oDesk vs Elance vs Freelancer and 99designs – Infographic

Online global outsourcing is growing at a rapid pace with a projected growth of over 40% for the industry. The biggest platforms are oDesk, Elance and Freelancer. 99designs is really in a different category as it’s a crowdsourcing site more focused on design, whereas the other platforms encompass any type of online work.

In this infographic we compared the funding received, number of freelancers and jobs posted, percentage they charge and cumulative earnings of freelancers. Great information if you are interested in the online outsourcing space!

oDesk vs Elance vs Freelancer and 99designs - Infographic

UPDATE:
We got a comment from Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer. I have posted it here as it points out that some of the figures in the infographic (based only on publicly available information) are inaccurate:

“The graphics are neat but the numbers sourced for the infographic are way off. Freelancer user earnings are much higher. vWorker alone had $140M in user earnings before Freelancer acquired it. Also the commissions are 0-3% for employers and 0-10% for freelancers, not 13%. At 3% for freelancers, this is the cheapest by far for a freelancer doing any volume. The amounts raised by all companies is also incorrect. Elance and Odesk have raised significantly more than reported by Crunchbase and Freelancer hasn’t raised anything near $40m. Freelancer hits 8 million users today.”

 
How did you find this infographic? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Staff.com, a global recruitment platform where you can access very talented staff at affordable rates. They also have a technology called Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.

Rob resides in Sydney, Australia but can also be found in major cities around the globe, like Paris, Kiev or San Francisco.

Find Rob on Google Plus

 



36 Comments

  1. Kasim July 15th, 2014

    Hai Rob, i’m new to both elance and odesk. My profiles are almost 90 and 95 percent on elance and odesk but i’m finding hard to win a job on both the platforms. I’m from India and do you think my location also having impact in getting the job. Pls reply

  2. David Henderson June 7th, 2014

    Insightful article, would be great if it also included a summary of the posters opinions regarding each platoform.

  3. electroE June 5th, 2014

    freelancer charged my creditcard an amount I didnt agree to. I registered my credit card and when I got paid for the completed job I saw that freelancer had removed some money from my credit card and deposited it in my wallet (+ 25.88 as deposit and -.88 as fee). I was never told of the deposit. I’m still not sure why was I even charged. True the money is available for withdraw on freelancer wallet but on my card balance it says they charged me a bit more (26.88). Also those stupid account upgrade ads: when I registered my paypal I almost payed for that bullshit because its selected as default. Dirty tactics.

    • Victor C. July 9th, 2014

      Hi, electroE! My name’s Victor and I’m from Freelancer.com. Thanks for taking the time to communicate why our service did not meet your expectations. We have every desire to address your needs and to provide the best solution available to resolve your issue at the soonest time possible.

      Please accept our sincerest apologies for any trouble or inconvenience that you may have experienced with the site. We highly appreciate your feedback as it will assist us in becoming better at what we do. As with any site like ours, the best advertising we can have is word of mouth from a satisfied customer.

      I’d be more than willing to assist you and to clarify all your concerns. Please email me at vicc@freelancer.com. I look forward to your response. Thanks and take care.

  4. Richard Lindbaum May 11th, 2014

    These are all very interesting comments.

    We’ve been working almost exclusively for Freelancer but I would suggest to stay away from them. I’m actually coming from the side of a job poster, not a freelancer, so its interesting to see that contractors are also complaining about fees.

    Our biggest gripe so far (and only recently noticed as we failed to pay close attention earlier) is that Freelancer has very odd methods of charging fees.

    Indeed not only do they charge a lot for posting a job and try and upsell you on almost anything (this is absolutely legal), they are also playing tricks on currency fluctuations.

    Their web site lets you add funds in a currency of your choice, however, if they list something for $10, you will find that $11 was debited (maybe as a result of PayPal fees?) our currency is Australian $’s (they too are an Australian company), but if we want to pay in US$’s they will first convert the some to Au$’s and after deducting that from your account (normally a higher amount), they later convert again to US$s – thus making money on the spread which can be a LOT.

    We’ve posted over 120 jobs with them, but now looking at oDesk and Elance. My advice to a freelancer or somebody looking to get a job done, you would be better off staying away from these guys.

