Upwork (formerly 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 Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Freelancer and 99designs, although 99designs is really a different category as it’s a crowdsourcing site more focused on design, whereas the other platforms encompass any type of online work.

We have a newer article on Upwork and Elance competitors here: 17 Upwork Alternatives That Will Help You Outsource Jobs to Grow Your Business

In this infographic we compared the platforms according to 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!

Upwork (formerly 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.”



Try Time Doctor

Get more stuff like this
In your Inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff on remote working and productivity to your email inbox

we respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously.


  • Avatar Saifur Rahman says:

    I do not agree with you. I know Upwork is a trusted company because I am working 5 years.
    If anyone violates their privacy policy then it can happen.

  • Avatar Marsha Kelly says:

    As a buyer of all three services for many years, Upwork, Freelancer, and 99designs, I think they all have their good points – but I use them for different types of jobs.
    Upwork is good to find writers and web developers, Freelancer is good for low-cost labor internationally and 99designs is the best for graphic design.

  • Avatar Meredith says:

    What an eye opener. I have a larger project coming up and I’ve been investigating all these sites. However, after reading all these reviews from both sides, I think I’ll stick with Fiverr.

  • Avatar Mike says:

    Upwork as others described it is still not user friendly. I do use Guru and i am way happier with the platform. Much much simpler, and you get an easy short link to the job post you create so you can share with other freelancers. The support is way better than upwork. Upwork terminates accounts without providing any reason. Sometimes the freelancers do not deliver a good job on upwork, and most of the time you lose money.

  • Avatar Tommaso says:

    UpWork is dangerous because its business model is “volume” at all costs and, to attract and retain larger numbers of clients and freelancers, UpWork is reluctant to action accounts that fail to comply with Upwork’s own rules and policies or with job descriptions and milestones. In repeated occasions Upwork arbitrarily and illegitimately refused to transfer to arbitration (AAA) disputes that it had decided against documental evidence. Unfortunately Upwork leaves no recourse against these violations while Freelancer, Outsourcerly and others accept to be, themselves, taken to arbitrage.
    In short, Upwork is arrogant with clients and freelancers counting on their inability to litigate Upwrok legally.

  • Avatar Karen says:

    Upwork is a difficult platform, charges the freelancer significantly more than Elance, and is much less responsive. My clients are abandoning the platform.

  • Avatar Preksha Das says:

    This blog is good. You have shared good stuff over here about all the best freelance websites. I have used three of them (Freelancer, elance and 99designs) and with them i has been a great experienced never got any scammed or problems so all i can say that they are all good websites for freelancing people. But I have used one more very good website for mine freelance work and had a great experienced with that as well(http://www.hifreelancer.com). So guys should give it a try once.

    Thank you for the post

  • Avatar Amit says:

    Upwork is not a trusted company.

    You can not Trust on it. Any time you can get a message from Upwork that “Your account suspended”, and all your money will be block.

    If you believe that you will open a company and give many person job via getting projects from Upwork then it will be a big mistake. Anytime your account could be suspend.

    UPWORK IS GREEDY, UPWORK IS FRAUD COMPANY. Please keep away from this company.

    I was doing very good job in Upwork with very close to 5 star feedback. I was willing to open company, but suddenly I got an email from Upwork “Your account has been suspended. Please contact customer support.”. I have contacted and they replied that I was not getting more work in Upwork, what a stupid reason, very greedy things, even I have done lot of work and 2 projects are in progress.

    They replied me to send appeal with all important documents. I sent with all documents but they finally suspended my account.

    and also Upwork charging 20% from freelancer hard work. In USA 20% commission are banned and it is crime. Upwork must be ban in all over country.

    • Avatar Sumon_Ahmmed says:


      I am not agree with you. Upwork is a trusted company because I am working there last 4 years. My account okay.
      If anyone done anything wrong or violate their policy then it can be happen.

      Thanks 🙂

    • Avatar jolly chatterjee says:

      Yes. Is true. Same thing happened with me and u haven’t done anything wrong.. my amount earned is blocked. Stupid upwork support.

  • Avatar partition says:


  • Avatar Sol De Sal says:

    Odesk.com sucks.

    From so many projects that I outsourced…. I have never had one that I was fully satisfied with.
    All good and dandy when they are trying to sell you and promise you they would complete the work fast, quality, etc.

    Once you awarded the work to them… it all does downhill and they disappear….. do not reply… and jobs take forever and amendments take time… and they do not follow instructions.

    Another thing is that I had a few freelancers claiming the same websites were designed by them. So someone must have been lying, giving random URLs and passing it off as their work.

    Escrow….. also doesn’t seem to work in my benefit as employer. Lots of time wasted my by the freelancers with nothing to show for it.

  • Avatar John says:

    Upwork has suspended my account 12 hours after i opened a new contract over 500 usd and sent the money to upwork. There is no chance to get the money back.

  • Avatar Pixbeats says:

    What is the future of upwork?

  • Avatar swarni says:

    I want to say elance is no 1. so don’t kill it. Please keep both platforms separability and don’t force to migrate upwork.

  • Avatar JEM says:

    Thank you Rob for posting this comparison/review. I’ve posted two projects (logo design and website mockup) with Freelancer.com and was very pleased with the results. My freelancers were paid in both instances. Recently I told someone that I had my logo designed on Freelancer.com and they highly recommended Elance.com, so I decided for my final and largest project (website development), I’d check them out. This review and all the comments shows me that all of the outsourcing platforms have their own unique issues.

    My challenge is that I’m trying to accomplish a lot on a tiny budget. As a single mom with two children, launching an entrepreneurial enterprise isn’t easy. I’m grateful for sites like these because without them I simply wouldn’t be able to afford any of it. It’s my hope that the working relationship is mutually beneficial.

    I’m not a shill for Freelancer and admittedly, I haven’t tried any of the other sites (except Fiverr), and at this point I don’t intend to based on the comments. Fiverr is only good for small projects. I would never have my website built for $5 as I am 100% certain my website will LOOK exactly like a $5 website. Elance is now Upwork and they have similarly passionate negative reviews. It doesn’t make sense to switch from a company that I had positive experiences with to one I have no experience with and which also has quite a bit of negative feedback.

    It bothers me to hear that freelancers feel like they were swindled. I always took my freelancers financial needs seriously and I sincerely hope that practice stops. Here’s wishing everyone all the best and much luck in all your endeavors.. Cheers!

  • Avatar Vicy says:

    I was searching for new platform for my projects and found Elance but unfortunately it’s not as same as it was so i am come back to Guru.com as a employer and it’s Great with payment protection. i am using this from past 2 years.

