10 tips for an eye-catching profile

October 17, 2007 by

So you’re a freelancer at an online site with 25,000 providers to choose from. Seems like it might be hard to stand out to prospective buyers. Here’s my advice: Spell-check for goodness sake. There is no faster way to look unprofessional than to have “poorgrammer” as part of your title. Links, and links, and links. Whenever you can – show links to prior work, prior companies, anything to give the reader a better idea of who you are and what you’ve done. Be creative with your title. You have about 0.1 seconds to make an impression when your profile first appears in search results. Better have some standout keywords in there. Be creative, be fun, be a “java ninja” or a “php rockstar”. Upload a picture of yourself. While your coding ability may have little to do with your appearance, every buyer I’ve ever asked has told me that the pictures gain their attention. btw, logos don’t have the same effect. Prove your skills. If you can, take online certifications. Take oDesk tests, or Brainbench tests, or pursue a certification from Zend, MS, etc. Prove your identity. Check out some of the online tools and sites for getting a stronger online identity. Beenverified.com has an embeddable online ID verification. Don’t forget your keywords. Think as if you were a buyer. You’re looking for a professional just like you. What keywords would you use in your search? If you know some unique skills, put them in your profile. It’s not going to hurt and it will increase your profile views. Set reasonable expectations. You may not find Google recruiting at oDesk today 😉 , but you may find some outstanding long-term clients. Set the right … Read Full Article

All Things Upwork

25,000th Provider Joins oDesk Network!

October 16, 2007 by

Every once in a while we hit a milestone at oDesk that makes everyone in the office stop and say “wow”. This morning we noticed that the 25,000th provider was going to join the network. We watched as the numbers approached this important milestone… And here she is, our 25,000th provider: Samantha K., welcome to oDesk! Samantha and our extensive network of providers will find a variety of cool and interesting jobs on oDesk. Just browsing through the job posts Buyers have put up in the last few days, I found a job listing for a music video, one to write courses for airplane pilots and one calling for PHP/MySQL/HTML experts to create a graphics design website for a banner and magnet company. It’s neat to see all of the creative ways people are using our site. To give you a sense of our growth, approximately 80 providers join our network each day. Our base of affiliate firms is also growing: currently, about 1,500 providers in our network are part of affiliate firms. In the last 90 days, oDesk providers have made nearly $3.6 million. But we’re really not just about the numbers. People working in the U.S. and abroad have found job opportunities they would have likely not found locally and Buyers have seen great results. Here are some of the feedback comments Buyers posted on our site today: “Shibu B. (of the Affiliate Firm Cabot Solutions) did a great job on this project and produced all deliverables on time. We’ll definitely work with him again in the near future.” “Kostya is an excellent PHP developer and I would be happy to hire him again.” … Read Full Article

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Music to our ears

October 15, 2007 by

Dmitry Sokolovksy, our QA master, is also a bayan guru, which is a type of accordion. He recently brought his accordion to the office and played a bunch of his favorite songs. Some really impressive finger work, I’m sure it helps in typing fast on the computer Check out this video: I hope you noticed: The scary cat pictures My South Asian bobble-head The wink – Abid Mohsin … Read Full Article

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Got Bling?

October 14, 2007 by

Does your profile have any bling? We launched some new icons just a few weeks ago to feature the best performers on the online tests. Check out all the new icons and how to get some on your profile: Go for the gold! Top provider in each test gets one. Silver for 2nd place. Bronze for 3rd place. For any provider scoring in the Top 10 percentile. For any provider scoring in the Top 20 percentile. Keep on taking those tests! The competition is heating up as almost 30,000 tests have now been taken by oDesk providers. We’ve already heard from a few providers that they have started receiving more interview invites with the icons in their profiles. Read Full Article

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Password Update

October 10, 2007 by

We’re upgrading the security of our site in efforts to better serve and protect all users. As part of this ongoing initiative, we’ve introduced a higher standard for password strength. In order to bring all of our existing users up to the new standards, you will be redirected to the change password screen after you log in. Thanks for your cooperation. Read Full Article

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Earn $250 – How big will the oConomy be in Q4?