    We are in fact, seriously contemplating a class action suit against these guys. And no, I’m not from oDesk or from Elance or have a personal grudge, I just felt compelled to write this post after reading the other entries and thought I’d share our experience.

    • Victor C. July 9th, 2014

      Hello, Richard. I’m Victor from Freelancer.com, and I’m so sorry for all the trouble you’ve had with the site’s fees and charges.

      I’d be happy to help you on this and to clarify all of your issues with the fees we charge to our users. If it’s not much of an inconvenience, please email me at vicc@freelancer.com. I’ll wait for your reply. Thanks and take care always.

  5. kevin April 18th, 2014

    We are featured on Indiegogo.com to raise money for new packaging.

    We are promoting 99designs on the crowd fund but 99designs backed out of a link agreement. You can see it by searching dashcrab.

    We asked them like, tweet, and mention the campaign if we featured them to be used on the campaign. We just learned their PR person left the company and they cannot do anything for us. I’d like to remake my video and website to cite that once our funding is complete, we will use designcrowd to create the new packaging.

    Is there anything in exchange as in mutual support of each other?

    Please visit http://igg.me/at/dashcrabusa/x/7035779

  6. Atiar Rahman March 5th, 2014

    Nice topic. I have learned many things from this article about outsourcing. I have a dumb question. I have a site named khowab.com and want to redesign it by freelancers from 99design. The problem why 99design cut 40% of anyone’s earning? Isn’t it too much? I’m sorry because I’m newcomer in outsourcing field :-)

    • Admin Admin April 29th, 2014

      Hi, sorry for the late reply. Regarding your question, it is how 99designs pricing policy is. Not that many designers mind :)

  7. Hasib Khan February 2nd, 2014

    Hi..Rob !!

    Thanks for your great post. Now we can understand about current ratio about Biggest marketplace. I love oDesk. About 4 years I work with oDesk. It’s a Better marketplace from any other. Now a days we faced some problem for oDesk new update Bast Matching system. That’s why I’m little upset. Maybe it’s update work properly asap. otherwise I don’t leave from oDesk. Just personally I Suggest for oDesk Please clear properly your new bast matching system. Thanks again Rob for your nice information.

  8. K Goldsworthy December 15th, 2013

    Having recently registered with both Freelancer and oDesk, I have several issues with Freelancer as well;
    - Fees – you are encouraged as a bidder to upgrade your bid but so far many of the contracts are not finalised at all, or are still not awarded, long after the closing time – seems unethical that they can take money from you for bid upgrades when contracts might never be awarded! Also Freelancer charges you every time to do their online tests, whereas oDesk does not charge for any tests.
    - Job Content – maybe its the searches I am using, but the site seems completely infested with jobs for SEO writing at pitiful rates – a few cents per page or less, and also with requests for people to write term papers and assignments, even a thesis paper or two! Unfortunately these types of listings completely overwhelm other offerings for writing at present.
    - Fake Reviews – these are hundreds of jobs asking people to write and register hundreds, even thousands of fake “Likes” and reviews of social networking sites. Disappointing that there is no policing of standards for so many entries.

    If this is the way of online contracting its pretty disappointing when the bar has been set so low.
    KG

  9. Hosam Nabil October 26th, 2013

    From this figure, i see that oDesk is the best one which freelancers can earn with.

    I am thinking to start a freelancer job in grant and proposal writing , if any one can help me or have information about this field i wish help me and give advice about how can i start, what is the hourly rate that this job need & any other useful information.

    I’m looking forward for your answers :) :)

  10. Zeeshan Akhter October 22nd, 2013

    HI, that’s great work but please provide and prove or reference links …

  11. John October 18th, 2013

    I previously used Freelancer.com as well. I just registered today for elance to give it a try. My main concern is with privacy. I get the feeling that everything I enter into the freelancer website is available for public viewing. I asked once to remove something from the website and they refused to! I later wanted to delete my account, all projects, etc hoping that I could manually remove the information myself. I THEN discovered that it costs $5/project to have them deleted from the website. In my opinion this should be illegal (although I am not a lawyer and don’t know what the laws are regarding privacy).