  • Avatar Ann T says:

    Upwork sucks, bring back Elance! Sign the petition here: http://chn.ge/1VwXbFL

  • Avatar V says:

    Quick note on Upwork/oDesk as an employer:
    I used oDesk for some small projects, until I ran into the following dispute problem:

    1. I told my freelancer to stop working on something in a message
    2. She logges in 30~ hours after this message within a period of 2 days
    3. I file a dispute (it’s unfortunate)
    4. I wait 30 days for “investigation”
    5. The “investigation” only looks at the way freelancer uses UpWork tool to account for their time, that’s fine..
    6. As a result of “investigation”, Upwork informs me that freelancer didn’t follow some guideline on time entry and they trim 2 hours off of her time.
    7. Now I owe Upwork for all 28~ hours.

    My point: I, as a hiring party, have no control over my money at upwork.

    Upwork solution: I, as a hiring party, have to micro-manage the freelancer (by setting 2 hour milestones).
    Needless to say, I do not use upwork, I’m looking at Freelancer etc.

    I understand that there will be some mismatches in expectations, such as:
    1. I’ve done work but did not get paid
    2. I’ve paid but didn’t get what I expected
    That’s inevitable, however, if hiring parties have total control over money, naturally, freelancers will produce in small increments – which is the way to go in my opinion; do a little, get some money, do little more.

    Upwork’s space is providing infrastructure for freelancer market, however the fact that they try to control the money (it’s not up to free market to conduct the transaction).. this is just fucking laughable.. and why? to safeguard a potential 2 hour mismatch?

    Any thoughts/advice on platform?

    • Avatar Fernando V says:

      What do you refer by control money? You can control all the time, if you don’t want the freelancer work, just top contract.
      Or… do you want to pay freelancer just when you are in the mood? It’s real people that work to support their families. If you always want good performance, and perfect work, you can go by fixed price projects.

  • Avatar Toddr says:

    It’s funny how fast Freelancer contacted you to complain about inaccurate numbers… this would not happen if the companies were honest about their funding, active user base, etc in the beginning instead of inflating everyting.


    Your research paired with this case study speaks volumes about the “goals” of such companies, which are 100% focused on being “big” instead of offering quality work. The CHURN kills them, but they fall on their own swords.

    • Avatar Lancerholic says:

      I think outsourcing sites should focus on providing quality rather than “bigger the better” but again, how do you filter out quality freelancers from the millions that flock those marketplaces in search for the buck?

  • Am interested in redesigning my website or starting a similar one.
    Please give me a quote, with WordPress or similar template.

  • Avatar Ulysses says:

    If you look at the numbers it clearly shows that Freelancer.com posts tons of fake projects and has tons of fake freelancers. They need to do more to protect their real users from scams.

  • Avatar TC says:

    DON’T USE ELANCE.com / UPWORK.com to build your project.

    I just got scam by freelancer for $1500. Their Escrow is totally useless in my case.

    The project I have set 4 milestones, and first 2 milestones I funded and released the fund to freelancer.
    As I am first time using this kind of service and the freelancer set very simple in first two milestone, and I am so stupid go approve it.
    First milestone is ‘deposit’ of this job, second milestone is he is just give me a very simple logo only!
    This 2 milestones cost me $1500. (As this freelancer promised that if he can’t deliver the project, he will fully refund to me)

    However, after this 2 milestones, this freelancer is totally ‘disappear’, not able to contact him and no reply at all. Even 4 milestones due date reached, but he is still ‘disappear’.

    So I was dispute and make the refund request to Escrow. But Escrow said they need to wait this freelancer to take action on this case only can proceed with the case.
    Now is already 2 months pass, freelancer still ‘disappear’, and my dispute still in “PENDING CONFIRMATION” from them.

    I know I shouldn’t so easily to trust someone I don’t know in Internet, but what done is done. I just can’t believe that their Escrow is so useless and doesn’t protect this kind of case.

    Conclusion, SAY NO TO ELANCE & UPWORK!

    • Avatar Oscar Blanco says:

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience with a freelancer.
      I’m a freelancer myself in design.

      You mention that you can’t trust Elance or Upwork. But you clearly got cheated on only one website, not both. I’m curious to know which.
      I ask, because I’ve been using Elance for a while now, and I’m very happy with it. And so have been all my customers. I’m VERY sad to know they’re closing down, because they where purchased by UpWork (what used to be oDesk).

      I’m surprised you released the money so quickly, before project completion.
      Did you actually investigate the freelancer you hired before working with him?
      Did you look for previous customer ratings and comments?
      Did you check his portfolio?
      What where your reasons for choosing him in the first place?

      Both Customers and Freelancers have to be very careful who they work with.
      I always make sure my customers fund the complete project before I start to work, to make sure everything is deposited into the Escrow Account. BUT, that doesn’t mean I have access to the money right way. The customer continues to have control with what happens to that money, and if I don’t satisfy his expectations, he can go ahead and dispute the case and get his money back. Likewise, if all the project has been documented, and the files I sent have his approval in writing, I can also dispute him trying not to pay me.

      Escrow is made to protect both parties. If you release the funds before time, then it was your mistake I’m sorry to say.
      There is nothing wrong with how Elance does things on that regard. I don’t like UpWork, and I will probably have to look for another option after Elance finally closes this year. And it doesn’t look good. 99designs is built around free work for customers and no guarantee of getting hired for freelancers, in other words: Spec Work.
      And Freelancer is full of fake projects and freelancers. It’s a real mess. UpWork is down half the time, and both customers and freelancers that where forced to move from Elance to UpWork (myself included) are VERY unhappy with the results so far.

      But anyway. I hope you get your money back. But by what you say, it seems unlikely. You should have chosen your freelancer better, and not released the money (which is not the same as funding the project in an Escrow account) so quickly.

      If I can help you in any way, look me up on Elance!
      This is my profile:
      *Make sure you read previous customer reviews!

      And these are samples of my work:

      Good luck!

  • Avatar felix11111 says:

    Don’t use freelancer. Milestone payment is not safe at all. After milestone is created and released by client, freelancer can still lock your payment without any notification. If you email Freelancer, they always say that they can’t tell you why but contact your client. The truth is that you will never get your payment back. It’s stolen by freelancer.

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      Hi felix11111,

      My name’s Victor, and I’m from Freelancer.com.

      We apologize for any inconvenience. However, there are certain unavoidable instances when employers’ payments are temporarily withheld by the site from withdrawal, pending the resolution of issues on either the account of the employer or the freelancer.

      We hope you can understand that this is part of the site’s security protocols to ensure the safety of users’ accounts and their financial transactions on the site.

      It is also for this reason why we encourage both parties to communicate and to settle all issues so that we can allow the withdrawal of the employer’s payment, and the freelancer can enjoy their hard-earned funds without any issues.

      At any rate, held withdrawals are only a temporary situation, and the funds are kept on the users’ accounts until all issues are settled. The site doesn’t take any of the money from users.

      Should you require further clarification on this matter, please do not hesitate to email us at vicc@freelancer.com. Thanks.

  • Avatar Mark says:

    What an eye opener. I have a larger project coming up and I’ve been investigating all these sites. However, after reading all these reviews from both sides, I think I’ll stick with Fiverr.

  • Avatar Boris says:

    I used Freelancer as a buyer, and did about 15 projects.

