All Things Upwork

Share with Facebook

oDesk is proud to announce its first integration with Facebook Connect! oDesk providers and buyers can now tap their social networks for locating candidates for jobs posted on oDesk, promoting your own work skills, and creating a verifiable online work presence. With Facebook Connect on oDesk, you’re in control to promote yourself and your company. You decide what you want to showcase on your Facebook feed – we won’t share your oDesk information without your approval. Activate Facebook Connect on your account now! What can buyers share? Job postings: The key to a successful job is having qualified providers to choose from during the hiring process. Starting today, you can share your job listings on Facebook with your friends and colleagues. Why not use your trusted social network to find even more great providers? Just choose ‘Share on Facebook’ during the job posting process – we’ll then walk you through how to share your listings. But don’t worry, we’ll never share anything without letting you know first. Profile updates: Know someone who might want to work for you? Your Facebook profile will reflect your ability to provide professional opportunities by sharing updates to your oDesk profile with your existing Facebook friends. What can providers share? Test results: Did you ace a skill test on oDesk? Do you want people to know that you are the right person to hire? You can already embed your test results on a page outside oDesk, but now you can also share your test results with your existing network of friends and colleagues on Facebook. So go ahead – show off your superb qualifications! Profile updates: Know someone who could use your services? Make your Facebook profile promote your professional skills and work history by sharing updates to your oDesk profile… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Top Weird iPhone Apps

Today we are going to look at the some of the interesting creations that have graced the iPhone App Store. Whether popular or not, these oddities stand out above the rest. Annoy A Teen It gets points for honesty in advertising. Apparently teenagers hear high frequencies that the rest of us do not and use of this app will irritate them thoroughly. iFart™ I’ll spare you the explanation. Needless to say, the value this app provides to mankind is immeasurable. Hello Cow! It has a cow, that moos at you. Vital! Hold On Hold on to the button as long as you can. Compete against yourself, compete against the world, prove to everyone you’ve got the stamina to out hold them all! iDrunkTxt Here is a disaster waiting to happen. The premise here is that you are out on the town, drunk, and want nothing more than to call up someone and have a conversation. This handy app will randomly select a friend or date from your contacts list and dial for you – no need to trouble yourself with deciding between your boss and “that girl” to determine who is more worthy of hearing your slurred speech! Zits and Giggles For those who enjoy this sort of thing. Uh … yeah. That’s What She Said Pro The easy way to come up with a response for anything and everything. There you have it. If you like developing iPhone apps, there may be inspiration above.  As always, post missed gems in the comments. Read Full Article

Pro Bono Web Work Will Pay Out in the End

Finding contract work as a web programmer can be a challenge.  You depend on the market and you need the connections.  Plus, people need to find you and gaining that kind of visibility isn’t easy to do if you are on a budget. A lot of programmers don’t even notice a readily available source of free advertising that would not only build their networks, but would also help keep their coding and design skills sharp. How? Use those skills to build pro bono websites.  That’s right, I said it: “Build websites for free.” “If I can find someone who wants me to build them a free website, shouldn’t I try to get them to pay me?” Sure, if they are a Fortune 500 company.  But if you have connections with big companies that usually pay to hire your type of talent, you’re in better shape than most. I’m not talking about those types of companies – I am talking about building free websites for those who wouldn’t normally hire a web programmer.  Just ask for two things: a link and a referral. Ask them to put a link to your website in their footer.  (Make sure your site is up-to-date, looks good and has useful contact info!)  Be sure to make it descriptive like “Website Design by Peter Griffin” or “Web Programming by Bonnie Swanson”. Secondly, ask for them to refer people to your site if they are ever complimented on your work. If you do a good job, then they will be happy to tell others about you. See?  You just got some great advertising and you didn’t even have to pay for it.  Also, its likely that these websites aren’t going to be updated for a while, so your name could be out there for a… Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Reviving your Website, Reviving e-Commerce