October 8, 2007 by

Our friends at Predictify launched their service earlier today and we’re giving it a whirl.  Predictify is sponsoring an oDesk-related poll to help predict how large the oConomy will be in Q4. Those of you that frequent the oDesk homepage have probably noticed that the oConomy is growing faster than ever – nearly $3.5 million in the last 90 days!  You can see total provider earnings for the last 90 days on the “oConomy Facts” tab of our homepage. Make your prediction for total provider earnings for the period from October 1st through the end of the year. The most accurate predictors will split a pot of $250. Read Full Article

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Refer friends to oDesk and earn money

October 3, 2007 by

oDesk has just launched a User Referral Program to reward existing users for referring friends and colleagues to the site. What is it? When you refer a new user — either a Buyer or Provider — and he or she spends or earns $1,000 on oDesk, we will pay you a one-time reward of $50. There are no limits on the number of friends you can refer. How can I join? You are already enrolled! The new “My Referrals” tab in your My oDesk interface allows you to: invite individual friends through email embed a referral link or banner in your emails, websites and blogs The “My Referrals” tab also gives the details of all referral activity, including the total rewards earned and the amount earned through each individual referral. Read more >> … Read Full Article

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Buyers: Print individual invoices

September 19, 2007 by

The Account Activity Tab offers complete visibility into your financial transactions on oDesk. However, many buyers have told us you need to be able to print official invoices for each transaction. Now you can. Go to your Account Activity Tab. You will see that the Ref ID column for all of your Hourly and Fixed Price transactions is now linked. These links generate a PDF invoice for each individual transaction. Read Full Article

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oDesk Wins Web Marketing Association Award

September 18, 2007 by

We’re blushing  Today we received the Standard of Excellence Award in the Professional Services category from the International WebAwards.  oDesk received high marks for its innovation, design, content, technology, interactivity, copy-writing, and ease-of-use. Produced by the Web Marketing Association, the International WebAwards names the best Web sites in 96 industry categories and sets the standard of excellence for Web site development. The best part is that we’ve been working on a major update to the oDesk user interface that should make oDesk even easier to use.  The new interface will be available very soon. –Abid Mohsin … Read Full Article

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Limits Increase Immediately

September 12, 2007 by

Increases in weekly limits will now take effect immediately! No more waiting until the following Monday to get back on a regular work schedule. Any decreases in weekly limits will still take effect the Monday after the limit change. How will it work going forward? Please note that the 2 overtime hours in the example above will not be billed, but any hours worked after the limit change will be billed and paid as regular hours. Buyers can change weekly limits at any time from the My Assignments tab. Why did we do this? Back when we first planned this feature, we thought the best approach would be to enforce all changes in the next week. We felt that would be a fair approach to allow buyers and providers to agree on expected weekly workloads and not allow for frequent and erratic changes in weekly limits. However, a number of buyers have used the limits in a manner we did not fully expect. On initial hire, the buyers may set a relatively low weekly limit and raise it once they feel more comfortable with the provider. Frequently, these increases are happening within just a couple days after the start date. So, we’ve changed the functionality to allow increases to take effect immediately. We believe this is a win-win feature for buyers and providers. Read Full Article

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oDesk Launches Facebook Developer Skills Test

September 11, 2007 by

This morning we announced the launch of a Facebook developer skills test.  The test is the first and only skills test designed to help businesses hire the most talented Facebook application developers.  See the full release here. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a rapid increase in Facebook development job opportunities.  The test provides a great new tool to oDesk buyers who want another data point to evaluate a developer’s Facebook-book development skills.  As is the case with all of oDesk’s 103 skills tests, you can easily search the oDesk provider database to find providers that have passed the test. If you are a provider with Facebook development skills, you can take the test for free.  Upon test completion, you can choose whether or not to display your score on your profile. And while we’re talking about Facebook development skills, it’s also worth mentioning that our friend, Dave McClure, has announced an interesting new conference that will be of interest to Facebook developers and those that love them.  Graphing Social Patterns is a conference for developers and marketers on how to build and distribute apps for the Facebook Platform.  … Read Full Article

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Email Job Alerts

August 29, 2007 by

oDesk has just launched email Job Alerts. You can now receive daily email alerts for all new jobs posted on oDesk that match your profile categories. Setting up Job Alerts: Be sure to update your categories to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of your favorite job opportunities on oDesk. Update Your Categories Now>> … Read Full Article

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Gary’s interview with Red Herring

August 17, 2007 by

As a winner of the Red Herring Top 100 award, we were invited to interview with Red Herring TV and discuss how we are making it possible for SMBs to access talent around the world. Here’s the clip of Gary’s interview with Sean Wolfe in Red Herring’s snazzy new studio. Go to Red Herring TV’s website. – Abid Mohsin … Read Full Article