    What stopped me from using it more, is poor protection system if something goes wrong.

    I don’t know if you remember old website RentACoder? I posted more than 100 projects there. They had great feature that money is transferred to RAC escrow account after project is started. Many have that, but look what happened after project is started.

    After project is started, both employee and employer can’t give up for any reason. They could wait until project is done, or start some kind of trial. Then, after listening of arguments of both employee and employer, comparing what is done with job description, a real judge from RAC would decide who has right and who is wrong.

    Best thing, the party who lose the case automatically gets bad rating 1, with description about bad behavior. Rating 1 ruins any chance to get new job in the future, so on that way RentACoder was pretty clear from scam.

    So, that great protection system for both parties was its best trait and the reason I used it.

    Unfortunatelly, RentACoder is later purchased by Freelancer and they included it in their bad system, so I stopped using it. 🙂

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      Hello Boris,

      My name’s Victor, and I’m from Freelancer.com.

      We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had issues with the site’s security features and the protection it offers to users.

      Let us assure you that the site has gone a long way in enhancing its security processes and verification protocols, as we move towards weeding scammers off the site and improving the range of protection we provide to members.

      If you still require information and/or clarification on the issues you’ve raised, please do not hesitate to email us directly at vicc@freelancer.com. We’ll be more than happy to explain everything to you.

      Thanks and take care.

    • Avatar Mack Poone says:

      Amen brother! RAC was the gold standard for protecting buyers. Freelancer sucked so we moved our company over to Elance once RentACoder was purchased by Freelancer. Now unfortunately Elance is disappearing as well and it seems most people have a negative opinion of this.

      I’m thinking maybe it is time to start a new site with the best of Elance and RAC? Anybody want to form a new business venture and do this thing right??

  • Avatar Jamie says:

    I had been freelancing and recently stopped working for these companies. You fail to mention that Freelancers also pay for applying for a job, taxes, and pay money transfer fees as well. I stopped because its to much of a numbers game. For every job I apply for I have 50 or more competitors low balling their hourly. I have a 1/50 chance of landing a job. The only person these odds favor is the Outsource Agency. And they know this. What a cash cow. The only thing they need to provide you with is cheap labor, quality does not matter.

    • Avatar Tom says:

      You cannot work for any of these freelancer companies without being ready to “do what you have to” to keep from being cheated blind. The basic contract with each one overrides what little real legal protection you have (and people fought and died for generations to create and preserve) and replaces it with “binding arbitration.” Any lawyer not trying to bill you will admit that it is almost impossible to collect anything across state lines, much less internationally. So, you might win the arbitration, and never see a dime. Of course, this is the ultimate protection against BS conclusions. Actually, it would be simpler and fairer to simply flip a coin. The process can totally ignore the facts and come to ridiculous conclusions that ignore the law. Much like the US legal system. But at least its not “arbitrary.”

      Rules of Survival: 1) use many services 2) never let them hold your money or have unencumbered access to your bank accounts 3) write your own contract with the client/freelancer. Use a lawyer if you can’t figure it out. Boiler plate will do, but always put everything in writing. Never rely on telephone conversations alone.

      Remember: it’s your money they want — no one cares whether you make a dime or suck sh*t and die.

    • Avatar Susan says:

      I have also been freelancing over the UpWork platform for past 2 years. I am done with it. The jobs on offer are increasingly just low-balling clients who want cheap, cheap, low-quality labour. UpWork makes a big thing out of talking up the importance of the freelancer profile and your rankings. However, as a freelancer you have very little input into the client rankings. Mostly this is okay, but I have had clients rate my quality as poor, where their translation software (I do freelance translation) was wrong – i.e., the “client” did not know the language. Many of the “Clients” are also just middlemen who posts a false on-line profile as a translation company, attracting clients that need translation work, then they post these as jobs and hire cheap UpWork freelancers, then run the documents through their language software and send a low-quality product off to the original client.

      I have asked UpWork what they are doing about these situations, and get nothing but standard corporate answers back from their helpdesk which also appears to be populated by lowly paid, poorly informed staff.

      What a joke. And that’s after paying 10% of my earnings to them + the standard fees for pulling your pay out and a lousy exchange rate etc.

      Upwork is all about making money on the platform. It is not a true freelancer meets clients community. Despite everything they try and tell you. Of course, we all should know better, but I always have hope that someone is actually trying to do things right out there. UpWork fits right in with Uber, AirBnB – they are all trying to get rich on the back of the rest of us.

  • Avatar Ashutosh says:

    Great Stats Rob. I would say, this is not just comparison but this post has opened Complaint Box instead of Comment Box against almost all Freelancing Websites. I personally think that this usually happens with all when competition increases and with it increases confusions, frauds and thus complaints. I have worked with almost all freelancing sites mentioned by you but I never came across such situation as I am working for small amounts part time. But one thing for sure that competition is definitely increased. Freelancers were not having much options few years back, but now got many options and still getting many options with many new websites pouring in like OsProjectz which I noticed while googling few days back. I am always in search of new opportunities whether they are big or small. And I think every freelancer should keep searching for new options, opportunities and ways to promote themselves and earn.

  • Avatar Mirna says:

    Upwork (previosuly odesk) is a great source of problems. Now I have my account open, but -pay attention- Financial transactions are blocked. I cannot withdraw my funds and this is the answer from their customer service: ” I’ve reviewed your account with our team and it seems your account was closed due to irregularities detected by our system. I am not able to reverse this decision. Your account will not be reopened”.
    So, they do not say the reason of such decision, they keep the money, my profile is still open, but I have lost my money.
    I hope the authorities will intervene and I’m planning to ask the cyber crime police. Suppose they suddenly block the money of many freelancers, without giving an explanation: the sum of each profile’s money gives a huge amount. I’m shocked.

    • Avatar Foaly Esteban says:

      @Mirna That’s the reason you need to withdraw money quickly from these services like upwork, Elance, etc. They are obviously not Banks who can safely “hold” your button. Make sure you hit the “withdraw” button as soon as your amount is credited and you will stay happy!

    • Avatar Guest says:

      Hi Mate,

      ask them to permanently delete profile from there, then will definitely active your account, they will never ever delete any profile from site. This happened to my friend, he asked them to delete even he forced to delete, After several hours they reactivate the account.