Is your website or online store not doing so well? Is it in need of a spruce up? One way to breathe some life back into your online store and get people interested and visiting your website again is to revive it. With time, all websites can become stale and outdated if we don’t pay attention to them, and we should make efforts keep them fresh and current. Here are 6 tips to revive your website: 1. Have your site checked for broken links and remove them. It’s a cardinal sin to have a site with links that don’t work, and its one of the fastest ways to alienate your potential customer. Whilst you are there, check all existing links, and update the information to ensure its current, relevant and details any specials you have. 2. Give your homepage a facelift by adding new graphics, text, and information. Consider adding a creative banner. Remove old and dated images, and add new, fresh ones. Research your keywords and revamp your text with some effective keywords. 3. Add a new area on the website filled with resources, information, and maybe even some special deals for your customers. Use relevant keywords to improve your search engine ranking. For example, if you own a web design company, offer web design and development tips and advice. Show other businesses how to make the most of their web presence, or what to consider when looking for an e-commerce solution. By providing information and resources along with your products, you are giving people a reason to keep coming back. This is how you build trust with your visitors and get more sales. If you haven’t yet tried blogging, learn how to blog and get one added to your website. WordPress is an excellent… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Provider Spotlight (June 2009)

Each month we like to highlight 4 providers who’ve received exemplary feedback. Great job Bernard, Julian, Sarah and Maria Norma — you’ve earned this!   Bernard V (Affiliated with BI Competence Center) Business Plans, Spreadsheet Modeling, Simulation & Optimization Total oDesk Hours: 769 Overall Feedback: 4.95 (Based on 20 feedbacks) Comments: Bernard was an awesome asset to our programming project. When tweaks were required along the way, Bernard was responsive and accurate with his work. His knowledge base of excel and his ability to communicate and provide solutions is superb. Julian M Qualified IT Professional | PHP, CodeIgniter, jQuery, Java Total oDesk Hours: 1,781 Overall Feedback: 4.91 (Based on 12 feedbacks) Comments: This has been one of my top experiences on a web development project anywhere. This guy is truly talented and his love for the craft of web design/development shows through his work and attitude. Thanks Julian! Sarah W Excellent English, Veterinarian, Freelance Writer Total oDesk Hours: 49 Overall Feedback: 5.00 (Based on 4 feedbacks) Comments: Sarah is the best! If you are looking for well-thought, researched content that is actually worth something, Sarah is hard to beat. Hire her, pay her well and spoil her rotten! Maria Norma G (Affiliated with Galindo Consulting Group, Inc.) Semiologic Pro/Drupal/Html/Css/Php/Wordpress/Photoshop CS3/Dreamweaver Total oDesk Hours: 670 Overall Feedback: 4.96 (Based on 12 feedbacks) Comments: Maria has been working with me for over 5 months on several assignments and has been absolutely wonderful to work with. She is fast, consistent and excellent at completing assignments on time. Spotlight Providers must have earned a… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Round of Applause (June 2009)

1,266 providers from 66 countries, including Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland and Portugal, got their first jobs in the last month. These 1,266 providers have already racked up 48,067 oDesk hours and over $431,497 in just one month. Congrats to the providers who landed their first jobs in the May! Want to get in on the earning action? Get oDesk Ready, fill out your profile, and apply to job openings!… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Global navigation bar design refresh

You will notice we’ve updated our global navigation bar! The new nav bar… takes up less vertical space has a toned-down color scheme so it’s out of your way when you’re not using it. Let’s you jump to your Message trays (Inbox, Account Alerts, etc.) more quickly. We hope you find these changes helpful. Please let us know your thoughts in this thread. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

