there’s any perceived difference between the work done on oDesk by men and women. Trouble is, oDesk doesn’t collect gender info from our remote providers — so we had to do it the hard way.  We took a sampling of 3,000 providers and divided the likely men (the Marks, Dmitriys, and Sanjays) from the likely women (the Jennifers, Olgas, Priyankas).  We threw out the names that could go either way (Robins, Shannons, Valeriys).  Here’s what we got: # of Providers % of Total Female 580 17.29% Male 2774 82.71% The sample suggests that men outnumber women on oDesk by four to one.  Not surprising, since most of the professionals on oDesk are tech-related (like php programmers & ruby on rails programmers), and the engineering gender gap is well-known.  According to the National Science Foundation, fewer than 20 percent of engineering graduates in the U.S. are women. However, it’s quality that we’re interested in, not quantity, so let’s look at the feedback provided by employers to their freelance professionals: Average Feedback* Female 4.404 Male 4.255 *These averages were computed with a standard error of 0.049, and are statistically significant with a p-value … Read Full Article

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Philippines & Pakistan top oDesk’s “value for money” outsourcing rankings

January 16, 2009 by

Today we’re going to have some fun with numbers by trying to calculate “value for money” between countries in hiring contractors to your workteam. The following table summarizes oDesk’s average hourly rates and feedback scores in each of our top 7 provider countries. United States Pakistan Ukraine Canada Russia Philippines India Avg Hourly Rate-Overall $18.32 $11.13 $15.96 $19.60 $16.86 $6.33 $12.52 Avg Hourly Rate-Developers* $29.99 $10.30 $16.61 $21.49 $17.60 $11.27 $13.25 Avg Hourly Rate-Data Entry* $7.91 $3.07 $5.38 $10.90 $15.86 $3.15 $2.81 Avg Feedback Score 4.4 4.36 4.36 4.32 4.31 4.3 4.01 *We’ve only broken out the rates for software development and data entry; there are many other categories of work on oDesk that aren’t listed here. Looking at this data, it’s obvious that there is much greater variance in average hourly rates ($6.33 to $19.60) than feedback scores (4.01 to 4.40). We therefore scale the numbers to percentiles to compare between countries. We then do a quick-and-dirty calculation, averaging the percentiles, and finally rank the countries to determine their relative “value for money.” Average Feedback Percentile Average Rate Percentile “Value for money” (avg AFP, ARP) “Value for money” ranking “Value for money” ranking-Developers “Value for money” ranking-Data Entry Philippines 74 100 87 1 2 2 Pakistan 90 64 77 2 1 1 Ukraine 90 27 59 3 3 3 United States 100 10 55 4 6 4 Russia 77 21 49 5 4 7 Canada 79 0 40 6 5 5 India 0 53 27 7 7 6 The results … the Philippines and Pakistan rank the highest in this admittedly simplistic analysis, which must be taken with a grain of salt. There are many factors to be taken into consideration when hiring contractors to your workteams. But, in the meantime, congratulations to providers in these … Read Full Article

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What’s Hot? Skills with Fastest Growing Demand in 2008

January 8, 2009 by

. We are going to take a look today at the technologies or skills that enjoyed the greatest percentage increase in 2008 by keywords listed in job postings on oDesk. The numbers in the table below show the number of job postings on oDesk in which the skills were listed as “required,” and their relative increase from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008. You will notice some variance in the numbers between the table and the charts below as the numbers on the charts show keyword mentions in the job post titles, not required skills. Skill/Experience Openings Last 60 Days 2007 Openings Last 60 Days 2008 Change WordPress 37 195 427.0% Writing* 32 138 331.3% Excel* 30 118 293.3% SEO 73 250 242.5% XHTML 24 61 154.2% Linux 23 58 152.2% Drupal 70 169 141.4% Joomla 157 352 124.2% CSS 119 250 110.1% Graphic Design* 20 42 110.0% *Because writing, graphic design, and excel have small starting points, we believe their change reflects oDesk growth, not a general trend. Since oDesk is a job board for freelance and contract technical jobs, the numbers here may vary from permanent placement job data. There are definitely other skills that are in more demand as noted here and here but these skills represent the greatest increase by percentage in 2008. Blogging seems to dominate as a tech growth area in 2008. Demand for WordPress designers has increased by more than 4 times. Demand for freelance writers, a good portion of which are online or blog related, more than tripled. Website (or blog) development and design show up elsewhere on our list with strong demand growth shown for SEO consultants, XHTML designers,  … Read Full Article

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Stay Employed – Jobs with the Least Competition and Greatest Opportunity