  • Avatar Rek says:

    great post, however never ever use freelancer they will rob you and take every chance to steal your money, no support, you will just lose money, a lot of scammers, once you accept the project you lose money and then you realize this project was fake or not fake they take all the source code and goodbye it was my first week on freelancer I verified my payment and everything on the website! then I started bidding
    1. First employer – started harassing me regarding religion, he didn’t even know what my religion is but he assumed that based on where I come from, I was patient, kind and friendly, I worked for him for about 3 days I didn’t get a penny from him but lost money,
    2. Second employer – I placed my bid and won it, I accepted the bid then freelancer take 10% of the bid, the employer was friendly I helped him as much as I could and went beyond what he asked for then I sent him invoice to pay me then he started to say I love you and things and act weird.
    I asked him kindly if he has problems paying? and if yes why?
    and if he doesn’t when will he pay?
    he didn’t give an answer I was super pissed and I tried to remain patient and kind.
    so I logged out and left the site, he then sends me a message that he paid, I actually was in bed when he did and I had freelancer app installed on my mobile, I opened and checked and there was nothing.
    I was like maybe something is wrong on the app so let me get up and check the website from my desktop, and truly there was Nothing! I asked him why is he doing that? he replied I love you!
    I logged out again and then after one day he sent another message that he paid ! I knew he didn’t but that he was trolling I couldn’t help it anymore here I just started swearing and telling him to fuck off! and that he is a nasty bastard…etc. I couldn’t believe it in spite of my kindness, patience, and all the work I have done for him, he treats me like that!

    I reported the guy like 10 times and he is still freely posting projects and using others… just like he used me

    Now goodbye freelancer, I am never gonna use it ever again and will never recommend anyone to use it! STAAAAAAAAAAY THE FCKKKKK OUT OF FREELANCER PERIOD

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      Hello, Rek. My name’s Victor and I’m from Freelancer.com.

      We’re so sorry to hear that your experience with the site has been less than pleasant. We’d love to help you out and resolve your concerns in any way we can.

      If it’s not much of an inconvenience, please email me at vicc@freelancer.com with more details such as your username and the project IDs, as well as additional information on what happened to these projects.

      We’ll be waiting for your email. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience, and thanks for bearing with us. Take care.

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      I’d also like to add that as the owner of the Time Doctor site I’ve used Freelancer many times and it’s a great site, I’ve never had any problems. I haven’t used it as a freelancer, but I’ve always paid and the freelancers have always been paid.

      You can see here there are negative comments about all the freelancer sites and I think that’s more the case that there are some companies and some freelancers that are scamming people on the sites. It’s not upwork or freelancer.com it’s some (a minority) of freelancer and of companies.

      I would suggest to work with a small project first and then build up. Upwork and Freelancer both have escrow payments now so there is a good guarantee in there that the money is there.

      Resolving disputes must be hard for them however.

    • Avatar Amit Gupta says:


      I have used oDesk and Freelancer.com. Both services work great if you know what you want. However I must say Freelancer does seem pushy, overwhelming you with information and numerous triggers to make a purchase and that is not a very pleasant experience.


    • Avatar Rek says:

      Hi Victor,
      I do not want to sound rude, but I am done with freelancer and I don’t think you can help me solve my issue I think it will be just more of wasting time if not please tell me are you going to give me my money back? and bring me back the time I wasted working on projects and not getting paid? or are you going to pay me for my time from freelancer’s company wallet?

      If the answer to all these questions are no then let the trolls be on the website if the website is not going to help me get my money and steal my money from me then why would I help them find out the trolls and waste more of my time just helping them for their own benefits not mine!

      Sorry again I don’t think you will ever help! I am just checking on the guys I worked for on freelancer and they are posting projects freely yet their payment is not verified, please steal more money from people then come and claim that you guys wanna help! I really feel like I want to cry because I am really really mad and sad I have had the worst freelancing experience ever in my last 8 years I am sorry if I sound kind of rude but I am seriously done and I can not help it anymore it’s either you give me my money back and pay me for the time I worked there for free or I am sorry I am not gonna waste my time with you, I am already wasting time writing this but at least let the good guys be careful of freelancer.com

      I seriously don’t care anymore now I am selling services on fiverr and I already worked on custom orders and made not bad money! and at least I am getting paid, tell me will freelancer.com ever prevent people from posting projects before they verify their payment method? I don’t think!
      The reason freelancer.com let people post projects is they enjoy stealing money from freelancers, sad thing!

      I am out now if you are serious about helping me then reply here, and I need clear answers to my questions so let the world see just in case I contacted you and you just wasted more of my time and more headache!

      I am out now peace!

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      We again apologize for any inconvenience on your end, Rek.

      Freelancer.com is doing its best to weed out “bad apples” from the site. It is for that reason why its verification protocols have become increasingly stringent, as it moves toward securing online transactions for both employers and freelancers alike.

      We’re sure you will understand though that no security measure is ever perfect, and there are rare times when loopholes in the system exist.

      That is why we always encourage freelancers to be vigilant when bidding on projects, and to be selective in choosing the projects they’ll work on.

      As an online venue, we empower freelancers to decide where to bid and what work to do on the site.

      It is advisable to check the profile of employers before placing a bid. It’s always safer to work for an established user, one who has completed a lot of projects and has a lot of positive reviews.

      When working with a relatively new employer, it is best to examine their profile first, then to communicate with them thoroughly through the site’s Private Message Board to ensure everything’s in order before starting work on a project.

      We’re still eager to assist you with the case of the employer you identified. If it’s not much of an inconvenience, we’d really appreciate it if you can provide us with more information (your username, project ID and additional details) at vicc@freelancer.com.

      Thanks again for bearing with us. Take care always.

    • Avatar Daniel says:

      This is a comment to support Rek and also to tell my own case with Freelancer
      As a Project Manager, I was hopping that the Freelancer platform would help me find serious freelancers to help me accomplish my project. In fact I did post a project, and I got lots of different Bids. I awarded the project to the freelancer that had highest reputation, 5 stars reviews and great comments from previous employers. No problem there.
      This project involved developing mobile apps for iOS and Android. After a few days talking and getting the details down with the awarded freelancer, I decided to post another project for the other remaining platform; No problem there as well; The developer that I awarded previously saw my new project and offered me to develop both platforms; We talked for hours about it and the availability of resources from both sides; After all negotiation I decided to award the same developer with the project;

      We both signed contracts, got everything ready, exchanged documentation, UI documents and so; As required in the contract I deposited a initial value for starter and liberated the payment for the freelancer in both projects; From there I started depositing to reach the final project price decided after the biding and during the negotiations, and split the payment in different milestone so that the developer could rest assured that the payment would be available. After allocating all the funds for the project (a total sum of more than $6,000 USD) suddenly and without any explanations my account was suspended. Together with the suspension of my account, my deposits were gone with “Reversal to my credit card” status. I checked my credit card day after day and nothing is showing up. I called my bank and there is no incoming pending transaction. I opened Support Tickets, contact support online, and exchange emails to try to get an answer regarding my account and my balance and this weird transaction. I submitted the documents they asked to verify my identity (passport, a photo holding the passport and a code, and an address proof), they keep sending them back saying that the documents are invalid. One of the reasons that they raised is the fact that the document values are not in English. See, I live in China where the official language is Chinese. Any official document must be written in Chinese, and even despite that I could get one in English and they just said that the document is invalid: A Bank statement acknowledging my address, written in English;

