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The definition of the word, disintermediation, is the elimination of a financial intermediary in an effort to avoid fees. Simply put, all oDesk users must keep their oDesk jobs inside the system in order to comply with the oDesk User Agreement. Section 2.6.3 Disintermediation basically means that oDesk employers who find contractors on oDesk must hire and pay them through oDesk, and that oDesk contractors who find jobs on oDesk must apply and receive payment for them through oDesk.
Unlike nearly every other job board out there, you will not be charged money to look for contractors or to create an oDesk profile. Not only that, but you can use your oDesk account for any and all oDesk roles, whether you want to be an independent contractor, agency contractor, staffing manager, and/or employer. The oDesk Service fee covers operating costs, so we can host your online work relationships and offer the safest and most secure online platform possible for you to use to manage and work on your contracts.
We understand that some people may be tempted to work outside the system in order to save money. Others may not even be aware of the oDesk disintermediation and related billing policies. Here are some reasons why employer and contractors should avoid bypassing the safeguards of the oDesk system.
For Employers
  • Accountability - pay only for hours worked. With oDesk hourly contracts, you get the security of knowing you pay your contractors only for hours worked. The oDesk Team application tracks your contractors' time precisely. Both screenshots and memos post in the Work Diary, giving you complete visibility into what the contractor was doing and for how long. If your contractor adds manual time to the Work Diary, you have the opportunity to approve it. oDesk staff, from the Tech and Customer Support teams, right on up to the Director of Product Management, all run oDesk Team while they work.
  • Consolidated billing saves time and hassle. Transferring funds is a pain, especially if you are paying multiple people each week and, even more so if they are in different countries. oDesk gives you one bill for all of your activity, no matter how big an oDesk Team you are managing. We take care of getting the money to your contractors, who can then make withdrawals via the payment option of their choice. We also offer the cheapest possible withdrawal methods for your contractors to access their earnings.
  • Financial reporting and automated hourly billing. You can download your financial transaction detail for each contractor to a .csv file each week. If you use multiple teams, you can divide your contractors by client or project to facilitate easy invoicing and accounting. There is no need for employers to ask for invoicing on hourly contracts. The Team application tracks the time and adds it to the work diary. That time posts on your account on Mondays and bills to you automatically on Thursdays.
  • Build your reputation to get better candidates. The more hours you accrue through oDesk, the better you look as an employer to potential candidates. Many contractors will only work for employers with an extensive contract and feedback history on oDesk. They count on your reputation to prove you are reliable enough to work with on a long-term basis.
  • Flexible Payment Options. Choose the payment option that works best for you. Employers can pay by credit card, PayPal or check. Setting up a payment method is relatively quick and easy. Support Services is there to help, should you have any questions on how to set up your payment method.
For Contractors
  • Accountability - guaranteed payment for hours worked. A common experience for remote contractors is the employer who promises to pay a certain amount for their work, but when the time comes, renegotiates or just walks away. With oDesk hourly contracts, this risk goes away. All time tracked via the Team application is subject to the oDesk Payment Guarantee, and you always have a record to show exactly when you were working and what you working on while on hourly contract.
  • Automated, prompt billing - never chase a client for payment again. In a typical remote contract, you are lucky if you are paid in 30 days. And, how often have you had to wait 60 or even 90 days to be paid? On top of that, the money you're owed is always in the air, leading to awkward conversations. oDesk handles billing for you from start to finish. We bill your employers, collect the money and add the funds to your account. That way you can focus on delivering a great product for the client.
  • Safe, secure, low-cost payment. You can use the withdrawal method of your choice, including the ACH, local funds transfer, wire transfer, PayPal, Skrill and Payoneer. This gives you tremendous flexibility, whether you want to receive your money in USD or in your local currency. Learn more about withdrawing your earnings from oDesk.
  • Build your reputation to get better jobs. The more hours you work and the more feedback you receive at oDesk, the more attractive you are to potential oDesk employers. Many contractors with good oDesk work history and feedback on oDesk don’t always need to apply to jobs; rather, employers find them in searches and directly invite them to interview.
One final word on Disintermediation: doing it hurts everyone. When someone bypasses the oDesk Service Fee, oDesk doesn’t get the revenue necessary to maintain the best online jobs platform in the world. Just as with shoplifting or avoiding paying government taxes, ultimately someone has to pay, which raises fees for everyone. By working inside the oDesk system, we can keep the service fee as low as possible.
2.6.3 Disintermediation (quoted from the oDesk User Agreement)

Except pursuant to the Buyout Policy below, Employer shall (i) make all payments relating to, or in any way connected with, a Contract (including, without limitation, bonuses) through the payment channels provided or specified by oDesk, and (ii) not make any such payments directly to a Contractor or through any other payment channels. Any action that encourages or solicits complete or partial payment outside of the oDesk system is a violation of this Agreement. Should an Employer be found in violation of this section of this Agreement, it will owe oDesk fees equal to the greater of a) $2,500; or b) the applicable fees had the payments been processed through the oDesk system plus 18%. Employer shall immediately notify oDesk if a Contractor requests that Employer make a payment directly to it or through any channels other than those provided or specified by oDesk. Contractor shall not accept any payments relating to a Contract (including, without limitation, bonuses) from an Employer directly or through any payment channels other than those provided or specified by oDesk. Contractor shall immediately notify oDesk if an Employer or any of its agents attempts to make a payment to Contractor directly or through any payment channels other than those provided or specified by oDesk.

Keywords: disintermediation accountability consolidated billing reporting reputation protection safe secure