When Marketing Stunts Attack: The worst of paid viral videos

It hurts me to share these. Prepare for major cringe. But with the good viral efforts (thank you, exploding Mentos guys!), we must also accept the bad, as well as the… paid. It’s time for the most contrived corporate viral videos and ad campaigns. Our first hackneyed harlot is from casual dining with Ruby Tuesday. They went to the extreme of blowing up a building and still weren’t funny. The whole thing feels staged from the start. Let’s follow the sickly saga, shall we? The wrap video. It’s at least funny in a dry, office humor kind of way: And for the truly masochistic, the behind the scenes clip: Nike’s mistake with the next clip was the same: over-producing it and doing it entirely with suspecting actors and special effects. Do the paparazzi seem believable in this video? It might make a reasonable TV commercial, but there is nothing surprising or worth retweeting here. The two second zoom on her shoes in the beginning is a nice touch though–well done. Cheetos. OMG this is so hard to watch. Make it stop, please. All told, only 17 people ever blogged about this monstrosity. (Now, the count is up to 18.) I’m going to close my eyes – tell me when it’s over. >> Visit Cheeto’s Underground Sony threw a whole slew of pay-for-post PSP drek around for Christmas. Whoever picked out this guy’s hat needs to be abandoned somewhere in the Arctic. Don’t forget the tribute video to their marketing consultant, I’m sure he is doing well on the back of his work for Sony: For my money, no one wastes more cash on worse ads than Microsoft. They somehow even took the funny… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Building on the Cloud

Salesforce.com has helped build a group of certified Force.com developers on oDesk, making our marketplace one of the best resources for buyers looking to use Salesforce.com CRM solutions on the Force.com platform. And we’re hearing from the providers offering Force.com skills that being part of this latest certified group on oDesk is paying off as “cloud computing” reaches new heights. Rakesh Aggarwal is a salesforce.com-certified developer in India who says demand for Force.com implementations has brought him a steady stream of customers since a buyer brought him onto oDesk last summer. “I was already developing applications on salesforce.com when one of my clients insisted on working through oDesk,” he says. “After my first successful job through oDesk—now I insist that my clients work through oDesk!” In its first three weeks, the salesforce.com/Force.com group on oDesk has grown to about 60 programmers. Jobs were already on the rise—a year ago, about 10 jobs involving Salesforce CRM were being posted each month on oDesk. Today it’s between 40 and 50. Rakesh says the technology has a lot of appeal. “I knew this was the future of technology because it’s the fastest, most trusted and most complete platform for building and delivering applications in the cloud.” The cloud idea is simple—offering the full software platform as a service, so that the applications and data reside on the Internet (conceptualized as a cloud of servers), where a business can access them. This keeps in-house IT costs down and allows more flexibility and faster rollout of new services. Rakesh says a wide range of companies are taking advantage of the concept. “I’ve worked with individual developers who wanted to push their applications to Appexchange, and also with companies with more than 200 licenses,… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Buzzworthy (June 2009)

There’s plenty of online buzz about oDesk again this month. We love it when experienced providers offer their wisdom for newer arrivals, and this month our favorite post in that category was Lisa C, whose “Slightly Skewed Blogging” included a look at the things she’d do differently if she were starting over again at oDesk–and the things she’d do exactly the same. She offers some great advice to novice and journeyman providers. Now this is just cool: GigaOM blogger Stacey Higginbotham has included oDesk on a list of “Five Companies That Should Be on Dell’s Shopping List.” After only five years in business, we should be tops on Dell Computer’s radar? We’re flattered. Hey, maybe in five more years, you’ll see Dell on the list of “Five Companies oDesk Should Buy” … Last month, Micah Lacsamana offered part one of her extensive look at how to fill out an oDesk profile. Here’s part two–and thanks again, Micah, for giving back to the oDesk community! In a similar vein, Fia C. offers “How to Complete or Revamp Your oDesk Profile.” Check ’em both out for clever tips that can really pay off. Lastly, we just launched a new program in which we rank our best providers each month. See our best designers, software developers, web developers, writers, and virtual assistants who get to show off their oDesk badge. If you’re buzzin’ about oDesk, send us a link to your blog or message board post and you may win a stylish oDesk T-shirt!… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Facing a Layoff with Defiance