      The support itself is terrible for many reasons:
      1. It takes almost 24 hours to reply an email; They ask me to provide a document. In a matter of minutes I reply and then nothing; around 24 hours later I get some other support personnel reply;
      2. All the questions I asked in the emails were avoided, not answered and they simply push the problem forward, not helping nor clarifying what is actually going on;
      3. The online support has a better approach, but whatever I ask regarding my account or the situation; they always have one answer: This situation has been handled by another department;
      4. There is no complaint form/method/platform; Freelancer can screw you, and you are defenseless; If they decided that your account will be suspended, they will do so, without any notice, without asking questions, and still stealing the money I had deposited there;
      5. There is no call center, or a faster way to solve problems; You have to use their slow support platform; with people that probably are evaluated using some stupid metrics like “Did you reply the customer email in 24hs?”, “How many cases can you reply in a day?”;

      My situation now: Still the same; My documents keep getting refused by the verification center because they are not written in English, and even when I submit one written in english, A valid Bank statement with the Bank acknowledgment of the required information and stamp, it gets rejected; My project budged? All locked up inside the platform; I was truly expecting more from the so called Freelancer.com, but it just disappoints me every day;

      So far what I have written are just facts, things that happened; I still don’t know what happened with my account, nor have a clear understanding of the reasons why my account was suspended. Still I wonder and guess different possibilities; What are my next steps? Very simple; I will cooperate with any information I need to get my account and funds back to normal; If, for some reason, one of the two doesn’t get set right I will just find a lawyer and sue them badly; I have all the logs for all the conversations with the support with me, together with all my documents sent; And for the future I will never use Freelancer again; I will never recommend Freelancer to any of my friends or professionals that I work with; I will just use Fiverr; I used it a few times and so far I didn’t had any problems at all;

      Piece of advise: NEVER USE FREELANCER.COM

    • Avatar Jamie says:

      I have heard many stories like yours from clients on Upwork. These freelance services do not monitor who uses there site and often college kids use it to make extra money and pose as professionals. Upwork and Freelancer don’t care as long as they make their cut of every job sold. Some people are so desperate for cash in some countries they will do anything to pass off a job and call it work. As a middle man, Upwork and Freelancer offer no value to anyone.

  • Avatar alekis says:

    Odesk suspended my account and the account of my hired freelance because they thought we where the same person, even he is from Canada and I am from Europe. I had to provide them screenshots of everything, scanned ID card, scanned banks statements, even that, they suspended our accounts, even I spend more then 5.000 $ in other contracts…
    Hilarious, stupid and weird !
    I was treated as a criminal
    Never again with oDesk

    • Avatar Mary says:

      Yes, they treated me as a criminal too. Also they made me cry because of their abusive behavior. For me it’s not a recomendable platform. Thanks God that I didn’t have any money in my suspended account.

    • Avatar Milan says:

      Yes, oDesk(Upwork) suspended my account too, I was worked as a freelancer and they suddenly suspended my account.
      I think I’ve worked with my bad client that do not have enough funds. Anyway the upwork team should guarantee the client’s pay ability. But oDesk(Upwork) team suspended my account to avoid me to withdrawal my funds.
      I’ve decided to leave the oDesk(upwork), and created ticket several times to solve this problem but they are very stupid and puppet with same message. The does not think.
      Still I did not withdraw my funds over 2,000 $.
      Never recommand oDesk(upwork). They are robber.

    • Avatar Dalong says:

      Yes, my upwork account is suspended by upwork . I had to provide the documents which they need, but finally they told me the documents are not accepted . My account is closed and never be re-open. Never use upwork

  • Avatar Vivek Shahi says:

    Nice infographics !!
    Although I do not know whether the stats has been verified or not, nice attempt though. I am a freelance 3d artist cum illustrator and I have worked on all the above mentioned platforms, I found these websites too complicated to win a project, with the lowest rates in many biddings. While comparing i found Microlancer aka Envato Studio is the best platform to work on, the freelancers have to list their services only, NO BIDDING. You can a get a decent price after giving the 30% commision to Envato(hefty commission). The only problem with Envato is they don’t list every freelancer, they pick the selected freelancer portfolios which is good for the Customers who want budget services without compromising the quality.

  • Avatar Dennis says:

    Hi everyone,

    Great post Rob!

    Anyone serious enough about their project or freelance career should avoid Freelancer like the plague.

    I’ve worked there before and know a good deal how Matt and company rip off freelancers.

    1. Freelancers pay up over the said 10% fees. I noticed it when did my math. And it seems I’m not alone here

    2. You get to pay their fee upfront. Even when the client hasn’t paid anything yet – such that once you’ve bid and won a job, Freelancer deducts non existent cash from your account; you are actually indebted to them whether the client pays or not.

    3. You end up paying the fees even if the client cancels the work. Happened to me twice and the next two jobs I did only went to bail out fees for projects I never worked on. That’s just sick of you Matt & Co.

    Meaning if I bid for a long term $450 project you’d deduct at least $45 immediately I’m awarded the project. In reality, that means my account reads -$45 even before I’ve started on work and if the client was a fake (like many are) I’ll have to foot the $45 bill next time I make any money in addition to what I’d be paying for the next project I win. Its really senseless.

    4. Freelancer is also a plague that gives freelancing a bad name. It’s a shame how many fake projects are posted on there.

    5. It’s sympathetic how they’ll try to upsell you on everything including selling exams ($5 a piece) that are freely offered elsewhere, premium accounts ( and for what, bid for fake jobs), peanut pay and just about anything they offer.

    6. For requesters, Freelancer may have crudely ushered me into online freelancing, but I know their poor pay rates see to it that they don’t retain quality workers. Check their work quality and see for yourself. If you are looking for 500-word articles for $1.25, for example, Freelancer is your dream come true, though.

    7. It’s a pity how Matt boasts about their huge number of freelancers when a keen, closer look at how many of those accounts are active anymore reviews a ghost town. Even their supposedly live stats at the bottom of each page indicate only about 24,000 users are consistently online — out of 8 million. Then compare that to oDesk, Elance and now, People Per Hour (where professionals run the sites, post real jobs, work on real jobs and earn real money).

    8. My piece of advice to Freelancer.com:

    I accidentally stumbled on an email from your theatrical and oddly active PR ninjas talking about how you are cleaning up your site and want the best for everyone. Good luck with that, because as long as you charge me fees before I’m paid, carelessly allow over 50% scam jobs, brew all means to earn from users, and can’t prove you are professionals, I’m very happy to stay where I’m at currently, Elance and People Per Hour. I’d rather seek out oDesk too.

    You forget that when a furious freelancer moves on from your site to another, they tag along the clients they were working with. I’m a 5-star provider and my client trusts me more than they do you. I’m sure you’ve noticed that you’ve lost a big deal to Elance this past few years.

    I’m just being honest and you’d be wise to learn from my blunt comment, and a little bitter that I worked almost a week to pay for fees I never got paid for. Yes, you are that paranoid.

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      Hello Dennis,

      Good day. I’m Victor and I’m from Freelancer.com.

      We apologize for any inconvenience on your end, and we appreciate your feedback.