December 22, 2008 by

. Due to the popularity of our Web Developer Skills in Most Demand post last week, we thought we would follow up with more interesting information from the oDesk Trends vaults to assist you develop your resume to stay employed in these challenging economic times. Last week we looked at the base number of job postings for various web technologies and skills over the past year on the oDesk job boards. This week, we will look at various skills and technologies and the competition, or lack thereof, for them. A look at the supply compared to the demand. . In viewing these numbers, keep in mind this is for oDesk which is primarily concerned with placement for freelance and contract positions. As noted by some of our .NET and Java brethren from the previous post’s comment section, this may vary with respect to full time placement numbers. We think the data is useful to all. . In looking at the table below we give you three columns, one with the skill or technology, the second with the average jobs posted per month and the last with the Fill ratio below average. The Fill Ratio Below Average will show the competition for these postings as these jobs are not getting filled at our usual rate. A high number indicates great job opportunities whereas a 0% score indicates all those jobs get filled at our usual rate. Anything not on this list is getting filled at a high rate indicating above average competition for the skill or … Read Full Article

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Round of Applause

December 18, 2008 by

800 providers from 68 countries, including Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Kenya, Korea, and Kuwait got their first jobs in the last month. These 800 providers have already racked up 24,693 oDesk hours and over $284,764 in just one month. Congrats to the providers who landed their first jobs in the last 30 days! A special round of applause to the top new providers by total earnings: Cary P, Ping F, Shelly S, Marigold M, Fabricio D, Ruslan S, Marharyta K, Synoris A, Igor S, Pavan G, Jerrish V, Prasoon S Want to see your name listed here next month? Get oDesk Ready, fill out your profile, and apply to job openings! (We will only feature providers with public profiles.) … Read Full Article

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Provider Spotlight

December 18, 2008 by

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Ariadne, Donny, Kathryn, and Vadim — you’ve earned this!   Ariadne S Math, Master MOS, Dutch translation, Webex & more. Your 1 stop shop! Total oDesk Hours: 59 Overall Feedback: 4.99 (Based on 7 feedbacks) Comments: “Ariadne Sophia is wonderful. She has dedication and commitment to a job well done” Donny G Graphic designer & illustrator Total oDesk Hours: 0 Overall Feedback: 4.97 (Based on 16 feedbacks) Comments: “Donny did an excellent job with the assignment. He followed instructions perfectly and the turn around time was very quick.” Kathryn W Highly Creative, Skilled Writer, Educator, Artist Total oDesk Hours: 63 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 1 feedback) Comments: “Kathryn was professional and completed the project in schedule. Always available and willing to follow instructions. Good work!” Vadim D Web programmer PHP/Perl/Mysql and Linux/BSD Admin Provider Company: UACoders Total oDesk Hours: 81 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 7 feedbacks) Comments: “It was great to work with Vadim. Fast, responsive, good communications, good skills!” Spotlight Providers must have earned a 4.5+ feedback score with a glowing comment on an assignment in the past month, have a 4.0+ overall feedback score, an impressive profile, and an individual portrait (no avatars or group shots). Only oDesk Ready public profiles are eligible. Read Full Article

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Partner Spotlight: ClickTale

December 18, 2008 by

  Want to know how visitors are using your site? Try ClickTale. ClickTale is the world leader of In-Page Analytics providing e-Business decision makers with the ability to see real videos of their users browsing sessions as well as customer behavior aggregated reports. Clicktale has been proven very effective in improving site usability, reducing shopping cart abandonment and optimizing landing pages. ClickTale will refer its clients to ClickTale-certified developers on oDesk to implement their system, while oDesk will offer the certification test to programmers. Read Full Article

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Buzzworthy! (December 2008)

December 18, 2008 by

  The biggest Buzz this month is Danalyn West. An oDesk provider and buyer who has been managing a freelance career since 2000, the Texan coder and web designer recently launched Savvylancer.com, a site that offers advice to freelancers and the people who hire them, both on oDesk and off. She describes Savvylancer’s purpose like this: “This site was started after having answered many questions in the oDesk Community Forums by new freelancers. I wanted to have a place where I could post answers to common questions, and point people to these answers if the necessary… While I talk about oDesk a lot, most of the information and opinions presented here can be applied in any freelancing situation.” Thanks, Danalyn, for taking the time both in our community forums and through Savvylancer! We’d also like to welcome Livia, a new oDesk provider in Manila who has launched a blog, My Life as a Work-at-Home-Single-Person, describing her experiences and gathering tips. She’s getting her career as a personal assistant and data entry provider rolling, so drop by and trade some advice with her. We offer congratulations to the folks at Digital Max Solutions, a provider company in Katmandu that does web design and more, for recently surpassing 2,500 hours on oDesk. And remember, when you blog about oDesk, tell us and you might win a T-shirt.     Follow us on: … Read Full Article