It’s a statement of our times. I almost hesitate to mention I’m qualified to write this piece because I’ve gone through a layoff. The experience is ubiquitous, hardly unique. I’ll mention it only because the following isn’t a compilation of what others have written on the topic. There won’t be many links to well meaning lists of tips about LinkedIn usage; it is just my perspective having gone through it personally and vicariously through countless friends. Thought 1 I like to start with the basics: what is a layoff? This is especially important if it’s your first one. Think of it this way: A layoff is when your current employer is no longer a qualified buyer for your skills. I prefer this simple definition because it reinforces the impersonal nature of the event as well as the market system driving our careers. Many times a subtle game of “but I was very good at my role,” will come into the conversation about layoffs. Don’t go down this road. Don’t even begin to look at a layoff as a measure of your worth. If you want insight into your performance, look at your performance reviews. Now you’re thinking about the event as a market event. You are also focusing on your previous employer’s financial situation instead of your own self worth. Your emotional approach to this event is very important in the job market; nobody likes to buy even their favorite products if the packaging is badly beaten up and damaged. Your perspective is your packaging. Thought 2 Hire yourself. I’m a huge advocate of “working is its own reward”. I hate government statistics about unemployment. Maybe this term made sense in the early 20th century when factories and farms were the primary… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Research: Provider Feedback and Freelance Rates

Chris Stanton, a PhD candidate at Stanford Business School, is using oDesk data in his research. Below, he shares some basic economic insights about the oDesk market. Introduction In this post, I will concentrate on the role of feedback on provider wages. I hope these results, coupled with previous posts on the returns to tenure and training, help providers form expectations about long-run earnings trajectories. Overall, the results suggest that providers who receive good feedback and gain experience on oDesk can receive significantly higher wages over time.  I find that a change in feedback score from 2.5, the mean score in the data, to the maximum score of 5, results in wages that are about 5.4% higher. Method While oDesk users surely expect a positive relationship between feedback and provider quality, quantifying the economic effect of feedback on wages is statistically tricky. The difficulty arises because the best providers are likely to get the best feedback, but these same top-notch providers are also likely to have unobserved attributes like superior interviewing skills that simultaneously result in high wages. I use a statistical procedure to account for unobserved provider skills. The data covers matched assignments on oDesk from the platform launch until May 2008. This includes observations on 7,123 providers matched to 28,321 assignments.  The description of my statistical strategy may be esoteric, so the casual reader may wish to skip to the results section. The basic idea is that I use fixed effects multivariate regressions to control for any time-invariant provider characteristics which may be correlated with a provider’s feedback. Because I am able to identify how changes within a single provider’s feedback influence his or her wages over time, this strategy addresses unobserved provider characteristics which otherwise hamper the measurement of the effect of feedback on wages. In my… Read Full Article

Rock-Star Programmer Productivity

“A great lathe operator commands several times the wage of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer.” –Bill Gates Why is tech news so fun and addicting? Why do I keep scanning my RSS feeds hourly for the latest? Great programmers are rock stars. Their heroic abilities and exploits are why we RSS Techcrunch and Siliconangle, continuously scanning articles for the latest hits and misses.  Programer rock-stardom, however, is founded on the well documented variation in software programmer productivity. Programmers, as it turns out, have one of the highest productivity variations of any profession. “Numerous studies have found 10:1 differences in productivity and quality among individuals and even among teams…. programmers with an average of 7 years’ experience and found that the ratio of initial coding time between the best and worst programmers was about 20 to 1; the ratio of debugging times over 25 to 1; of program size 5 to 1; and of program execution speed about 10 to 1.” –Steve McConnell, development productivity guru and “10X Software Development” blogger Anyone who has spent much time in a software engineering environment knows “the guy” to go to with the hardest problems, the one who can bang out the solution in an hour, instead of weeks. For me, it was an über-nerd named Roy who was the best talent in our 200-strong engineering group, despite having never spent a day in a college classroom. I once saw him in Blockbuster Video with his family. I was completely  star-struck  and I asked the woman at the register if she had any idea who she was renting videos to. I reacted this way despite sitting two doors down from him at work–he was a… Read Full Article