      We’d love to have the opportunity to resolve all of your issues regarding the site and its fees. If it’s not much of an inconvenience, please email me directly at vicc@freelancer.com. Kindly indicate your username and please use your registered email address.

      Thanks again, and we’re looking forward to clarify all of your concerns. Take care.

    • Avatar Waqas Shah says:

      The upfront fees are really bad 🙁 because it becomes headache when client does not pay !

    • Avatar archangel says:

      Same here Dennis. Completely bad business from Freelancer. And great post, agreed to Rob.

      Freelancer kept the money I had in escrow to bonus a worker. It was 20 dollars. That was over two years ago. Freelancer also stole my time in giving me huge number of email runarounds for MONTHS. With no resolution. They didnt want to let me go as an employer. They NEVER released the funds. $20 would have meant a lot to a young mother in Sri Lanka.

      Freelancer is just plain dishonest.

      And Freelancer, after all this time, dont you DARE send some vapid comment from so called customer service that I should contact you again because you are so sorry and etc etc etc. NOT going to happen. Wherever I go in business I tell others to go to Elance or another outfit that is far more businesslike and honest in the first round. I’ve spent thousands on freelancers, just NOT through Freelancer. NEVER again. NEVER.

  • Avatar Steve Mark says:

    Very informative information along with a great infographic. Keep it up.

  • Avatar Dean says:

    Odesk suspended my account for no reason,as I have worked on more than 50 jobs,more than 2000 hours and my rating is 4.9 but still odesk suspended my account and they said its final decision…

    • Avatar Mary says:

      My experience at Odesk wasn’t good.They´ve changed the rules and they applied a new “job success” rate. The thing is that they applied it for the past. As I have a low rate because of the “new rules”, they´d suspended my account although I had a good profile and 5 stars from my accepted and performed projects. They didn’t give me any option. I found it very abusive and unfair.

    • Same thing they did with me. They suspended me although i have 4.98 average rating. Disappointed

  • Avatar Roy Miller says:

    Hi, I have gone through your post ,there is one more site offering platforms for the design professionals. Its http://www.designhill.com , this site is good to create your own portfolio and freelancers can participate in open contest. Here you can get a chance to directly chat with the client so that you can get feedbacks on your designs. Also, they launch hidden contest so that there is no need to worry about your design being copied.

  • Avatar Ali says:

    Elance start robbing freelancers now. Elance have very poor customer support and they do not bother to sort issues for freelancers. I am extremely disappointed after struggling for 1 month with their support to withdraw my own hard earned money from my account but they keep saying “Your issue requires further review from our Risk Management Team, and I’ve escalated ticket for their assistance. Please expect a reply within 2 business days.” and these 2 business days never comes till now 46th day.

    • Avatar Emma Colina says:

      Hey Alice! Omg this is exactly happening to me – they don’t let me withdraw my funds!!! Have they fixed the issue?

    • Avatar Segregy says:

      It’s same for me.
      I’m waiting their response more and more. But there is no any response yet.
      I’m 40th day.
      Isn’t there any news from them yet?

  • Avatar dean says:

    I just wish someone could come up with a platform where the only thing that happens is you have a choice of freelancers to choose from and freelancers have a choice of clients to choose from.

    No leaving feedback, no logging time – you just tell the person how much you want to pay and pay it.
    Freelancing is not easy.
    Those looking to build a business using freelancers do provide work but many freelancers have skills and I feel (im both a hirer and freelancer) that freelancers for the most part are not treated as well as they should.

    Minimum wage – this is bullshit if you ask me.

    Odesk – used to be good but now is sucky like Elance. They were good until they allowed comments on freelancers, introduced min wage, changed what jobs they show employers, now charging to apply for jobs.

    Elance – Same as above.

    Freelancer – What ever you do – NEVER ever use freelancer. Its like walking into a casino! popups for upsells, pop ups for this or for that – They rip you off with fees, their platform sucks big time. I would avoid Freelancer and go with Odesk rather.

    I just think again corporations have jumped on the band wagon of this entire system. IS there not a platform someone can develop where it is neutral ?

    Being a freelancer – hiring a freelancer – you are playing with the corporates again.

    Time for some bright young tech freelancers + marketers to get together and create a simple platform where everyone wins

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      Hello Dean,

      My name’s Victor and I’m from Freelancer.com. We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had such an experience on our site. We’ll be more than happy to clarify all of the concerns you’ve raised on your comment.

      If it won’t be much of an inconvenience on your end, we’ll deeply appreciate it if you can send us an email at vicc@freelancer.com, and we’ll address all of your concerns regarding the site.

      We’ll look forward to answering all of your queries. Thanks too for your feedback. Take care.

    • Avatar satyender says:

      This one is for Victor..
      Let me tell you how your company sucks.
      I ones created a profile and you guys lured me offering free bids and preminum membership benefits and asked to join my paypal account.
      I did to get the benefits.
      And the real reason for this was ripping me off.
      And you guys never miss a chance.
      I got an offer and client hired me saying no upfront.
      Since I was new I was expecting this that no client will hire me and give upfront.
      And as I accepted the offer freelancer was the one who profited.
      You guys deducted the money from my account.
      WOW! heads of to such policies. No exchange of money between client and freelancer he hired but company still makes money.
      Like Dean said “Freelancer – What ever you do – NEVER ever use freelancer. ”

      I swear on that day I will never visit the url freelancer.com again in my life.

  • Avatar Shantanu says:

    Excellent infographics! Thanks

  • Avatar M Zubair says:

    I’ve been working with freelancer.com for last 4 years, they seems to be pretty fair in their transactions and they don’t suspend account for no reason like odesk the only problem I found is their fee which is more as compared to the other outsource plateforms.

  • Avatar Antara Man says:

    As an entrepreneur, I wonder which one of the two is better? So far, I have used and currently hire and work with freelancers only on the Elance platform. Whenever I have entered and searched in Odesk, something repulsed me, I cannot explain why nor what. I would be happy to hear other entrepreneurs’ experiences on both platforms.

    • Avatar michaux says:

      Hi Antara Man,’

      I’ve just had the most awful experience on odesk and I am hopefull they will rectify it. Without going into all the lurid details, the bottom line is this: Odesk now has over 10 million users. A high level support person told me they are working hard to eliminate users with duplicate profiles but it will take time. Sellers can hide thier ip or change thier ip. This is a very serious problem and has me serioulsy thinking of ONLY having employees come and work in my office.


  • Avatar Lana says:

    Hey, i have worked with both freelancer and odesk.. both are questionable which is inconvenient considering the only other option is elance which is part of odesk now anyway.. freelancer ends up costing a whole lot more- very fishy with the charges as its not all transparent. Odesk suspended my account when i helped my partner set up his new odesk account (they saw it as multiple accounts) and to get it unsuspended i had to jump through hoops.. as an employer – after thousands paid for work on odesk this was very very frustrating.

  • Avatar Nabil says:

    Hi Freelancer,

    I posted a lot of projects on Elance and Freelance, and I am always thinking about the most important issue that a freelance/Contractor face when dealing with such a sites to find work?