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Job & Provider Categories

August 14, 2007 by

oDesk has launched a new job category system that improves provider search and job search. With this change, all oDesk providers and job listings will be classified into one or more of our new job categories. This system gives oDesk providers one more way to be found by oDesk buyers and one more way to search oDesk job listings to find the opportunities that are right for you. Posting a Job with the new category system: You can now narrow your job and provider searches based on the categories that interest you. Use Advanced Job and Provider Search to narrow searches by category: Providers: To add yourself to a job category: We have already categorized all providers that had skills listed on their profile, but we encourage all providers to login and make sure you add all of the categories for which you would like to be found. We hope these new features make it is easier for the right people to find each on oDesk. Read Full Article

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See Your Finances with the Account Activity Tab

August 14, 2007 by

Since we launched the new billing and payment system, the most pressing request we have had, from buyers and providers alike, has been for greater visibility into your financial history on oDesk. We are pleased to introduce the Account Activity Tab. How can I use the Account Activity tab? See what you owe and when the payment is due See past statements Analyze your oDesk spending by provider, affiliate, or transaction Download your activity to .csv for analysis in Microsoft Excel To check out the Account Activity Tab, look under My Account. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

The Four Hour Work Week

August 3, 2007 by

Tim Ferriss, an enterprising entrepreneur that claims to work only four hours per week, recently published a book about how he does it. It’s an interesting read. We’re not entirely convinced he only works four hours per week 😉 but he offers some sound advice on streamlining operations, being more productive, and enjoying the life you have now instead of waiting until retirement. One of the keys to success that Tim recommends is outsourcing anything that can be done for less than half of what it would cost you to do it yourself (or that you don’t know how to do yourself). He includes everything from typical business activities like customer service, web development and administrative tasks, to checking email, cooking and even online dating. Tim is new to oDesk but we introduced ourselves to him last week, and he’s going to test us out. He included oDesk in a recent blog post about Extreme Personal Outsourcing€? and we hope to hear more from him in the future. In the meantime, if you’€™d like to learn more about how you might be able to save some time at work or outsource your love life, check out. Read Full Article

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Have a great story to share?

July 30, 2007 by

Hello oDeskers, Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re using oDesk? Are you able to travel more, have greater flexibility with your work day, or free up more time because of your remote work environment? In honor of “The Four Hour Work Weekâ€? by Tim Ferriss, we’re looking for some great stories from oDesk users that are able to do and experience new things because they’re either working remotely or hiring remote assistance to help them grow their businesses. We know you’re out there! If you have a great story to tell, please share it with us. We’re gathering stories to share with the media – tv, print and radio. This could be an opportunity to talk to the media about your remote work situation and promote yourself and your business. So let us know! Send us an email at odesksuccess@gmail.com … Read Full Article

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Milestone Payments

July 26, 2007 by

We’ve built new functionality into the console application for buyers and providers to easily pay milestone payments for any amounts on fixed price projects. Buyers can initiate payments at any time and for any amount. Providers can see immediately when milestone payments have been made and approved. Both sides can track the agreed amount, amount paid to date, and amount remaining. This should alleviate some of the concerns around getting paid on fixed price jobs. Providers may even want to request a small payment before starting any work to ensure that the buyer is serious about completing the project. It’s up to you how to use the feature. We’ve also prepared a short play for you: (Act I – working on a fixed price project before today) Provider: “I finished the first phase, can you pay me 25% for reaching the milestone.” Buyer: “I don’t see any way to do that on oDesk, I’ll just pay you the full amount at the end” Provider: I’m nervous, this buyer might not pay me. (Act II – working on a fixed price project after today) Provider: “I finished the first phase, can you pay me 25% for reaching the milestone.” Buyer: “Sure, happy to. Good job.” Provider: “Thanks, I’ll keep working now.” /*thinking*/ I feel much more comfortable now that I’ve received some partial payment. Read Full Article

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Add / Remove Company User

July 23, 2007 by

Buyers can now add additional company users to your Team Room. You might want to consider doing this if you are jointly managing a project or if you have other local developers that you’d like to be able to work with your oDesk providers. Adding new users takes just a few seconds. Go to My Account – Company Info – Add User (see screensnap) If you’d like to add more managers to your team, they will be able to post jobs, hire providers, and update financial information. If you’d like to just add other local employees, contractors, or non-oDesk providers, do not add them as a team manager. Once you add a user, they’ll receive an email invitation to join your team and their registration can be completed in just 2 minutes. Then they can join you and your oDesk providers. Read Full Article