    So far with Elance they make it VERY clear what information I enter will be public and what information I enter will be private. So far it’s looking VERY promising. It feels like Elance is there to help me succeed and be comfortable. Whereas, it feels like Freelancer exists solely for profit.

    I also get a “bad taste in my mouth” every time I use freelancer.com. I feel like I get charged for clicking on anything on the page. They upsell everything that they can think of. There are so many “hidden” fees it’s not funny (I say hidden because you don’t discover them until you’ve already been charged, at which point Freelancer will just refer you to some page online burried deep in their website to explain their fees).

    Also, do not use freelancer.com on your cell phone (for convenience). You’ll accidentally click something and be charged for it.

  12. apollyon October 16th, 2013

    oDesk have big problem for developers.
    I was developer on oDesk,too.
    I have worked hard for oDesk,but oDesk have suspended my account and didn’t allow to withdraw my funds on oDesk.
    For withdrawing my funds, first, they asked that I complete successfully my all contracts.
    When I have completed successfully, they need to confirm my work from clients and they told that they allow me only if clients allow .
    so in order to confirm,they have wanted that I ask clients opening ticket between client and oDesk.
    If I am client and client finished contract, I’ll think uncomfortably contractor who waste their time.
    oDesk torment developer with developer’s funds.
    In fact, It seem that oDesk want my funds(14000$).
    oDesk is trifling site.

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson October 16th, 2013

      I am approving this comment but honestly I don’t believe this. I think there is more to this story and it’s very unlikely that oDesk would confiscate $14k of developers funds. There is likely a legitimate reason why oDesk did this.

    • Jalle June 29th, 2014

      Hi apollyon

      I am in very much same situation as you are with oDesk. They are suspending my account asking to finish all contracts first.
      I would raeally love to hear from you on this issue. it would be great if you add me on skype (jaskotr1) .

      Cheers!

  13. Kristine October 1st, 2013

    I have bad experience with freelancer.com. They charges and up selling to much! hate that.

    Even if I want to delete my project, they will charge $5.. it doesn’t make any sense for me.

    I stick with elance for now. Good infographic btw

  14. Liam Kyle September 23rd, 2013

    Rob,

    This was an interesting comparison. I’ll need to do some more digging. However, as a direct result of Matt Barrie’s (CEO of Freelancer) post, my firm will never use Freelancer.

    He accused you of having erroneous information, but provided no data/sources to validate the information he provided.

    And he failed to mention the membership fee requirements that Freelancer imposes.

    I will be sure to reblog this.

    Liam

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson September 23rd, 2013

      Hi Liam,

      To be fair, the information that we provided is based on publicly available sources. As there is not a lot of information available for Freelancer.com I would think that it is fair for him to challenge the figures and I think that he is correct in saying that the figures we provided are not accurate. However he can’t totally challenge the figures without revealing all his numbers which he doesn’t want to do.

      We could revise our graph based on adding in the vworker.com information of $140 million, however instead of doing this we just added his comments to give extra perspective to the figures.

      Not that total revenue through the platforms:
      oDesk reached $1 billion.
      I would estimate that including vworker.com Freelancer.com is likely over $400million at this point.

      Also regarding this comment “Elance and Odesk have raised significantly more than reported by Crunchbase and Freelancer hasn’t raised anything near $40m”, I have no information to the contrary and I would say that there is no reason to not believe what he has said, so I would assume that this is also true.

      So overall we added in his comments because we do believe that are numbers are inaccurate, but we did the best we could with publicly available information, and anyone interested in the numbers will have to do their own analysis and come to their own conclusion.

      Regarding the membership fee, I think you have to come to your own conclusions about this. Personally I don’t agree with a membership fee for freelancers, however it’s not a big deal for freelancers that are making a lot of money through the platform.

      Also it’s true that with the membership fee, freelancer.com has the lowest percentage take from any of the platforms.

  15. Paul Dang September 7th, 2013

    We meet and talk with many people who use Elance for their freelancing works. Btw, most of them hate Elance because this website doesn’t protect freelancers as other websites do. Also, they will block your account whenever they “think” you’re not professional freelancer. And most of cases, they keep your money that you worked hard to receive that money. In our case, we lost totally $20k when they blocked our account. We hope they sleep well in the night time after doing such things with us.