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An Explosive 2008

December 18, 2008 by

Even though the economy has been bad news for pretty much everyone everywhere—unless maybe you’re a bankruptcy lawyer—we see encouraging signs for small and medium-sized businesses in our network. We also thought we’d highlight what that means for providers. Providers — We’ve seen dramatic growth in the oDesk provider community, with more than 26,000 new providers joining last month alone. The good news for a buyer is that there are now more than 150,000 providers offering their talents to you. For a provider, the opportunity is to continue to apply for jobs, write highly targeted cover letters, and refine your profile and portfolio, etc. Buyers and jobs — There are still more and more job opportunities each month on oDesk as the buyer community has also seen record growth with more than 11,000 new jobs posted each month. The average job size is about 370 hours, a sign of how much companies are seeing value in the oDesk approach. About 27,000 new buyers joined in 2008. Value of services — The value of services rendered via oDesk nearly tripled in 2008, and in November we passed the $50 million milestone. More than 2.4 million work hours have been logged this year. These hours show the health of the online workteam concept and our community. Categories — Web development and other technical categories continue to explode (hello, iPhone app developers!). We also saw the new writing and administrative support categories grow about 1,600 percent. Online workteams are going mainstream, and the mainstream is taking note — oDesk made it to the top of Google trends and made a global media splash, with the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and TV programs talking to oDesk buyers, providers and spreading our message. Larger companies/larger teams — … Read Full Article

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Success Story: Alisa E

December 18, 2008 by

A few weeks ago, a single line in a blog post caught our eye. Discussing a busy week during the holiday season, the blogger wrote, “This week is pretty packed for me. Sunday, I bought my mom a brand new wheelchair. Thanks to oDesk, I was able to save enough to buy her wheels! Now it will be easier for her to go outside.” To learn more about her heartwarming story we dropped her a line. The writer is oDesk provider Alisa E, in the Philippines. She joined oDesk this summer, quickly picking up work in data entry, link building and more. Q:  This is your first experience with freelancing online. What made you decide to try oDesk? A:  My son was diagnosed with epilepsy and had frequent seizures, so I had to quit my job. My husband introduced me to oDesk. He knew someone who was working on oDesk and suggested that I give it a try so I could still work from home. Q:  Within days of joining in late August, you’d landed some jobs that are still ongoing. That must’ve been great. A:  I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve read in the forums that some providers take months before they get an assignment here on oDesk. I am grateful to the buyers who trusted me and gave me work. Q:  So what did you do right? How did you approach your first attempts at getting work through oDesk? A:  I followed the tips oDesk posted in the forum: I completed my profile, took some tests, and applied to assignments that I feel comfortable with. I try not to recycle my cover letters because every assignment is different, and when I finish my cover letter, I always ask: “Would I like to hire me after reading this?” … Read Full Article

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Holiday Wishes from the oDesk Team

December 18, 2008 by

We’d like to thank all our buyers and providers for an enormously successful 2008. We hope 2009 brings success to everyone in the oDesk community.And most of all, we’d love to hear how oDesk figures into your plans for a prosperous 2009! If your New Year’s Resolution includes oDesk, send an email to stories@odesk.com to tell us all about it. You could win an oDesk T-Shirt and be featured here on the oDesk blog. The oDesk Team … Read Full Article

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Improved Site-wide Navigation

December 18, 2008 by

You’ve probably noticed that our navigation bar has changed! What’s different? Fewer clicks — We’ve promoted the major tabs from underneath My oDesk to the top level. This, along with convenient dropdown menus, makes it easier to get where you’re going with fewer clicks. More intuitive — Our tab names and categorization is more obvious. For example, Timelogs is no longer under Hire/Get Hired, but under a new “Reports” tab. Less is more — We’ve gotten rid of the left navigation bar in most places, and standardized pages to 1024px for a more consistent look and feel Life is in the details — There are a host of minor usability improvements throughout the site which add up to a better overall experience. A glimpse forward — Our new “Assignments” page gives you a sense for where the UI is heading. We think you’ll get the idea after spending only a few moments clicking around. Please let us know what works (and what doesn’t) by visiting this thread in our forums. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Stay Employed – Web Developer Skills in Most Demand (PHP, AJAX, MySQL …)

December 16, 2008 by

                       While these may not be a great revelation to many, included below are the web development skills that will get you employed now and by all evidences of their growth, for the foreseeable future. Knowing and being professional in at least some of the skills below to maximize your prospects for being employed.                      In looking at these graphs, keep in mind that oDesk is a growing site so even a flat trend is a potential sign of decreasing demand.    PHP PHP is by far the most in-demand web development programming language right now. As you can see from the graph, it has enjoyed a steady climb from November 2007 leveling off in July 2008 at a spectacular 1400 jobs posted. The demand for PHP development work has tripled over the period of a mere 9 months. AJAX The demand for developers with AJAX in their resume or portfolio is also in high demand as the average web page has evolved well beyond animated icons, the presentation and need for a smooth user experience in the front end is more and more essential. The skill enjoyed very similar growth to PHP above from November 2007 to July 2008 where it leveled off holding at around 450 job postings.  Javascript   As with the 2 skills above, Javascript enjoys high demand and has a similar shape in demand over the past year. As of November 2008, Javascript demand is steady at 400 after a slight decline since July 2008 but overall demand has doubled over the year.  XML XML is very dominant in web job postings and would seem like a relatively short … Read Full Article