The Way We Work

Interviewing do’s and don’ts

July 16, 2007 by

Posting a job, interviewing candidates, and picking the right one is always a challenging process. I’ve been a hiring manager about 5 times for local positions, but that was easy. Hiring for a remote or offshore position is much harder. All of the conventional wisdom is useless when hiring for remote positions. You get the bonus challenges of: -Managing timezone differences -Working thru cultural and language differences -Verifying the authenticity of your info -Dealing w/o back-channel references (usually the best source of info) In the past 2 1/2 years of working with oDesk buyers and providers, I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two about the process of interviewing remote contractors. Do’s Post a detailed job description. Includes additional expectations about time of day availability, English skill, min / max hourly rates. Send trial projects. Something as simple as “take a look at this website and give me 3 suggestions for improvements” are convenient little tests to see how they think. Ask questions about attitude. Some projects will fail. What’s important is how a provider deals with it. Ask about it. Ask to talk to previous clients. They’re still the best source of info. Start small. Build confidence in your selection by starting with some small projects to make sure everything works out ok before diving into bigger projects. Don’ts Focus exclusively on responsiveness. It’s easy to fall into a trap of confusing “responsiveness” with “responsibility”. Rush into a decision. Every one needs a project completed yesterday, but spend the time and energy to find the right candidates. Mistake poor grammar for poor communication. “We are able to go for thing to make project completed” may be confusing, but ask yourself what’s more important; reliable, … Read Full Article

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Affiliate Feedback Score

July 11, 2007 by

We recently made an update to the feedback system to accurately calculate affiliate feedback scores. As most of you have probably figured out by now, the individual feedback scores are weighted on a dollars-earned basis. For example, if I’ve completed 2 projects: Project X: $5,000 earned. 5-star feedback Project Y: $100 earned. 1-star feedback My total feedback score would be a (($5000 * 5) + ($100 * 1)) / ($5000 + $100) = 4.92 The feedback score for affiliates has historically been calculated as a simple average of the feedback scores of the individual affiliate contractors. It has been updated to be dollars-weighted for all projects completed by the affiliate contractors, past and present. For most affiliates, this should not cause a significant change in total feedback score in either direction, but you may notice that it has moved slightly. Read Full Article

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Job Preferences

July 10, 2007 by

We’ve added more options for buyers and providers to find better matches quickly and easily. Buyers can specify up to 5 different preferences and dynamically see how many candidates meet all of the qualifications. Once the buyer has posted their job, they can quickly review the providers that meet all their criteria and invite them to interview. Buyers will see this option when they’re viewing their job opening in the My Jobs tab. And for providers that are viewing job openings, you will see the buyer’s preferences listed in the job opening page. We hope this helps providers gain a better understanding of exactly what the buyer is looking for in a candidate. You can always apply to the job even if you don’t meet all the preferences, but it should help set the right expectations and lead to more effective applications. Read Full Article

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New Provider Search

July 3, 2007 by

We are pleased to announce our new provider search with enhanced filtering. Now, it’s easy to find what you are looking for when searching for candidates. What did we change? We hope these enhancements help make everyone’s hiring experience a great one. If you have any feedback for us about provider search, please tell us here. Read Full Article

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WYSIWYG Editor

June 17, 2007 by

We’ve fully released a WYSIWYG editor in all main free text fields in the job openings and provider profiles. We would like to enable users to customize their profiles to the best of their ability to showcase their jobs, skills, experience, and portfolios. We selected an open-source tool, FCKeditor, that seemed to have one of the simplest interfaces. We hope you utilize the new editor to spruce up your profiles, customize your messages, and add some color to the marketplace. Read Full Article

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New Tests Available

June 14, 2007 by

oDesk currently offers over 100 different skill tests as part of the oDesk online testing program to our entire provider network free of charge. These tests enable providers to certify their skills for the latest technologies and business practices. We have received a great response to the online testing program and the number of tests taken by our providers is increasing rapidly and steadily every day. Read more about the online testing program. Today, we are happy to announce that we have 4 new tests available for all of our providers: Adobe Flex Builder 2 Dot Net Nuke LAMP Web Services You can click on the link above to take the tests or also go to the “My Qualifications” area in your account console. When taking any of the new tests, remember to help us improve the quality. Recently, we enhanced the online testing program with a feedback feature that allows users taking an online test to submit issues, concerns, or errors in the questions. We have received a great response from our providers and in a short period of approximately 2 months we have received a huge number of tickets regarding our test questions. We look forward to getting your comments and suggestions on these 4 new tests as well. Read Full Article