    Is it the finance issue?
    Is it the site complexity?
    Is it the type of people posting projects?

    Could I have feedback?


  • Avatar Guy says:

    I’ve hired on contractor on ODesk and had a pretty bad experience – Not with the freelancer but with ODesk.

    Half way through our work contract, the worker informed me that her account was suspended. On the site, there was no indication that that was the case, so I called them and they couldn’t even confirm if the worker was suspended, let alone why. Apparently the workers account was also frozen so that she didn’t have access to the what I had already paid. Long story short, I resumed the work on eLance with the same worker, which so far has been good.

    Several annoyances from ODesk:
    – Wouldn’t confirm suspension of worker
    – Wouldn’t give access to worker of funds already paid (forcing me to make an arrangement with worker outside of ODesk)
    – After worker partially refunded me (since she couldn’t have access to funds) I had to open a ticket to get the funds deposited in my account after contacting them. That should be automatic.

    Overall, my experience has been much better with ELance compared with ODesk (even though elance owns ODesk…) They don’t seem to try to rip their freelancers off. With ODesk, their service is always presented as a “favor”.

    Bottom line: I recommend ELance over ODesk

    • Avatar michaux says:

      WOW!!!! That is awful and I am so sorry this happened to you 🙁 I hope this situation does not happen to me also. I’m in the middle of the exact same thing. I blew the whistle on a bad guy I hired, odesk told me to let it go to the dispute phase and dispute the charges. The stuff I uncovered and sent odesk about the bad guy will ASSUREDLY get his account deleted. I just hope odesk will refund my money after that happens 🙁

  • Avatar Michael says:

    I’ve been with odesk for years as a employer but had my account suspended becuase apparently a worked and I hired are on the same ip address. Which we are, one worker lives in the same suburb and came over and worked from my house. I also have workers who go into the same vpn as me and would have the same effect.

    So anyway its been 3 days now, they havent fixed it and I called up. Got told that they are really busy lol. I dont actually care, thats there job and I actually didnt do anything wrong, now all my customers have to suffer from them.

    I also feel sorry for the coder I hired, he did a great job and ended up getting suspened, its also bad for him as he’s now lost his income.

    Looking at moving my operations to freelancer.com

    • Avatar Daniel says:

      Michael, please see my comment above. DONT USE FREELANCER. They will suspend everyone and rip them off badly; Just read the other comments about freelancer to understand;

      have a nice day,

  • Avatar Leo Rey says:

    I used to get works from them but, since two weeks ago, they´ve put my account under revision and don´t let me search for new jobs.

    They have told me that this could be for four reasons:
    Poor feedback ( I´ve 4.6 stars of 5)
    Take works from their platform ( I´ve given them my passwork so they can check all my conversations with my clients…)
    Low performance ( as I told, 4.6 stars. My lower rate was 3,8 and, the second lower, was 4.9 stars…)
    Disputes ( I don´t even open disputes with people that didn´t pay me, just to avoid to have problems with the wrong people, to keep my profile clean…)
    Complains…but after 5 mails and 6 chats with their help system, they still can´t tell me if somebody have complain about anything…)

    Also, they told me that, in order to start the review, I must close all my contracts…then, in another mail, they told me that they can do it and I don´t need to close long term contracs…in another mail told me that the revision have started….and then, in the next mail, told me that they can´t start my revision before I CLOSE my contracts….and I need to told that to even my newest clients.

    SO unprofessional. You can check my profile: DeLeoRey.
    But belive me. DON¨T USE ELANCE.

  • Avatar Kamal says:

    I am using Guru along with odesk and elance for more than 5 years as a business generation channel for my small web development work, I love to work with odesk as this is simple to use, free of any membership fee, easy local transfer, and great payment scheduling while we use tracker for hourly jobs, while in elance there are multi step process in hiring, payment, marking a job complete etc. Guru used to do well before they updated there website this February but now its no more worthy.

  • Avatar Sumon Ahmed says:

    I have hidden love to oDesk because I work there 😛 and personally I believe the oDesk will best in next few years.
    What do you think Guys?

    • Avatar Jerry Sprucefield says:


    • Avatar K says:

      It’s Upwork now and a complete debacle. It will be out of business in a year. Elance has made a horrible mistake in closing. Their clients and freelancers are now leaving in the droves and not going to Upwork because of all the bugs and issues. Odesk was a poor man’s website anyway- filled with mediocre jobs. Now it’s worse. And it’s a stupid name!

      It should be called DownTrodden in honor of all the freelancers that are now losing their income because of the changes.

  • Avatar Jason says:

    I could use something like this, sometimes I get a rush order and need designs fast but just don’t have the time.

  • Avatar Mike says:

    Do not use freelancer.com, they are a scam site. They closed my account just because I reported their site to ripoffreport. They damaged my business forever. Stay away from them!

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      Hello, Mike. My name’s Victor and I’m from Freelancer.com. I’m sorry to hear about what happened to your account and I apologize for any inconvenience you’ve had with the site’s security protocols.

      I’d be happy to clarify all of your account issues. If it’s not much of an inconvenience, please email me at vicc@freelancer.com. Kindly indicate your username and use the email address registered to your account when you send your email.

      I’ll wait for your reply. Thanks and take care always.

  • Avatar Cipriux says:

    My advice is to avoid oDesk. They just closed my account without specifying any reason for that. Had that account for 4 months and already made 7-8 projects with 5 stars feedback. I worked hard to please the clients….4 months down the drain.

  • Avatar Nicola says:

    I have been in oDesk since 2011 and it has been a good experience but i’d like to underline one fact: a client reported me because i asked him for a feedback before sending him the job, i didn’t trust him because he was behaving strangely for me. Notice that he already saw the job because we used a test server of mine to develop, i just had no reason to keep that site for me, i wanted to deliver my job and receive the payment. My work history in oDesk was stellar, all 5 star feedbacks.
    What happened was this: he refused to give me a positive feedback before receiving the site (but he was happy with the job done), instead he reported me because i asked for a feedback before delivering the job. This in oDesk terms is called something like “feedback pressure” and results in a violation of the terms.
    My account was suspended without even asking me what happened. They received the flag from the client and this was enough for them to immediately suspended my account, no way for me to explain anything.
    My account was reactivated after i signed a document at https://rightsignature.com/ but now i do not appear in the search results that clients make when they search for freelancers (at least i do not appear in the first results, those give you the possibility of receiving invitations to interview and i used to receive lots of them, after this fact none came into my inbox).
    There are other job boards and lot of ways for a freelancer to market himself, this is what i will do in the future obviously.
    To me their attitude in this circumstance has been extremely superficial but i’ll take the lesson as a stimulus to go elsewhere and surely find something better then their roughness.

    • Avatar Joseph says:

      I don’t blame oDesk. From the client’s side, it must have felt that you wouldn’t turn over the work they paid for unless they were going to give you a great rating.

    • Avatar Rui says:

      Who asked your opinion and who never made an error of judgement?