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson September 8th, 2013

      Approving this comment but really would say that I would need a response from Elance to trust this information. I find it highly unlikely that they took your $20k. If they did you can go to the better business bureau and I’m sure that Elance would return the money. I am pretty sure that Elance would never keep $20k of a freelancer’s money.

  16. Husaini August 26th, 2013

    I love Odesk as I’ve been working for 4 years there.
    I hate frelancer because you need to pay for upgrade ALMOST everything, as for free member you’ll just get limitation everywhere. That means you need to deposit some money first before getting jobs (of course if you’ll have it).

  17. Red Man August 20th, 2013

    Thanks for all the tips, a basic google search will also show you many unhappy freelancers and employers of one of your suggested companies above and I mean many complaints, I am glad I found your page, that with the many bad feedback comments I read, I am off to join eLance.

  18. Alleli Aspili August 14th, 2013

    I have experienced getting jobs from oDesk and to be honest, I actually liked their first website design and layout. The current one seems to have been inspired by the trend with web designs right now, but it did make me more confused before. I never tried ELance or Freelancer. I probably won’t get to do that anymore since I have a stable job right now. Guess where? In an outsourcing company – cool!

  19. Alex August 9th, 2013

    Which website that I can outsource different language freelancer? For example: Chinese.

  20. This Guy July 23rd, 2013

    Hmm.. where should I go to outsource my article writing? Freelancer, odesk, or elance? still confuse..

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson July 24th, 2013

      In my experience for high quality article writing you are best to look at getting guest posts from experienced bloggers. Someone who has their own blog and is looking to do some guest posts. If you are looking for someone to re-write existing content or for easier tasks it’s possible to find someone on any of these sites (Freelancer, oDesk etc)

  21. Jay July 19th, 2013

    Matt Barrie should have also noted that Freelancer additionally makes money from its freelancers by charging them monthly memberships, while oDesk has free membership.

  22. Karen July 19th, 2013

    Hi Rob, great information. Hope you will update the graph and include the right data.

  23. Erwin Castro July 15th, 2013

    I’m a blogger and web developer, nice infographic neat and smooth, I’m on freelance and done already some freelance jobs with those sites- oDesk, Elance and Freelancer, of the three oDesk is far more advance and better, well-established, nice navigation.

  24. Matt July 1st, 2013

    Hi Rob

    The graphics are neat but the numbers sourced for the infographic are way off.

    Freelancer user earnings are much higher. vWorker alone had $140 in user earnings before Freelancer acquired it. Also the commissions are 0-3% for employers and 0-10% for freelancers, not 13%. At 3% for freelancers, this is the cheapest by far for a freelancer doing any volume. The amounts raised by all companies is also incorrect. Elance and Odesk have raised significantly more than reported by Crunchbase and Freelancer hasn’t raised anything near $40m. Freelancer hits 8 million users today.

    Regards
    Matt

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson July 3rd, 2013

      I apologize for the errors this is based on the publicly available information that we could find. I will add a comment in the article also

    • Nham Nguyen December 14th, 2013

      Hi Rob,

      I think you don’t have acknowledge about freelancer.com. If you want your project fee is 3%, you need become gold member. You have to pay $50 to become GOLD MEMBER.

  25. Web Eminence June 30th, 2013

    Great info. I was actually looking for some of this info a few days ago and had to go to the different sites just to compare the different stats. It’s nice to have them in one convenient place on a slick infographic.

    I’m a big fan of elance. I just started with them a long time ago and never really had a reason to switch. For those wanting to post projects on elance, I did a video walkthrough of the process of posting a project. It’s pretty easy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpm2qTBrWJQ

  26. Alice June 26th, 2013

    As a copywriter, I’m not familiar with 99designs, but I was curious to know which of the other three rules:) Freelancer has the bigger freelancer to job ratio and the lowest freelancer earnings – it did seem more competitive to me than oDesk or Elance. Clever of me to be present only on these two :D Thanks for the statistics, Rob, very useful!

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