In case of Twitpocalypse…

Well, the estimated date of Twitpocalypse has come and gone. Some of us are left wondering, what would we have done if it wasn’t only certain third-party Twitter clients affected… What would have happened if the entire Twitterverse imploded? What could we accomplish if we were forced to reclaim minutes that are otherwise spent twittering? Maintain your online reputation Sure, with Twitter gone you can’t update your followers about that awesome blog you’ve been reading, but you can take a few minutes to make sure those looking for you online are actually finding the real you. Try Googling your name in quotation marks to see what comes up – those with unique names should only find things that directly connect to your real online activities. Got a more common name? Change your online profiles to include a middle initial to help you stand out from the crowd. Finding something that you’d rather not have public? You’ll need to contact the owners of that site to ask that they remove it. While it may not seem important, potential employers have been known to search the Internet for potential warning flags before hiring. That picture of you dancing on the table at the holiday party last year? Warning flag! This quick search could save your job prospects and your online reputation. Build your portfolio You’ve done a lot of excellent work recently, but the last job detailed in your portfolio was from 2005. It’s time to beef it up with some of your more recent fantastic jobs. On the same note, make sure that your portfolio contains plenty of background information about each job and a URL to the work itself (if available) to round out the description and give buyers plenty to… Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Refer your friends to oDesk!

Make money when your friends sign up on oDesk!  Embed our banners & links (like the one shown here) into your websites, blogs, forums, and emails, and earn $50 when referred providers earn $1,000 or referred buyers spend $1,000 through oDesk. Many of our current users are already reaping the rewards of this program, and so can you.  Join them by learning more about oDesk’s referral program. Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

Study: Freelancers Earn More through Tenure, Training

We recently completed a study the analyzed the impact of worker tenure, training, and country of origin on hourly wages. Our initial hypotheses were that there are positive returns to tenure (length of employment) and training (number of tests taken, scoring of tests taken), and that the worker’s country of origin affects wages. TENURE: Based on the results of several regressions to test our hypotheses, we concluded that there are positive returns to tenure for certain job types, particularly those that require technical expertise. Overall, it appears that managers have been willing to pay a premium for tenure but they do so selectively. For example, a manager may be willing to pay higher for a developer with a longer tenure on oDesk, but may not be willing pay more for a data entry worker for a longer tenure. TRAINING: Though oDesk does not provide formal training to workers, we defined “training” based on oDesk’s skill-specific tests. We concluded that wages increase with the number of exams taken, higher exam scores yield higher wage returns, and some exams affect wages more than others. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Our analysis on country of origin led us to conclude that workers living outside North America earn wages higher than the mean in their home markets. The analysis also showed that North American workers earn higher wages than workers in other countries at a statistically significant level. At a high level, it is clear that workers from the United States and Canada are earning wages that are higher than their counterparts from Eastern Europe and Asia. Upon closer inspection, however, the story is more subtle and complex than it first appears. Much of the apparent… Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Blogroll: Technical Writing for Work and Fun

Since the start of 2009, technical writing has enjoyed an upswing in interest from buyers - technical writing jobs posted on oDesk have climbed rapidly to reach nearly three times what they were a year ago! In honor of this tremendous growth, here are some of the best technical writing blogs we've found - high education value, tech-savvy and even humorous! Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

PostgreSQL vs. MySQL: A Comparison of Speed, Integrity and Popularity

We know that the PostgreSQL vs MySQL debate is a heated one, with passionate (and sometimes fanatical) communities on either side. When exploring this topic, most bloggers will politely ask you to forego the flame wars and instead heed to their half-baked, opinionated logic. This, however, is not your average blog post! We know that you, the communities of users actually using the software, know best. So, as Johnny the Human Torch would say, "Flame on!" Read Full Article