    • Avatar Jemi says:

      You shouldn’t be asking for a review before you deliver your job. Put it this way in your client’s shoes, if you have paid for the job and the designer hold the job hostage and threaten you to give a good review before he can release the finished job to you, will you be happy?
      Giving a good review is a good will or a privilege, not a right and part of the payment.

  • Avatar Crystal says:

    Been with odesk since 2010, and I never had a problem except for the clients I have had (hey, it is not odesk’s problem right?) Anyway, I’ve been away to do work outside odesk and now I have decided to go back. Since I’ve been gone for some time, I find it hard to win a project. So I tried applying for other outsourcing site. Thought freelancer was good, but HELL NO, they charges too much. It’s like they are just there to earn but not really to help clients and contractors- BOO.

    It’s still odesk for me. Good thing Odesk and lance, already has a joint venture. It’s uber powerful having both, I must say.

  • Avatar Sumon Ahmed says:

    As a freelancer I think oDesk is the best. I have work at Elance, Freelancer and Now working at oDesk. oDesk is the best platform for me. Charge and Payment methods is really awesome here.

    However, I also learn some new thing form your post about some online outsourcing job market

  • Avatar Kasim says:

    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

  • Avatar David Henderson says:

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

  • Avatar electroE says:

    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.

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      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.

    • Avatar tarr says:

      the same thing happened to me. I wasnt even aware I was registering my credit card to get money from it I thought I was registering a withdrawal method. I didnt send any message to those ppl I just though why bother. I wont work at freelancer ever again. Scammers. Think about it, how many ppl lost some cents just like us. Also whats with the stupid long time they withhold the money? last time I worked there the withhold time was 15 days!! and I thought odesk was abusive.
      Been working on odesk for years. Ive had no problem so far.

    • Avatar J says:

      I had bad experience with Freelancer. I won a web design project, the value is about $400 (not remember the exact amount). After waiting for weeks, the employer still not gave me any data for me to start building the web. I contacted the employer but no response. Freelancer charge me a fee which is 10% of the bid. But the employer is a one-time-post-and-gone user, there nothing I can do to finish the project. I contacted Freelancer, and tell told me that is their rule to charge worker the fee if he/she win the bid no matter what will happen next. I close my account instantly after I know they care nothing about workers.

  • Avatar Richard Lindbaum says:

    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.

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      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.

    • Avatar Petter says:

      If they do what you indicate, it is really unfortunate. Making money on the currency spread is like the plague that companies think nobody notices.

      The spread when doing a double-currency conversion like what you say they do can be up to 5%, and if they do the same trick on the receiving end, they could charge as much as 23% on the job!

      (3% + 5% on the poster, 10% + 5% on the freelancer).

      Your data is really worth investigating!

    • Avatar Justine says:

      Hi Richard,

      Yes this has been my experience as well. and I’m also based in Australia. I’ve posted over 30 jobs on Freelancer over the last 12 months. Not only have I found that the fee’s are not adding up but I’m also getting charged fee’s in between hiring contractors.

      I think I’ll be taking my business elsewhere. This is a pretty dodgy service.

      Good luck with the litigation!

    • Avatar Victor C. says:

      Hi, Justine. My name’s Victor and I’m from Freelancer.com. We apologize for any inconvenience that you may have had with the site’s fees and charges.

      We value your business and we’ll be more than happy to clarify your concerns regarding your project fees. If it’s okay with you, please email me directly at vicc@freelancer.com about the matter.

      I’ll wait for your email. Thanks and take care.

  • Avatar kevin says:

    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 dashcrabusa

  • Avatar Atiar Rahman says:

    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 🙂

    • Avatar Admin says:

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

    • Avatar Ahmed says:

      Hi Rob,
      Thanks for the nice infographic. Freelancers will know something better about where he/she working. I thing all freelancers should know details about his/her virtual office 🙂

  • Avatar Hasib Khan says:

    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.

  • Avatar K Goldsworthy says:

    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.

  • Avatar Hosam Nabil says:

    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 🙂 🙂

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

  • Avatar John says:

    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.

    • Avatar shiv says:

      THEN discovered that it costs $5/project to have them deleted from the website

      this is lot of people do Junk posting that is reason also you will cancel the project if you do not want it..

  • Avatar apollyon says:

    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 says:

      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.

    • Avatar Jalle says:

      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) .


  • Avatar Kristine says:

    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

    • Avatar shiv says:


      You also option to cancel the Job .. delete project is not only one option and even freelancer charge only when you hire someone..

      not only hire process. as you know elance or other portal also charge
      no one free


  • Avatar Liam Kyle says:


    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.


    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      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.

  • Avatar Paul Dang says:

    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 says:

      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.

    • Avatar pcd says:

      I am a freelancer in 3d, and i have an active account on Elance for more then 3 years now. It’s THE BEST SITE for freelancers from what i have seen so far. So i am not buying into your story. I also had an account on freelancer.com, but i suspended the work in there after 1 year. The bad things on freelancers are a bit too many to count, but will touch on some of them. The worst thing is that when you won a project they will charge you the project fee!!! They even sent me emails in witch they said: we will suspend your account if you do not deposit this amount(the project fee). I replied that i will pay them as soon as the employer will pay me and not a minute earlier. This has never happened to me on Elance. I had few bad customers, but in the end i received my money for the work delivered because of Elance protection. Other bad thing on freelancer is that they post false projects to lure people into bidding. But they charge you for highlighting your bid and so on. So you pay for a false project etc. To be honest i did won some money in there and i met some nice, real employers. I think that if they will correct few things the site has some room for improvements. First thing they need to dump the money first policy from freelancers, and the second one is to clean false projects. If this two major concerns are removed, then they have potential to become a very large market.

  • Avatar Husaini says:

    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).

  • Avatar Red Man says:

    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.

  • 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!

  • Avatar Alex says:

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

  • Avatar This Guy says:

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

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      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)

  • Avatar Jay says:

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

  • Avatar Karen says:

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

  • Avatar Erwin Castro says:

    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.

  • Avatar Matt says:

    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.


    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      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

    • Avatar Nham Nguyen says:

      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.

    • Avatar Hans C says:

      The post is so awesome it even attracted Matt Barrie in it!

      @Nham Nguyen should he apply water to the burnt area? haha.. That was so hilarious.

      But it is no secret that Freelancer took a huge hit with their poor performance these past few years… though checking the site now, it seems that they have finally worked on the changes to make the site better.

    • Avatar Abed Ibrahim says:

      Dear Matt
      Freelancer.com is very comfortable to use and to make money but me as a graphic designer with some friends are rarely do because either the:
      – most of winning logos are stock logos found on a lot of sites and the contest holder don’t know.
      – the chosen logo is the opposite of what CH requested in the brief.
      – the winner is the CH him or herself, so they get a free logo with a trick.

  • Avatar Web Eminence says:

    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

  • Avatar Alice says:

    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 😀 Thanks for the statistics, Rob, very useful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *